The rules of open house etiquette might seem obvious to some, but you’d be surprised at what can make the difference between a good experience and a bad one. Or what could lead to a potential lawsuit against you as a real estate agent. Whether you’re hosting your own open house or on behalf of another agent, the primary goals are to effectively market the property and to attract new business. Follow these five etiquette rules for a successful open house and to maximize the benefits for everyone involved.
#1: Always Disclose Your Interest
Are you the listing agent for the open house or are you hosting for someone else? Always disclose to potential buyers and other agents if you are contractually obligated to serve the homeowner’s best interests. If you don’t, they may provide information that could be damaging to their negotiation power in a contract. If you work for the same brokerage as the listing agent, it may be a good idea to have an intermediary relationship notice on hand. You could be subject to fines or have your license suspended or revoked if you don’t disclose these facts.
#2: Don’t Hover or Crowd the Guests
You’ve got a lot of information about the property, surrounding area, and local market activity. Of course, you want to share it so the open house visitors know how great it is! However, some people prefer to look first and ask questions later and are turned off by “pushy” salespeople. So, don’t hover at the front door or follow people as they tour the home unless they’ve asked you to show them around. Move around the space while keeping an eye out for interested parties and ask if you can tell them more about the home.
#3: Don’t Poach Other Agents’ Clients
Always ask an interested buyer if they’re already working with an agent. It’s okay to ask if they signed an exclusive agreement and to ask how their experience has been so far. If they haven’t signed a contract and don’t feel the agent they’ve been speaking to is a good fit, then you can explain how you work with your clients. But don’t encourage them to end an existing agreement with another agent, written or verbal. There will be plenty of opportunities to connect with unattached buyers without harming your reputation and relationship with fellow agents.
#4: Let the Neighbors Know
Go door-knocking and pass out flyers around the neighborhood a few days before the open house. Let the neighbors know what’s going on and when, and what they can expect that day. There will most likely be an increase in foot traffic in the area and more cars parked on the street. They may also know someone interested in buying and can help spread the word about the open house. Or they might be interested in selling themselves and you have an opportunity to show a potential new client what you can do!
Breaking some of these open house etiquette rules can get you in legal trouble while breaking others can negatively influence the sale of the home. Following these rules and going above and beyond to represent the home, the homeowners, and the listing brokerage can lead to a successful sale and future business for you.
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