I have been toying with the idea of writing a post about Miami Open House Etiquette for a while now and found a great article called Open House Etiquette for Home Buyers that gave me that final inspiration. Please read the author's section on the types of agents you might encounter, you will get a great laugh from it (at least I did).
Miami Beach Open Houses are intended for anyone and everyone, and as much as some Realtors may claim that these should only be visited by those seriously looking to buy Miami real estate. I don't think that's the case. It is widely known that neighbors like to visit open houses, most are curious, but others may have a relative or friend that is interested in the area. So here's what you should expect.
- Open Houses may be advertised in the local newspaper, or you may receive a postcard or invitation.
- The agent hosting the open house will usually place directional signs pointing towards the property (the ones with arrows).
- Feel free to knock or ring the bell, but the door will usually be open and you are welcome to come in.
- Once inside you may be greeted by the host of the open house and may be asked to sign a guest register ( a lot of agents will use that guest register to add you to their data base, others will bug you until there is no end. There's is nothing wrong with asking the intentions of the register).
- The host of the open house may not necessarily be the listing agent, but that's OK, their intent is to help you and guide you through the property. (Keep in mind that a lot of agents host open houses to get buyer customers).
- It is always a good idea to tell the host if you are working with another real estate agent.
- Feel free to walk around the property and ask for a brochure or pertinent information on the property. The host should be able to answer any questions you may have.
- If you do like the property, with the purpose of purchasing it, it is also customary to inform the host and make arrangements to see it again if necessary.
- There is not a set time you should remain in a property and this is very personal to each individual. One sign you have stayed too long is if the host starts turning off lights and locking up doors. (Some agents host several open houses the same day, please keep in mind that they may have to lock up to go to their next open house)
While hosting open houses I must admit I have run onto some rude people, so I want to take this opportunity to point out what, in my opinion, not to do at an open house:
- don't forget to wipe your feet before you come in
- don't just barge in without acknowledging the host
- don't refuse to sign the guest register, you can say in a nice way that you prefer not to be contacted
- don't look inside people's drawers
- don't walk around eating and dirtying the property
- don't grab a drink from the refrigerator without asking
- don't smoke while previewing the home
- don't swim in the pool
- don't take off all your clothes (even if gets hot in here)
- if you ask to use the restroom, please remember others will be vistiting the home
- if you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie
- don't forget you are a guest in someone else's home, common rules of decency apply
As you can see, there are no real OPEN HOUSE ETIQUETTE rules - there are different types of real estate agents as well as different types of real estate customers. It's all about common rules of respect and the experience should be pleasant, although this is not always the case.