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Open houses are a great way for prospective buyers to see exactly what’s on the market at any given time.

While viewing someone else’s home is one of the first steps on the journey to homeownership, it’s important to remember that there are certain etiquette rules that need to be adhered to.

Here are some tips to keep in mind before you add another open house to your calendar:

Don’t arrive too early or too late
If an open house is scheduled for 1 – 4 p.m., don’t show up at 12:30 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. and expect to walk in and look around. Arriving early could put the agent in a bind, as he or she is most likely spending the time prior to the open house getting the home ready for prospective buyers. You also want to avoid showing up after the open house is scheduled to end so that you don’t get in the way of any plans the agent and/or homeowner may have.

As a prospective buyer, you want to be courteous of everyone’s time, so be cognizant of the fact that not all open houses are going to fit your schedule.

In the event that an open house won’t work for you, call and ask for a private walk-through—or ask your agent to set it up for another day.

Wipe your feet
The last thing you want to do is track mud and other debris around a seller’s home. Preparing for an open house is a time-consuming process, so make sure you take the necessary steps to keep the home clean as you check out the space.

While some sellers are satisfied with a quick wipe of your shoes on a mat, others may require that all shoes be taken off before entering the home. If the agent holding the open house requests that you wear a pair of shoe covers, it’s important that you respect the seller’s wishes.

Watch your kids
If you’re planning on bringing your children to an open house, be sure to keep them with you throughout the viewing instead of letting them roam the property alone. Another option includes watching your children outside while your spouse tours the property. Then, switch places so that you have a chance to see the home without any distractions.

Don’t be nosy
When visiting an open house, be respectful of the homeowner’s belongings and don’t go rifling through drawers, medicine cabinets, etc. It’s also important that you ask the agent holding the open house for permission before you begin opening doors that have been left shut. Anything that can’t be seen in plain view can be inspected more closely at a later time if you become a serious buyer.

Don’t share your design ideas
When walking an open house, the gears are most likely turning when it comes to changes you would make if you were the homeowner—or renovations that would make the space more conducive to your living situation. While it’s fun to begin thinking about all the possibilities, the open house isn’t the best place to begin detailing all the work you’d like done.

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