The Open-House Faux Pas Real Estate Experts Urge You Not to Make

published Jun 12, 2023
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You’ve probably heard that while the house may be open, the toilet should stay shut

That’s the consensus from real estate agents around the country, who advise prospective homeowners to avoid using the bathroom at open houses. But when it comes to the dos and don’ts of attending open houses, did you know there are a variety of other faux pas to avoid? A recent StreetEasy report looked at some of the most common open-house mistakes, but I turned to the experts to weigh in on which issues are really worth their weight in real estate gold.

Arguing with an Audience

It might take significant negotiations to win a property, but it doesn’t mean that the open house is the right place to battle. Realtors insist that debating anything, from price points to paint colors, is something to avoid at all costs at an open house. Not only is it the incorrect time, but it’s also a distraction for everyone else who is trying to imagine the place as their own. 

“Don’t deliberate,” says Emily Muraida, an agent with the Bell Petrini Group in Boston. “Each potential buyer deserves an opportunity to experience the open house without hearing others’ pros and cons lists.”

Revealing Your Hand

In a competitive market, one slip of the tongue could end up costing you money. Ryan DeLisle of Coldwell Banker Realty advises people to avoid giving away too much information. “Hold your cards close, don’t say things like your maximum budget,” says DeLisle. “You’re most likely competing with other people in the room. Agents, prospective buyers, and their parents can and will use this info to their advantage.”

Badmouthing Real Estate Agents

DeLisle also advises prospective buyers to avoid badmouthing agents — both your own, and others you’ve met along the way. 

“It’s really an awkward situation for us and you’re not going to get any tea because we follow a code of ethics. It always makes us wonder what you’ll say about us when you leave,” he shares.

Being Messy

It’s also important to remember that while you’re imagining this property as if it were your own, it’s not yet. That means keeping the space clean and tidy.

“I had one couple sit on the front porch for a bit, which is totally fine. They should enjoy what may be their future front porch. But they left all their trash wrappers on the table,” DeLisle says.

Failing to Sign In

Real estate agents are eager to answer your questions, so don’t be afraid to make your presence known. If you’re just a neighbor looking to scope out the scene, you should still put your name down on the sign-in sheet, as agents need to account for who came through the doors

And while I may have already said it once, Realtors really want you to avoid using the bathroom. Always plan ahead, even if it means heading to a local Starbucks beforehand.

“This is for a multitude of reasons, as I’m sure you can imagine,” says Muraida, who cites everything from smell to non-functioning utilities. “One of which is that the water may be turned off if the home is vacant.”