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A Visitors Guide: Open House dos and don’ts

I have held a lot of open houses since I began selling real estate 25 years ago. When I first started my real estate career, most Los Angeles open houses were from 1-5 PM. Four hours was too long, and traffic was intermittent. Eventually, most open houses were whittled down to 2-4 PM.  I prefer this two-hour stint. Most of my open houses have a steady stream of home buyers. Constant traffic ensures my safety and that of the homeowner’s belongings. When holding my clients’ homes open, I am part security guard, docent, and salesperson. I have a hectic couple of hours. So, let’s take an etiquette lesson and learn about open house dos and don’ts:

So, what are the top five things you should never do at an open house?


  1. Allow children to run wild.
    Sadly, I have seen it all, it’s not your home, and your children shouldn’t be touching, running, jumping, etc. My client’s home may not be kid-proofed; please don’t put me in the position of a babysitter; that’s not my job today.
  2. Make rude comments about the sellers’ home, décor, etc.
    My mother taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.
  3. Outside food and drinks.
    Please don’t bring food into the seller’s home. And if you or your children are drinking a beverage that can stain the seller’s carpet or furniture, please be careful.
  4. No large pets.
    If it’s too big for you to carry, don’t bring your pet into someone else’s home. I love dogs; the bigger, the better, but not all of my clients do; some have allergies.
  5. Don’t try to sell me.
    It’s my party; please don’t try to sell me insurance, loans, etc. Now is not the time to give me a sales pitch. You are more than welcome to drop off a business card and introduce yourself, but that’s all I have time for today.

What are the top five things Realtors love you to do at an open house?


  1. Introduce yourself.
    If you are working with another real estate agent, tell me. That doesn’t mean I won’t answer questions; it is just a simple courtesy. As you are already working with a Realtor, this lets me know you are a serious buyer.
  2. Neighbors.
    I appreciate neighbors; they always have something nice to say about the home and neighborhood. Don’t ever be reluctant to drop in.
  3. Ask questions.
    If you are interested in the home or neighborhood, let’s chat. What do you want to know?  Let me know how I can help you.
  4. Courtesy is always appreciated.
    My client has spent a lot of time and effort in preparing their home for sale. I love hearing how nice the home looks.
  5. Respect the seller’s privacy.
    Of course, you want to open closets and cupboards and check out the space. Don’t be shy but don’t go overboard (medicine cabinets and dresser drawers are obviously off-limits).

Looking forward to seeing you at my next open house.

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One thought on “A Visitors Guide: Open House dos and don’ts

  1. Joyce says:

    Very good information, 2 hours is ample time to hold an open house!

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