Open House Etiquette 101

Open House Etiquette 101For a first time homebuyer, approaching an open house for the first time can be intimidating. You likely have little wiggle room in your budget and approaching a house with hoards of people (whom you visualize outbidding you) can be overwhelming.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Rest assured that there is a wide range of different interests circulating the room from daydreamers to people thinking about getting in the market to serious buyers. Out of all the serious buyers there, only a small fraction will be interested in the house and an even smaller fraction will be in agreement with the terms. Given this reality, you can walk in with confidence; don’t take yourself or the seller too seriously.

On the flip side, don’t walk in like you own the place. All in all, you want it to be a pleasant experience between you and the seller. If you’re abrasive and demanding, you are less likely to win their sympathies at the negotiating table. At the end the of the day, that’s all that really matters; getting to the negotiating table and getting what you want. Keep your eye on the prize.

Here are some useful tips on open house etiquette:

1. Attire

Business casual is the most appropriate attire for an open house. You don’t want to show up in sweatpants or shorts for obvious reasons. However, if you go too formal, like uncomfortable shoes or a stuffy suit or dress, it won’t be enjoyable. You’re going to be likely visiting a few open houses that afternoon, going up and down a lot of stairs and doing a lot of walking. You don’t want to be uncomfortable and agitated when you’re negotiating.

2. Focus

You may get frustrated from a long string of failed open houses, but don’t let it wear on you. Stay focused on why you’re there. Don’t make too much small talk; it’s waste of time. Your goal is to assess the property and move on. If you spend too much time at each open house, you won’t be able to view as many in the allotted time.

3. Stay Together

If you are there with your spouse and especially the family, stay together, don’t divide and conquer. It’s the agent’s responsibility if anything gets broken or stolen. Proper etiquette is to keep a close eye on your kids and keep together so the agent knows where you are at all times.

4. Respect

Respect the property you are viewing. Although it’s up for sale, it’s still currently somebodies home. If you have children with you keep them at bay, children have a knack for snooping and breaking things. When looking around, try not being invasive. While it’s ok to open a closet to discern the size, it’s not ok to start shuffling through people’s clothes.

5. Photos

It’s become commonplace with the advent of smartphones to take pictures of anything you’re interested in. All the more with open houses, ideally you want to revisit videos and images of things that stuck out to you for review later. Remember number four, however; always ask first before taking pictures or videos. You wouldn’t like strangers taking pictures of your belongings without permission.


agent photo


Absolutely lovely person - listened to our concerns, reassured us and never pushed us. Always kept in contact and updated at every step. Highly recommend.  Sue & Rod
Mark Nassivera recommends Empire Realty Group: "My Wife and I worked with Bonnie Pagano and she was an absolute blessing from the time we introduced ourselves and beyond closing on our first home. With experience that clearly showed, she came equipped with excellent resources that completely satisfied us during the home buying process, from financing recommendations to lawyers and inspectors, we always felt well informed and never pressured. Starting the process seemed overwhelming, but it turned out to be enjoyable and informative because we had such professional representation that made us feel confident and secure. Thank you Empire Realty and Thank you Bonnie!" Mark & Christy
Bonnie I would like to say thanks for all you've done over the past few months. You have been professional, helpful, and made this experience the best. Thank You! John [Seller]
We picked you to list our house for two reasons: 1) for your upbeat and proactive approach, 2) your marketing plan. We are thrilled to be selling our house with you. Ange & Doug
We want to thank Bonnie Pagano, from Empire Realty Group for finding us a home. We moved to Penfield from Southern California in September. Bonnie was able to setup viewing of 10 homes , in a short time, as I only had 72 hours to work with. All of the homes were what we were looking for. She was amazing as she knew what we were looking for, with only some picks from the internet that we gave her, over the phone. Bonnie had great knowledge of the neighborhoods with all the good and bad points of the areas. Bonnie guided us through the purchase and paperwork that goes with home buying. She has been wonderful in the follow up and very helpful with questions we had. We would highly recomend Bonnie for selling or purchasing a home. Peter & Anne Shomphe
Bonnie, there is not one thing that you need to improve on. You were a fantastic realtor from beginning to end of my home purchase. Your follow through, attention and kindness were second to none. I know a lot of realtors in my family and friend circuit and I would have you as a realtor again. I mean it. Jackie
It was a pleasure working with Bonnie Pagano to sell the family home in Penfield, NY. Bonnie gave great advice on how to properly prepare the home for sale and how to get the most money out of it. She walked us through the different criteria and deadlines of the purchase offer and contract so we knew what to expect and when. She also was always available by cell, texting, or email and was immediately responsive to any questions or concerns. I could not have asked for anyone better to sell the home. Maier Family
Working with Bonnie was a pleasure. We loved getting the daily emails with new listings. We found our house the day it was listed before it showed on any of the real estate web sites that we were following. It was a blessing to have meet Bonnie at her open house. We had been looking for months on our own. After having her as our realtor we found our house in 3 weeks. She goes above and beyond for her clients to find them the house they will love. Peter & LaVonne
She went above and beyond for us! Helped us every step of the way and helped us find our dream house! Thank you Bonnie! Nick & Kayleigh
We thought you were a wonderful realtor and if we ever buy again, you will be the first one we call. You kept us well informed, offered suggestions and responded quickly to any questions we had. We loved working with you and will never forget our inspection and the dreaded pantry! If we come across a friend who is looking, you'll be the person we suggest!! Casey & Mercedez
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