Etiquette when viewing a home that is for sale

If you’ve ever sold a home, you've probably let dozens of strangers walk through your home, inspect bathroom fixtures, judge the wainscoting, open doors and lay an eye on the personal space you call yours. After experiencing this, you might understand the need for home-viewing etiquette.

While a seller does want people to come in and poke around their house, the whole process can seem like an invasion of privacy. To improve the experience for everyone, buyers should be aware of some unwritten rules governing etiquette when viewing a home.

The basics

Keep in mind, most of the homes on the market are staged in a way to make the home look very livable. Unless you've been told otherwise, always assume a family or an individual lives in the home, and then proceed through the house like you’re a guest. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Like all good guests, you should ask if you can use the bathroom. (This may be the etiquette-related question agents hear most). 
  • No drinks or food. Spilling coffee on white carpet might be one of the worst things you can do to someone selling a home.
  • Can you open closed doors? Yes! In this case, you don't need to act like a well-behaved guest. You're expected to look around, but you shouldn't push items that belong to others. Don’t push aside clothes in the closet, for example, and don't go digging through dresser drawers. Act like you're at a museum and keep your hands to yourself.

Open-house etiquette

When you arrive at an open house, take extra care to be polite to the host. Even if you're “just looking,” don't give them the cold shoulder. They are, after all, providing some tasty cookies and finger foods.

If you're seriously looking, come prepared. Know what you want and communicate this with the onsite agent. This will save both of you time, and in general it's a smart strategy that will land you in the house you want.

For more advice on finding the home of your dreams, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor® today. They know the market and can help land you in an ideal home.

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