Do you give your guests a tour of your new home?

illinigirlJuly 6, 2014

I've had some friends/family through the house during the building that we are about to move in, am I supposed to offer a tour of the finished product? Something seems a little odd about bringing people into the private areas of the house after we move in. I had no problems doing that during construction though.

What do you do or plan to do?

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bumping up

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 3:12PM
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Actually there was a thread about this on the Decorating forum recently. Took me a while to find it with all the spam there - they got hit the most it seems!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: House Tours

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 3:17PM
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illini, I am going to stop giving tours in a couple of weeks prior to our moving in and during the last stage of finishing. After that, I think I will show only the public areas of the house to non-family. I am scheduled to have a ladies' meeting in September, and I know they will want the full tour, but I am not in the mood to show an unfinished (still working on decor) house. I may cancel that meeting. It is a small town and people are very curious and talky.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 6:40PM
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If they ask, yes. Wouldn't it be strange if you have been showing someone the rooms though out construction and then not show them the finished product? Kind of like stopping the movie before it ends.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 10:03PM
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I sure did. I was very proud. Still much undecorated and some not completely finished but I didn't care!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 11:26PM
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we are very happy to give anybody a tour and later
(not complete strangers knocking on the door after we've moved in of course)

our builder has given tours to several people who are considering building also

(the builder owns the home at present and we'll be buying it from him when it's finished --no construction loan this way)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 12:32AM
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Of course we will! For a limited time, I'll even allow my contractor to show the house, even though I did most of the work.

What I'm pondering over is how to have a tasteful open house for friends without coming across as bragging. I can't really express how supportive our church has been during our build without getting all religious, but I would love to have a BBQ or something and invite them all. If I do it, one rule will be 'No housewarming gifts!'. Someone at church suggested we have a 'home blessing', where everyone comes out for a pot luck lunch, and the pastor offers a blessing on the home and it's family.

Even in our previous houses, which weren't new, we always did a full tour the first time guests came to visit. If nothing else, you're forced to do a full clean-up once in a while!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:08AM
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I will, because we have a lot of guests and I know they will ask. There are a few hidden spaces I won't show to many.

I only have 1 friend who built themselves. It's been over a year, and they still have to show the house as new guests and family come. If you think about it, some folks have never seen a new custom home with all the latest trends and upgrades.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 9:11AM
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If a guest seems genuinely interested in walking throughout the home and asking relevant questions (about architecture, design, material types, etc), absolutely.
While we are proud of and pleased with our home, we don't ever offer or suggest a tour; we aren't show-offs.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 2:19PM
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Heck, yes! Our friends wanted to see it all, and I was happy to show them. I ADORE house tours, often I think I should become a Realtor so I can look at houses all day. :)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 9:41PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Love the idea of a house blessing instead of a house warming...I agree no gifts. Especially after moving SO MUCH STUFF the last thing we need or want is MORE STUFF!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:00AM
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That is a tough one. I agree - no gifts and a blessing is a great idea.

Friends and family - sure thing..especially those that have "followed the build".

We have had several people ask if we are having a housewarming and that just feels awkward to me? Like an assumption that we have something that everyone is going to want to see? So far we haven't planned anything. I am a fairly open person (well is that a surprise if you are on a forum like GW?) but I do feel like my home is a private space for friends and family.

While building we had a couple of trades ask if they could bring their spouses through as they were planning on building soon and we said sure thing - see what works and what doesn't for you. No problem. I think it is a case by case basis?

Strangers walking by, umm no. New neighbors that are curious - maybe? Old neighbors (friends) that we lived by for 14+ years, yes most certainly.

It is an odd thing - sort of like when you are pregnant and strangers think it's perfectly acceptable to touch your stomach - I don't think so.....

I have had the dog groomer ask repeatedly when we would be in the new house and that she can't wait to see it....??? I find that very forward and kind of strange? She is a nice lady and all but not really a friend even though she has been grooming my dog for years. I thought it odd that she would assume she is expected to be invited over - she had never been over where we lived before. I have skirted that one so far. She is also quite the busy body so I really really don't think so.

Good luck. I think it's pretty individual.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:33PM
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I've been to several house blessings followed by a potluck. My favorite was when the priest was fully vested and sprinkled holy water everywhere.

The house I grew up in was built by my dad in 1948. Any time someone visited for the first time, my mom gave them a tour, whether they asked or not, but usually they did. Probably till she sold the place in 1993. It was on a hillside and had fantastic views, which was really what made the house unique.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:14PM
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omg Autumn I would feel soooo awkward about the dog groomer! lol.

We aren't planning any housewarming or open house but I'll have my usual friends over probably in September (I hope I'll be unpacked by then) for football. That's our usual get together at our current house.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:50PM
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Annie, agreed about the stuff. As this house (especially the kitchen) seems to have so much more storage/cabinets than our current house, I am very much looking forward to having a few almost empty drawers here or there.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:54PM
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Are any of you building a much larger/more expensive home than your last/current home? We are, and while I am super excited for us as we are realizing our dream, at the same time I feel a bit guilty and embarrassed when discussing it with friends and family that have modest homes. Anyone else feel this way? Maybe it's the social worker in me. :)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:11PM
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Michelle, YES. Nearly 3x what we had before. But that's been part of our plan for a long time, save with a starter home, pay down that mortgage aggressively, and then put it into the new house.

