Open House Etiquette For Sellers

Open houses provide sellers with a great opportunity to showcase their home to the general public in hopes of finding a willing buyer to put in an offer. While not mandatory, open houses can be a great way to generate interest among buyers and give them a chance to check out your home without having to commit to a private showing.

But how the open house is conducted and what you do as a seller can heavily influence the success of your open house. To help you make the most of your open house, there are a few rules of etiquette that you should follow as a seller.

Don’t Stay

Buyers want to have the freedom to walk through the home freely without thinking that the seller is watching them like a hawk. They want to be able to open all doors and drawers without feeling like they’re invading the owner’s privacy. They also want to have the liberty of making comments about the place – both positive and negative – which they probably wouldn’t do if the seller was present.

You’re holding an open house for a reason: to find a buyer. But if you’re there, you’re limiting potential buyers’ ability to check out your home in great detail.

It’s common for sellers to leave the premises while their homes are being opened up to the general public. So when it’s time for your open house, make plans to be anywhere but at home.

Take Your Pets With You

Your home is just as much your furry friend’s as it is yours. But during your open house, your pets should vacate the premises just like you should. This is a good idea not just for buyers, but for your pet’s safety as well.

Some buyers might have an affinity for animals, but others might not. Your pet could be a major distraction during your open house. Plus, animals don’t exactly do much for the decor and smell in a home. Your pet may have a distinct odor that many buyers might not appreciate. Animals could also leave behind a mess that buyers might be turned off by.

Your pet can also be put in harm’s way if you leave them there without you to supervise. The front door will be opened and closed a number of times as prospective buyers enter and exit the home. Your pet could easily escape whenever the door is opened. Do yourself, your pet, and buyers a favor and take your pet with you while your home is open to the public.

Clean Up the Place

While your home is on the market, it should be in pristine condition at all times. This is true both for showings and for your open house.

Before you leave your home for a few hours during your open house, make sure that you’ve cleaned up the place, put away everything in their proper places, and polished all surfaces. Leave out a bouquet of flowers or two to sweeten the smell in your home while you’re at it to make a better impression.

Offer Some Direction

If your home is a bit difficult to find – especially for buyers who aren’t familiar with your area – make sure there are plenty of signs that are clearly positioned at both major and minor roads and intersections to help buyers find your home. To make the signs even more noticeable, attach some helium-filled balloons to them. Proper signage can attract a lot more buyers to your open house.

Keep Cars Out of the Driveway

Don’t leave any of your cars on the driveway during your open house. Instead, leave these spaces open for buyers who come to visit.

Further, make sure to ask your neighbors to move any cars they may have parked in front of your home to give buyers even more space to park in case your open house is a busy one.

Put Out All Important Documents

To help prospective buyers get all the information they need to make an informed decision before putting in an offer on your home, leave out pertinent documentation that they’ll have easy access to. This includes any paperwork related to home inspections, appraisals, permits for renovations, utility bills, surveys, and so forth.

The Bottom Line

It takes a lot of effort on your part and on the part of your agent to put an open house together. You just never know if one of the visitors who shows up will be the one to put in a solid offer. Be sure to follow these seller etiquette rules to boost the odds of a successful open house.