- - Thursday, June 28, 2012

Your checkbook is welcome and a smile would be nice, but please leave the attitude at home when attending an open house - it easily could be misconstrued as impolite or discourteous.

An informal survey of Realtors in the metro area revealed a catalog of behaviors potential homebuyers should avoid.

“A home is a private space, a personal palace that expresses the innermost feelings of the owner,” said Ramona A. Greene, with Long & Foster in the District.

While you may be contemplating moving in, the seller could be struggling with the anticipated emotional loss of a deeply cherished abode. It is wise for buyers to be cognizant of those feelings.

“You are a guest in this private world, a stranger in the home of someone you don’t know,” she said. It is incumbent on visitors to use good manners.

“Do not trash the house verbally or say ugly things about the decorating,” said Anita Lasansky, managing broker with Long & Foster’s Reston North Hills office.

“Your opinion is irrelevant and is not asked for,” she said. “If the property becomes your home you will be free to refurbish it.”

Besides, rude comments could have a negative impact on other open house visitors who are interested in the home.

“Be kind, generous and considerate when wandering room to room. Acknowledge neatness, good design and the nice arrangement of furniture, even if it’s not your style,” Ms. Lasansky suggested.

Prospective buyers should arrive at an open house during the appointed hours, refraining from dashing in as the sitting agent is pulling the shades, turning off the light and keying the alarm. The agent often has another appointment immediately afterward.

“Do not be smug in criticism of small things like the bathroom light fixture, which is easy to replace. Abstain from tsk-tsking to your viewing partner over minor cracks in the wall,” Ms. Lasansky said.

And try not to snap too many pictures. It can give the appearance of intrusiveness.

It is a commonly held belief across the real estate community that children do not belong at an open house - nor is it the Realtor’s job to watch over them if parents do bring them.

Parents who must bring their children could leave them outside the home with one parent while the other looks at the property. If small children are brought inside the home, parents should hold them by the hand to keep them from wandering off or touching fragile items. Do not let them play with the toys of the seller’s child.

When you cross the threshold and are welcomed by the agent, you will be asked to sign in.

Story Continues →