I don't know about guilty or embarrassed, but there's certainly an uncomfortable feeling when it comes to some of our family/friends. I think it's really all in my head though.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:23PM
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We love having our family and friends out and showing them the progress on the house. We've done pretty much all the work ourselves, so it's in this continual state of progress. I love watching our friends see it turn from stick framed to painted to having built-ins and books and decor. It's awesome! I even love showing up things like our closet or storage. I mean, these are our friends, so they've seen a lot worse than our pile of laundry or all the junk I hid in the linen closet ;)

Now strangers, that might be a little different, but there's a sense of pride that comes with building your own house. I love showing it off, especially for folks who are contemplating doing the same thing :)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:36PM
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Michelle - agree! I feel exactly the same as you. We are building our dream home after years of making due. Most of our friends don't understand since we are empty nesters. We have always dreamed of having a large enough home to have our whole family visit at the same time, grandchildren, grand dogs and all! I feel like I can't/don't want to discuss it with some friends and family for fear of being judged. When the time comes I hope they can be happy for us and accept that what is right for them is not necessarily what is right for us.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:56PM
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One of our friends asked when we would have an open house. My response: "Our house is always open for you."

Awnmyown, that is fantastic that you've built much of your house -- what an accomplishment! I usually feel a bit awkward saying we are "building a house" since it's more like "we are having a house built." My father worked quite a bit on the houses we had growing up, so I feel the difference; I also think dad is somewhat disappointed that he's not picking up a hammer on this one (though we'll have plenty of finishing projects).

Crafty Granny, that is so wonderful that you will be able to have a home for wonderful gatherings. I bet your friends and family will be thrilled for you as long as they get an invite :-) We have an empty-nester colleague who is downsizing to a house bigger than our new house for 7 people. I think everyone just hopes that the remodel will be done soon enough that they'll host the office holiday party!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 4:54PM
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Well, one lady who walked through my house on a "tour" asked if she could rent out the upstairs. No kidding. I said not quite yet, with a smile- full of incredulity. My neighbor told me a man in a golf cart came over and helped himself to my full cut stone this morning... and she also said folks are coming over after quitting time and trying to open the garage doors. Um... no. When I left from cleaning today, somebody else was pulling up for a tour so I will be done with tours real soon:)

Update: Went over to check to see if everything was locked up, due to you know, the aforementioned situations and... there was a family parked in front of the house in a golf cart staring at the house and looking like they wanted to get in at any cost. I mean as long as it was free. They sped away when we pulled up.

This post was edited by musicgal on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 19:55

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:00PM
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One of the reasons we're building is because I wanted something different than the standard new build in our area. I can't imagine NOT showing that to anyone who's interested.

I've also noticed on This Old House, they always have a project wrap party, where everyone who worked on the house is invited (assuming along with their spouse) to see and celebrate the finished product. Assuming I still like all these people at the end of this, I intend to do the same.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:14PM
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amberm- originally, I felt the same way as you and was very generous to show the house to anyone who was interested. Lately however, building materials have gone missing and folks have asked to rent rooms, so it is a very surreal experience right now for us. There is a real mansion going in a block away from us, so we will be old news soon, but for the time being, our place is like a metropolitan zoo. Peolple are actually bent out of shape that the doors are locked now.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:37PM
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It's been about 15 years since we custom built our home and people still ask for tours. For the most part I don't mind. I know many of our friends are simply curious about the layout and decor. When I do mind is when we are having a party and people take it upon themselves to give other guests a tour. (Yes that has happened on more than one occassion.) That I do find rude!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 3:53PM
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musicgal, I'd feel the same way about an in-progress house. I'd rather ask people to wait for the house warming or neighbour introduction party.

Most people aren't going to be able to visualize the finished product from framing and drywall. Plus, if I'm there, I'm probably busy.

I'd be fine with trades bringing in people to show their work. I want them to be proud of what they do. But random curious people? No, thanks.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 4:55PM
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Kathy Harrington

Ambern, I'm planning on doing a bbq for all the workers and people who made this possible as a thank you. I'm one of those people who love to look at houses being built, but if it's further than framed, I limit my looking unless asked and I would never ask if I could rent out the upstairs LOL Sometimes you have to wonder what people are thinking!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:01PM
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I agree with Michelle. My husband and I are building our dream home in a much more upscale neighborhood. We haven't even let our co-workers know of our impending build!! Jealousy is a horrible thing and I find most people are nosy/jealous of our success at a relatively young age...not genuinely interested in things like the architecture. I don't want to have to feel bad for what my husband and I work so hard for!!

I'm not a fan of strangers walking through on their own during the build, and I think its a bit rude for people to ask to see the house. If I want to show you my home, you will be invited over to do so! I'm somewhat of a private person and feel that most areas of the home are a private sanctuary.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:59AM
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