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14 Things Not to Do During an Open House

From taking your shoes off to using the toilet, know these etiquette rules before going to an open house.


Open House Etiquette

Are you in the market for a new home? Open houses offer a great opportunity to look through a home without setting up anything official with your Realtor. You can speak to the seller’s agent, ask questions and even scope out other prospective buyers.

However, to be a good house guest, there are certain etiquette rules you must follow. If you avoid these simple mistakes at your next open house tour, you’ll make the selling agent happy. And it might even help you land your dream house.

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Real Estate Agent Receiving A Client For An Open HouseAJ_Watt/Getty Images

Arrive Early or Stay Late

Real estate agents set specific open house hours for a reason. They might have another house to show before or after the one you’re looking at, so keeping them from setting up or finishing up is not good etiquette.

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image concept of business car, row of many modern vehicle parked on streetsutichak/Getty Images

Block the Driveway

You probably aren’t the only person interested in the house. Be courteous of other prospective buyers by not blocking the driveway or taking up more than one parking spot.

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Shoes in hallwayFabian Gehweiler/Getty Images

Refuse to Comply With House Rules

Wear shoes that won’t leave any scuff marks on floors. And if the selling agent asks you to take your shoes off, respect the homeowner’s wishes. (That’s why you should always wear socks, too.) Also, ask before taking any photos or videos of the home.

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Young Asian woman enjoys her time at home, decorating and organising picture frames and vases on the shelf by the windowAsiaVision/Getty Images

Touch Personal Items

Our homes are filled with many of our most cherished possessions. Some are sentimental, while others are worth a lot of money. Be sure not to touch picture frames, musical instruments, jewelry, food, mail and documents. When in doubt, ask yourself how you’d feel if a stranger touched a similar item in your home.

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Woman sat on sofa using smart phoneTim Robberts/Getty Images

Sit on Furniture

The furniture probably isn’t staying with the home, so there’s really no reason to check how comfy that chair, couch or bed is. That includes outside furniture as well.

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Potential homeowners looking at new homeSDI Productions/Getty Images

Interrupt Other Potential Buyers

You should certainly ask the agent any questions you have about the home, but don’t monopolize their time. Also, other buyers might not be interested in having an in-depth conversation with you. They’re spending that time evaluating one of the biggest decisions of their life.

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Mother and daughter viewing home during open houseThe Good Brigade/Getty Images

Criticize the Home or the Owner’s Style

It’s fair to point out parts of the home that might be damaged or need to be replaced, like an old appliance. However, it’s rude to make fun of the homeowner’s decor or style.

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ToiletKinga Krzeminska/Getty Images

Use the Bathroom

If nature calls while you’re touring a home, it’s obviously OK to use the bathroom. However, it’s better to plan ahead and not find yourself in that situation.

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French Bulldog on a leash in a cafe.Maryna Terletska/Getty Images

Bring Pets

This should be obvious, but do not bring your four-legged friend to an open house. The exception would be a service animal.

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Wide shot of family looking at home for sale with real estate agentThomas Barwick/Getty Images

Leave Children Unattended

Bringing a child to an open house is perfectly acceptable — after all, it’ll be their home, too. But they should be monitored at all times for the safety of the child and the items in the house.

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Medications on the Shelves of a Medicine Cabinetsmartstock/Getty Images

Open Dresser Drawers or Medicine Cabinets

It’s OK to look through kitchen cabinets and storage spaces, but stay out of personal areas like dressers or medicine cabinets.

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Woman Reaches for Salty SnackGrace Cary/Getty Images

Take Too Many Handouts

A Realtor might leave out water bottles, snacks or finger foods for guests perusing the home. It’s fine to nibble, but be mindful of others and don’t turn the appetizers into a full meal.

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A African-American man throwing trash in the trash canRobin Gentry/Getty Images

Leave Trash

Leave food and drinks in your car. Whatever you bring with you should leave with you when you’re done touring the home. One exception: Trash from food or drinks provided by the agent.

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Couple meeting with real estate agent in front of homeMoMo Productions/Getty Images

Overshare With the Seller’s Agent

If you immediately fall in love with the home, do NOT share that information with the Realtor. Oversharing details can compromise your position during negotiations. If you want to put in an offer on the home, let your agent know right away in case other potential buyers make offers after the tour.

Alex Shoemaker
Alex is an avid DIYer but had little experience before purchasing his first home in 2019. A Family Handyman subscription was one of his first purchases after becoming a homeowner, and he's been hooked ever since. When he’s not working, he can be found fixing up his 1940s Florida home or relaxing on the beach with his family.