Are Looky-Loos Welcome at an Open House?

October 12, 2015

Open house etiquette: Is it OK to crash an open house?

The topic has opened up a lot of discussion on Reddit after a reader said that she feels bad attending an open house as a looky-loo but her 6-year-old daughter loves going into houses. Her post has received over 40 comments in the last week.

The poster notes: “I know other people do this all the time, but hey, a lot of people are really rude and inconsiderate. 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 some tips to consumers who wanted to crash an open house, saying there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. For example, HousingWire urges snoopers to not pose as a buyer, be polite and listen to the real estate agent’s sales pitch, and not acting like they know more about the housing market than the real estate agent.

But many agents say they welcome those who want to snoop.

"They may be interested in what homes are selling for,” Christine Donovan, Donavan Blatt Realty, told The Orange Register when the question was presented to her. “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. I am 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."

What do you think: Are looky-loos welcome at an open house?

Source: “Open House Crashing: Are You For or Against It?”® (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)