Open house etiquette


Open house etiquette

We all know that there are rules when you’re a guest in someone’s home. Remove your shoes, stay out of the medicine cabinet, and leave the home in the condition that you found it. Some of these are common courtesies, but others need to be said.

Famed etiquette writer Emily Post may not have delved into open house decorum, but you can be sure it exists and it’s important. After all, it’s still someone else’s home – for now.

Without further ado, here are some DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind for open house season.


Open house doesn’t mean all-access.

If you come across rooms with closed doors, always check with the listing agent before entering. You’re there to tour the home and yes, that includes the closets, cabinets and cupboards. Before you open, ask.


Wait your turn.

Warm weather, “hot” neighbourhoods and Open House signs are a recipe for market activity. If someone’s in a room, allow them the chance to tour and exit before you pile in. Get in, take a look around, and get out.


Photo opp!

Always ask permission before shooting photos or video at an open house. This is still someone else’s home, so respect their privacy. If you’ve been given the green light to take photos, snap away. But remember, these are for personal reference only.


Stay off the furniture.

You’re there to tour the home, not take five on the couch. Some homes have been staged with rented or even “fake” furniture, for appearance’s sake.  Unless you’ve been expressly invited to sit, don’t.


Take your critiques outside.

There will likely be things you like and dislike about the house. That goes without saying. What should also go without saying, is criticism. Remember, this is still someone’s home and you don’t want to risk offending anyone – especially if you’re interested in making an offer. You never know who’s listening.


Be polite.

“Please,” “thank you,” “hello,” and “good-bye” goes a long way. At the end of it all, follow the Golden Rule – treat others (and their homes!) the way you’d want to be treated.