1. Ask questions
The agent is there to sell the property, so ask as many questions as you like. Also feel free to call the agent after the open house if you have additional questions. Common questions buyers ask include:
- has the property been renovated?
- why are the owners selling?
- have you received any offers for the property?
- are big developments planned nearby?
- how long has the property been on the market?
- are there any known issues with the property, the land or the neighbours’ properties?
2. Check if anything is broken or squeaks
It’s totally ok to open kitchen cupboards, check the pressure on a tap, or see if the shed door squeaks. And as long as you’re polite about it, it’s also fine to use a tape measure to check dimensions.
3. Take photos or video, with permission
While online listings include more photos, video and floor plans than ever before, it’s generally considered acceptable for would-be buyers to take photos or videos at an open. But make sure you check with the agent before doing so, just to be safe.
4. Make yourself at home, within reason
When contemplating buying a property, it’s natural to want to know how it “feels”, so feel free to sit down on the couch or at the kitchen counter.
But jumping on the bed is definitely off limits.
5. Wear what you’re comfortable in
Ever wondered “what should I wear to an open house?” Well, don’t worry.
Buyers shouldn’t be concerned about what they’re wearing, especially as most opens are held at weekends, when people are in relax mode.
What you shouldn’t do at an open house
What you shouldn’t do at an open house generally comes down to basic manners.
1. Loudly criticise the property
It’s normal to find flaws in a property when you inspect it, but it’s rude to walk around loudly criticising everything you see.
Instead, call the agent after the open to discuss any issues.
2. Bring coffee or go barefoot
It’s common courtesy not to bring drinks into a home which could make a mess if dropped. And even when inspecting a beachside property, it’s not appropriate to rock up barefoot, either.
3. Bring kids with muddy sports shoes
Open houses are often held on Saturdays and families with busy lives may fit them in between other commitments. But please, don’t let kids in muddy boots come through a house; consider the owners.
There’s a difference between taking a quick look at how deep a bathroom cupboard is and being a sticky-beak, going through someone’s personal possessions.
While it should go without saying: don’t snoop.
5. Be rude
The best way to build rapport with an agent is to be polite. You do get some people that are rude for different reasons, but the agent is there doing a job for the owner, so the best approach is to be polite and communicate with the agent.
What about ID?
There’s no legal requirement in Australia to provide ID when attending an open house, but many agents ask potential buyers to sign a log when they enter, rather than just walk in.
A good agency will have more than one agent at an open house, so you should be greeted at the door. It is somebody’s home, so we ask for people to sign in and provide a contact number.
If you don’t want a follow-up phone call from the agent, simply say that on the day.