Etiquette for Buyers During Open House

Home buyers don’t want to end up with a dud, so a certain amount of looking and inspecting is only to be expected. However, how much is too much?


What are you allowed to do? Do you walk straight in? Do you present and ID? Is there a dress code? What questions can you ask? Are opening cupboards acceptable? Here are the answers to all your questions and more.

What can would-be buyers do during home inspections?

1. Ask questions

The goal of the agent is to sell the property, so feel free to answer as many questions as you like. If you have additional questions, you can also call the agent after the open house.

  • Has the home been renovated?
  • What are the buyer’s reasons for selling?
  • Are there other offers you have received for the property?
  • Is the area going to have major developments?
  • How many months has the property been on the market?
  • Are there problems with the house, the land or the nearby properties?

2. Inspect for damage

You can open kitchen cupboards, open the taps to check the pressure, or check for squeaking doors. Be polite when you request to use a tape measure to check for dimensions.

3. Ask permission to take photos or video

Listings already feature photos, videos and floor plans, but it is still generally acceptable for prospective buyers to ask to take photos or videos at an open house. But just to be safe, ask your agent if it is okay to do this.

4. Feel at home, with limits

When thinking about purchasing a home, it is normal to want to know how it is to live there, so don’t hesitate to sit on the sofa or the kitchen counter. However, don’t do things like jump on the bed.

5. Wear comfortable attire

If you are worried about what to wear for an open house, don’t. Most open homes are conducted during the weekends, so people will be in a relax mode.


Things you shouldn’t do in an open house

What you shouldn’t do during an open house can be summarised in two words: basic manners.

1. Openly critique the households

It is normal to find issues while you are looking at the property, but it is rude to say out loud your criticisms. What you should do is call the agent when the open is finished to talk about any problems.

2. Bring beverages or go barefoot

Not bringing drinks or anything that might spill and make a mess in the home is a common courtesy. And even if you are attending an open home of a beachfront or beachside property it is not appropriate to go without footwear.

3. Take kids with dirty shoes with you

Because open homes are typically held on weekends, busy families will try to squeeze this in their scheduled activities. Don’t allow your kids to enter the home with dirty shoes in consideration of the homeowners.

4. Snoop

Taking a quick look about how spacious the kitchen cupboards are is quite different from snooping around by going through other people’s belongings. Never snoop around during open homes.

5. Ill-mannered

Being polite is the most effective way to build rapport with the agent. Agents do encounter people who are rude for various reasons, but they are at open homes on behalf of the owners, so the best approach is to be well-mannered and communicate with the agent.

Providing ID

In Australia, there is no law requiring would-be buyers to provide identification when attending an open house. But you may be asked by the agent to sign a log before entering the property.

A reliable agency will send more than one agent to an open home, so there will be someone to greet you at the door. You are entering someone’s home, so you would be asked to sign you name and provide contact information.

If you don’t want an agent to make a follow-up call to you, simply state that on the day of the open house.