(2-minute read)

Mi casa es su casa! Come on in. (That’s not your car blocking the neighbor’s driveway, is it?) I trust you know how to act when you’re visiting someone’s home. Open house etiquette is, after all, a matter of common sense and courtesy.

Yet every now and then, something happens that reminds me to review the guidelines. (I’ll spare you the gory details but let’s just say spitting and a garbage disposal were involved.)

  • It starts with your shoes. Simply check and wipe your feet (or cover/remove shoes if requested).
  • Agents don’t bite. It’s polite to say hello and be at least slightly friendly.
  • Please don’t ask to use the bathroom and don’t use the bathroom. An open house isn’t potty time.
  • Your children are adorable. But not when they run through the house, jump on the furniture and touch everything. Please mind them.
  • Your dog is adorable, too. He or she can wait outside. 
  • Sign in (with or without contact info). You are a stranger visiting someone’s expensive home.
  • You’re encouraged to sit down on a sofa or chair and experience the space from that vantage. Have a seat!
  • If you’re carrying food or coffee, leave it in a safe spot while you’re touring.. 
  • Neighbors and so-called “looky lous” are always welcome and there’s no need to pretend or explain that you’re looking for a friend or not from around here.
  • Questions are never dumb. Bring ‘em on.
  • If you open it, close it:  Door, window, drawer, cupboard, garage door, hot tub cover, back gate, toilet lid, etc.
  • If you don’t have an agent representing you, this is a great time to shop for one. Strike up a conversation!
  • Resist the urge to stop at the door on your way out to loudly proclaim how noisy, overpriced, dark, smelly, foggy, dangerous, depressing or fill in the blank the home is. These truths are self-evident.
  • You are welcome to stay for the whole two hours but…
  • If you arrive at closing time, please be sensitive about not wearing out your welcome.

Photo Credit: Ohmky

Cynthia Cummins is the founder of Kindred SF Homes and has been serving homeowners and homebuyers for 3 decades. For information on San Francisco Bay Area real estate visit KindredSFhomes.com. For my writing and mindfulness blog, visit WildHeartWriting.org.