Why Experts Say You Should Never Use the Bathroom at an Open House

published Oct 19, 2019
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Whether you’re actually shopping for a home or just like to check out available real estate in your free time, chances are you’ve probably found yourself in need of a bathroom while checking out a property. But we got the low-down from real estate agents, who say using the bathroom in a home that’s on the market is a major mistake. 

“Open house etiquette 101: Do not use the bathroom,” says Dana Bull, a real estate agent with Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in Marblehead, Massachusetts. “This is a total faux pas.” 

What’s the big deal in a quick pit stop? Well, it’s more complicated than it sounds, agents tell us. If it’s a new home you’re touring, construction may not be completed. This means the water may not be turned on yet, and plumbing isn’t fully functional. On the other end of the spectrum, if the home hasn’t been occupied for a while, utilities may have been shut down. This especially goes for seasonal properties, where water is routinely turned off for months on end. Suddenly, you’re the awkward open house attendee trying to flush a non-functioning toilet. 

“No one wants to be the house guest that leaves something behind,” says Sarah Maguire, an agent with Compass in Boston. She also mentions that it’s rude to use the bathroom after it’s been fully-staged to perfection for prospective buyers. 

But it’s also about being considerate for the hundreds of other prospective buyers walking through an open house on any given day. Since nobody buys a home without checking out the bathroom, to find one occupied when you’re on the hunt for your new home is pretty uncomfortable. 

“It’s awkward if other people are touring the home and want to see an occupied bathroom,” says Bull.

Let’s not forget the need for toilet paper and soap, both of which are not always provided during the open house. Point being: Wait until you get to Starbucks.

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