Realtors divided on open house looky-loos

SEATTLE – Oct. 13, 2015 – A reader on Reddit said that she feels bad attending an open house as a looky-loo, but her 6-year-old daughter loves going into houses. The topic opened up a discussion among Realtors on how they feel about visitors with no interest in purchasing a home. Her post received over 40 comments in the last week.

“I know other people (tour open houses) all the time, but hey, a lot of people are really rude and inconsiderate,” the mother states. “I don’t want to be one of them. Is there anyway I can fulfill my daughter’s request to attend an open house without wasting anyone’s time and/or coming across as obnoxious? I was thinking maybe just walk straight in and very directly state: ‘We live in the neighborhood and just wanted to take a peek out of curiosity. Please don’t mind us.’ Would that be acceptable to a listing agent? Or would it be better to ‘pretend’ to be interested, and just try to get in and out quickly and not monopolize their time?”

The post prompted HousingWire to offer tips to consumers who want to crash an open house, saying there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. For example, it tells snoopers not to pose as a buyer, be polite, listen to the real estate agent’s sales pitch and don’t act as if they know more about the housing market than the real estate agent.

But many agents responded to the post saying they welcome visitors who want to snoop.

“They may be interested in what homes are selling for,” said Christine Donovan to The Orange Register when a reporter asked her the question. “They may want to get ideas for remodeling or redecorating their home. They may be looking for a friend of family member, or they may just be bored. Neighbors are more interested than anybody else, (and) they often know something about the neighborhood or another house that sold that the agent might like to know.”

Donovan says she’s “happy to have someone come in and just let me know they are curious and not looking to buy. We do ice cream open houses for our sellers, and you have to expect the kids are going to want to bring the parents. Who knows, it might turn out to be the right house for somebody they know even if that wasn’t the original plan.”

Source: “Open House Crashing: Are You For or Against It?” realtor.com® (Oct. 8, 2015); “Reddit Posters, Real Estate Agents Kick it Around: Are Looky-Loos Really Welcome at Open Houses?” The Orange County Register (Oct. 9, 2015); and “Is It OK to Gatecrash a Realtors®’s Open House?” HousingWire (Oct. 6, 2015)

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

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