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Open House Etiquette

Blog by Claire LeLacheur | September 30th, 2010

Open houses are by far a good past time for some people, whether or not they intend to buy the house is not the question. A lot just do it for sport, some for decorating ideas; some are just curious what their neighbors live like.

In the Vancouver real estate market open houses are very popular, but one must remember that this is the Seller private home they are opening to you, the Buyer, or curious onlooker. For most people this is forgotten, whether it is a Buyers market or a Sellers market, and some must be reminded of the basic etiquette of an open house. Here are some great tips to follow to make sure your open house experience is one of the best possible, and the pathway to your dream house.


  1. Say hello, shake hands, smile at the agent who welcomes you to the home – smiles are cheap, it’s not that hard. Saying hello is basic friendliness and remember that agent is not there to bite, steal, or rob you, they are there to welcome you to the Sellers home.
  2. Working with an agent already – then have their card ready, or their basic information to give to the agent who is working the open house. This gives us an idea of where the traffic is coming from and who might need more time to explain things about the house.
  3. Sign on the dotted line – for security purposes, or in a busy market where there is lots of traffic at an open house agents may ask you to sign in a sheet at the door. This is also simple courtesy. If you are working with an agent add their name and phone number. If you aren’t working with an agent but don’t want to be contacted, then say so and you wont be.
  4. Feedback is food for thought to the Seller – giving feedback about the house, the price, and the neighborhood in relation to the last home you saw is always welcome. As an agent doing an open house the Seller will ask what other buyers thought as they came through the open and it is always nice to let them know. Offering your decorating ideas for the Sellers furniture or choice of wall paper, or announcing in loud tones in front of other Buyers that there are possible construction issues is not welcome. Seriously, if you are not the building inspector, and even if you are, keep those thoughts to yourself. Please.
  5. Children – other people’s children are great. They often have great opinions at open houses as well and are more then welcome. But you must be responsible for your children’s actions. Please do not let them jump on the beds, play with the Sellers curios, or push buttons on the electronics system. This is just not cool.
  6. Food and Pets – both are not welcome. Eat your lunch at home, and then go out to open houses. Equally tie your pets up outside, or leave them at home or in the car. They will be happier.
  7. Act like a guest - Remember this is someone else’s house. A general rule of thumb, don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at your own mother in laws house.

 Even though the Vancouver housing market, at times may make it seem like you have to be a hard line, tough negotiator, who fights for everything they get, doesn’t mean that you have to be like that at an open house. Following these gentle rules of etiquette will make my time and yours at an open house, a whole lot more enjoyable.

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