When you're shopping for a home, attending an open house is one of the best ways to get a sense of the space. While viewing photos, analyzing room dimensions, and even taking a virtual walkthrough online can all be beneficial, there's no better investment of your time than actually visiting the home and spending time browsing each of its rooms. It's important that you keep some etiquette rules in mind during this process. The home may be open to strangers, but you should never lose sight of the fact that you're in someone's private space. Here are some vital rules to follow during the open house.
Don't Look Where You Shouldn't
It's OK to thoroughly browse each of the rooms during the open house; it's not OK to look where you shouldn't. When people hold an open house, they know that prospective buyers will be looking through their home, but they still count on having some degree of privacy. Try to avoid being snoopy, even if you're curious. For example, it's perfectly appropriate to look inside the walk-in closet in the master bedroom, as you'll need to do so to gauge the size and even look at the storage solutions. It's crossing the line, however, to open someone's dresser drawers.
Ask Before You Take Photos
Whether you take a camera or simply use the camera on your smartphone, taking some photos at the open house will allow you to capture details of the home that might not be visible in the photos available to you online. Before you take photos, however, it's always courteous to ask permission from the listing agent, who will be present during the open house. He or she will let you know whether the homeowners have given consent for people to take photos. If the answer is no, make sure to honor it.
Keep Negative Comments to Yourself
It's certainly possible that you'll see elements of the home that you don't favor, but it's best to avoid being vocal. While the homeowners aren't present during the open house, the listing agent is — and it's possible that he or she is a family member or close friend of the people selling the home. Some comments can be taken as hurtful, even if they're not intended that way. While you can be honest — for example, saying that the master bedroom is too small to fit your king bed — you should abstain from talking about the home's decor, family photos, or anything else that might be hurtful.