Open House Guidelines: What to Do & Not Do


Do greet the host/agent.

What better way to arrive at an open house than happy, friendly, and open-minded? Say your hellos, even introduce yourself, if you’d like. Also, if you bring your own agent, you should introduce them too so the homeowner doesn’t attempt to seduce you for your business.

Do take notes.

Some buyers / renters bring a pen and paper, and others use a cell phone to take pictures, record video, or voice notes. It’s important to have a good visual memory, especially if you plan on looking at multiple properties over a short period of time. This way, you can stay organized and on top.

[better-wp-embedder width=”100%” height=”400px” download=”all” download-text=”” attachment_id=”55341″ /]

Do ask permission to take photos.

Don’t just start snapping away. Not all sellers will be pleased to have you taking portfolios of their homes. And if they do agree, make sure to take pictures without people and shadows in them.

Do wear walking shoes.

This is not the employee work party; you can keep those high heels at home. Plus, would you want someone visiting your home with 4-inch stilettos making little circles in your carpet or stressing your hardwood floors?

Do dress appropriately.

We’ve already established that this isn’t the employee work party, but it’s not a trip to the beach with old friends either. Leave your daisy dukes and cut-off top for a picnic. Remember, you want to be taken seriously.

Do check for mold and rotting. 

Wood rots due to moisture, and mold/mildew is a fungus that forms around moisture. Either way, separate or together, they are a problem point blank. Fortunately, a little mold can easily be killed with a bleach and water solution. Still, serious mold and rot can cost a substantial amount of money!

Do check the water pressure.

Flushing toilets and running the shower and kitchen sink will let you know what the water pressure is. Don’t wait until you have a full house of guests, and because grandpa flushes the toilet downstairs, dad gets 3rd-degree burns from the cold water that left his shower to help grandpa flush.

Do make sure there is a water drain and it faces away from home.

There’s nothing worse than sitting in your living room while the roof caves in from all the water deposits. Make sure that there is proper drainage because you won’t mind the rain until it pours.

Look under that carpet. 

So the current owner has seven cats and three dogs, and that carpet is screaming it out to you! Replacing the carpet is always an option, but maybe there’s some great hardwood under there waiting to be varnished and walked on (barefoot). Find a corner or around a heating vent and take a quick peep to see what really lies beneath.

Do check to see if the floors are leveled and even.  

Carpets and rugs can easily hide an uneven floor, but an uneven floor can suggest support issues, foundation settling or a moisture problem. There’s nothing wrong with bringing tennis or handball, or maybe some marbles for discretion.

Do look inside every door.

If a door is closed, open it. If a door is locked, ask to have it unlocked. No area in the home should be off-limits during a tour.

Do pay attention to the amount of outside noise.

If the windows are open, you can hear the kids playing, neighbors greeting and even cars passing by. But if the windows are closed, and you can still hear them just as clearly, you should call Houston because we might have a problem.  If Houston doesn’t respond, it’s ok. You can probably solve this issue with a little inexpensive DIY soundproofing.

Do speak with neighbors about the area. 

To remain unbiased, we suggest you do this on the way out. That way, you can go inside the home with a neutral position, and if you decide you don’t like the home, you didn’t waste time listening to the neighbor talk your ear off about how long they’ve lived there blah blah blah…


Don’t be rude.

If you’re having a bad day or some guy cut you off on your way to the visit, take a moment to regroup in the car and come out with a new attitude, or at least leave your attitude in the car.

Ignore the current setup and decor, including furniture.

You and the current owner may have totally different tastes, styles, and visions for the home. Try your best to picture the home as an empty canvas.

Don’t criticize the property or the condition the owner has it in.

You never know what someone else is dealing with or going through. Some people sell/rent out their homes and upgrade, while others sell/rent out due to downgrades. Just know if this does become your home, you will care for it in a different manner.

Don’t give TMI (too much info).

Since you may not be the only interested potential buyer/renter at the visit, chit-chat is fine, but full disclosure convos are a no. No one needs to know that your husband is a cheating dog sleeping with his assistant, and you’re planning on serving him divorce papers as soon as you buy or rent this house. WOAH!! Remain focused on the property and keep your private thoughts private.

Don’t bring your pets.

We get it, and Sparky is part of the family; he’s been there through 2 marriages and three kids. He is the official 6 member of the family, YOUR FAMILY! Bringing pets to a visit is a bad idea for so many different reasons, no matter how well-trained they are. Yes, it’s Sparky’s new home too, but being considerate of the host and other visitors who may not like or be allergic to Sparky may not sit well with him in the dog world, but we humans will appreciate you for it.

Don’t bring your unruly children.

Let’s be honest; just because you believe your kids and their misbehaved selves are the most adorable little munchkins ever doesn’t mean anyone else does. Today is the day that little Billy is a bad boy and never listens. Lisa should stay with the sitter or at least in the car. (Check your local weather listings before you leave them in the car on a hot and hazy day).

Don’t dig thru closets or draws. Look.

It’s not your home yet! While you have every right to look inside the closets, there is no need to try on those size 8 Christian Louboutin’s peep toe heels. They’re probably going with the owner anyway.

Don’t ignore the number of windows and natural sunlight.

If you need sunglasses while inside the house, that’s a great thing. Sunshine can always be deflected with blinds and curtains. Lots of natural light will save you some money down the line on your electricity bill. Why turn on the lights when the sun is doing it for you?

Don’t forget to check out the closet and storage space, including the basement and attic if applicable.

After you buy or bring all your wonderful furniture and accessories to build your new home’s character, you will need a place to store some of those items you aren’t using but aren’t throwing away.

Don’t forget to check out the yard and garage.

When we think of home tours, we think home, but don’t forget to mosey down to the backyard to see what you’re working with. Is the backyard a friend and family over for a fourth of July barbecue backyard, or an if the cemetery is out of space, you can bury your granny back here kind of yard?

Comments are closed.