Open house do's and don'ts

4 min read

You may want to use the loo or snoop
through drawers to check for, you know, space, but refrain. Here, Emily Power from advises on open-for-inspection etiquette...

If you’re the potential buyer


Interrogate the Agent
They’re not standing around in a suit on a Saturday for nothing. Emily suggests asking the following questions...

How long has the property been on the market?
If it is a unit – what are the body corporate fees?
Are there heritage controls that could impact on any future renovations?
Check out to undertake further research.

Harass the neighbours
“It's acceptable to knock on the neighbours' doors to ask about community values, standard of local schools and quality of the amenities,” reveals Emily.

Bring along family or friends who can be objective. Emily also suggests a structural assessment and having a pest inspection done later down the line.

Wear your poker face
Remember other attendees are your competition. Keep any discussions about your budget or buying strategy quiet.


Be late
Arrive at the beginning of the showing. You want ample time to do your detective work and develop a feeling for the place.

Be shy
Turn on the taps, scrutinise guttering and roof tiling, linger in the front rooms listening for traffic noise and check that windows and doors close flush. Also check for enough powerpoints – in the right places. And ask what the internet signal is like, too.

Make yourself at home
Traipsing through the house in dirty shoes, sitting on the couch, parking in the driveway, lying on the bed – are all big no-nos, according to Emily,

Make stuff up
If you’re not interested, be honest. An agent is a resource and if this property isn’t right for you, maybe they know of one that is.

When you’re the vendor


Hire professionals 
Consider employing a stylist to come in and get your home looking its best, and a cleaner – your agent should be able to give you good contacts.

Create ambience
Coffee brewing, fresh flowers, candles. Trounce your house up like you’re expecting special guests.

Suss out the competition
Attend other local open homes and establish where your property sits on the market. This is also an opportunity to observe agents and decide which might work best for you.

Check your insurance 
Does your home and contents policy cover you for inspections? Some don’t so make a call and find out.


Lurking around will make potential buyers and the agent uncomfortable. Go for a coffee and get out of everyone’s hair.

Display personal photographs
You want a potential buyer to form their own attachment to a property - your baby and wedding memorabilia won’t encourage this.

Leave valuables about
“Lock up smaller items or identity paperwork (including mail and passports) that could be easily swindled or copied. Consider hiring off­site storage for larger  items, including artwork, because some thieves will use open houses as a chance to case a property,” warns Emily.

Forget to deadlock windows
Unfortunately, thieves have also been known to unlock windows during an open house, in order to let themselves in later. Deadlock windows, especially those at the back or sides of the property.

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This information is current as at 18/11/2016.

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