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Dont Be Naughty: Important Etiquette Tips When Visiting Open Houses

Written By: Jaymi Naciri
Monday, December 19, 2016

Looking for a home can be a tedious process, and if youve been to multiple showings and in and out of open houses - and, especially, if youve been outbid on one or more homes you were counting on - you might be starting to lose your cool.

On the flip side, if youve ever sold a home, youre probably well aware of the grueling process of cleaning up after folks whove been stomping through your home, leaving their mess and their footprints and their bad manners behind. So, dont be like them. Check your muddy shoes at the door, but bring your etiquette inside. Need more details about the dos and donts of touring homes? Read on.

Wipe your feet

Or, better yet, remove your shoes. Remember that the sellers have presumably gone to great links to clean and stage their home, which probably means freshly shampooed carpets. Your muddy footprints will not be received well.

End of Lease Cleaning

Dont leave a present behind

If you must use the restroom while touring homes for sale, make sure you do a few things first:

"In case youre wondering, yes, its OK to use the bathroom if you absolutely cant wait, but asking the host first can avoid embarrassment," said The Tennessean.

Check that the plumbing is working - If its a vacant or brand-new house, that might not be the case.

Look for toilet paper - You dont want to be left in a drip-dry situation.

Flush - Sounds like a given, but youd be surprised.

Clean up after yourself - Just because you dont lift the seat at home doesnt mean you shouldnt here. And if you just cant bring yourself to do it, wipe up the seat when youre done. Come on. You know this.

No stealing

Yeah, it happens. More than you might think. If your moral compass isnt enough to keep you from getting sticky fingers in an open house, consider this: More and more houses now have security cameras that will undoubtedly catch you in the act.

Keep your hands off the meds

Yes, this would seem to be a given as well. But prescription medication is a temptation for some visitors. In some cases, "fake buyers" tour homes for sale with the express purpose of stealing. In fact, "The most commonly stolen item is prescription medicine, followed closely by jewelry and small electronics" during home showings, said NOLO.


Home sellers who dont secure valuables and medications are "just asking for it," according to some housing experts. But that doesnt mean you have to answer. That goes for medications you may consider harmless, like Tylenol or Tums, too. Sellers probably cant keep people from looking in their medicine cabinet, because: storage. But touching their stuff is another story. When all else fails, remember the Golden Rule, and do unto others.

Dont rifle through the homeowners things

Speaking of opening medicine cabinetsIs it acceptable to open and look inside closets and kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers? Absolutely. But going through dresser drawers, nightstands, and other private spaces that have zero >

Be careful where you sit

"Avoid sitting on the furniture. It might not be real," said The Tennessean. "Growing numbers of Realtors are using cardboard or inflatable furniture to decorate empty rooms." Messing up a newly made bed or smooshing perfectly placed pillows takes away from the staging, so, if you do have a seat on the furniture, its good form to fluff it up again before you leave.

Dont disregard special requests

Is it frustrating that you cant get into the third bedroom because the sellers kitty is locked up in there during the showing? Sure. Do you want to be responsible for the cat escaping and getting hit by a car because you ignored the note that says, "Cat in here, please dont enter?" Nope. If youre really interested in the home and not seeing that room is a deal breaker, you can always set up a second visit.


Keep an eye your kids

You may be tempted to let them run off and see their potential bedrooms, but if theyre out of eyesight and earshot, they could potentially be doing damage to the house, or getting injured. You dont want to create a situation where theres liability involvedespecially when youre trying to buy a house Realtor.com recommends letting the listing agent know if you plan to bring your kids so they can help you navigate any potential hazards.

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