is it rude to go to an open house when...

Fori is not pleasedFebruary 3, 2011

...when you aren't really in the market, just thinking of buying?

I don't have a Realtor and I'm not even sure I want to move, but I'm thinking about it. Is it poor manners to go to an open house as a looky-loo? Do I need to stick to vacant homes (especially if I'm dragging along children)?

Or is it alright because everyone is desperate and I might actually find something that will make me move?

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terriks

It is perfectly okay to go to open houses when you are not in the market. Many times people who "aren't in the market" go to an open house and fall in love with it. Or, you may find a house that is perfect for a friend or relative. It is also good to keep up on neighborhood prices, so you know a good deal when the time comes. It's also a good way to get to know agents for when you are ready to buy or sell.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 6:32PM
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phoggie

I love to go to Open Houses....and in fact, I had a friend of mine who casually mentioned to me that if I ever saw a nice duplex in our area, she would like to live there. I happened to go to one and immediately called her and told her she needed to see this one....she bought it the next day...the realtor was thrilled and so was the new buyer!

Now our house is on the market and I go to see my competition...helped in the pricing of ours.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 9:51PM
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Fori is not pleased

Alright. Thanks!

Should I expect refreshments? :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 10:28PM
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jane__ny

Never saw any refreshments at public open houses. At broker open houses they do, but its only for brokers, no public invited.

No food or drink, but be prepared to be asked questions and to fill out a sign-in form. I would put a phony name and phone # if I was just looking. I would say 'a friend of my daughter was interested in moving to this area and I thought I'd take a look.' You will be asked to give her name and phone # but I always said I'd give my friend the Agents card.

We did it when we were getting ready to sell.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 12:12AM
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Billl

It isn't poor manners to go to an open house. It is "open" after all.

It is poor manners to lie. You don't need a cover story or an excuse. If you are in the early, feeling-out stages of deciding if you want to buy a place, it is completely reasonable that you would want to go check out some homes without committing to an agent.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 8:23AM
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dreamgarden

"It is perfectly okay to go to open houses when you are not in the market. Many times people who "aren't in the market" go to an open house and fall in love with it. Or, you may find a house that is perfect for a friend or relative. It is also good to keep up on neighborhood prices, so you know a good deal when the time comes. It's also a good way to get to know agents for when you are ready to buy or sell."

Agree completely. The only time I can think of when it wouldn't be appropriate, is if you take up the agent's time when they might be talking to a serious buyer.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 8:36AM
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Fori is not pleased

Thank y'all.

I don't think I'd feel any need to lie. It sounds like it's expected to have unserious lookers so we will fit right in.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 10:26AM
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foggyj

Besides, as I mentioned on another thread, the owners are opening their house to the public. The realtor may or may not, be able and willing, to walk around with everyone. As much as we'd like to trust everybody, things happen. I will put as much of value, as I can, away, or take out of the house. It would be nice to know who came through though. But I know people would not always be truthful on those lists.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 5:55PM
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foggyj

Besides, as I mentioned on another thread, the owners are opening their house to the public. The realtor may or may not, be able and willing, to walk around with everyone. As much as we'd like to trust everybody, things happen. I will put as much of value, as I can, away, or take out of the house. It would be nice to know who came through though. But I know people would not always be truthful on those lists.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 6:04PM
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jane__ny

I am sorry to suggest you lie. My experience has been that the agents I would meet were quite aggressive and I did not want to get involved in phone calls, emails and sales pitches. I wanted to see the house and leave.

As it turned out, I wound up using an agent I met at an open house to sell my house. She was not aggressive and we hit it off. I did tell her the truth at the Open House.

If you tell an agent you are planning to sell and haven't signed with anyone, be prepared. Despite what has been said, the agents are looking for clients. If they know you are available, they will try to get your listing.

I had an unfortunate situation with my sale. I had met an agent at an open house 6 months before I listed. I gave her my name and email. She sent me emails daily which I ignored. She would call weekly asking if she could come over to see my house. I had no interest in her and no intention of ever using her.

Six months later, I signed with another agent from the same agency. At the day of closing, I discovered, my agent had to give this other agent a percentage of the commission. I was outraged as I never worked with this agent, never called her or had any contact with her except at the Open House. I would have never used her.

I was told, because I met her first, she was due a referral fee. She never referred my Agent to me. I didn't even remember what agency she was with. I met my Agent months later at a different Open House.

I tried to fight it but she brought a complaint against my agent and it was finally settled by the Agency. She got a percentage of the commission.

I am giving a brief scenario of what occurred, it was actually nastier and involved a lot more. She continued to attempt to collect from our new house, which our Agent found for us. We also gave our Agent (we loved) a 'thank-you gift' after our sale and she tried to get some of that. I could go on and on. The bottom line is be careful!

As a result, I still recommend keeping your distance from the any agents involved with the Open House. Maybe my situation is unique, I hope so but it was very disturbing to me.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 8:36PM
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Fori is not pleased

No need to apologize, Jane! I understand. I would not be comfortable giving my personal information. My spouse keeps a special email address for things like this and I will encourage him to use it.

I appreciate the warning. The RE business is a very strange one!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 10:43PM
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jenes

I've been to some open houses to find an agent to sell our house, and I always make this clear as soon as I walk in. Most agents are happy to talk and some even seem bored and glad for the company. I did have an embarrassing situation once though when I walked in and explained that I wasn't looking for a house and it turned out that I was talking to the owner who was sitting on the living room couch while the agent was in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:31AM
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kellyeng

No need for fake emails either. When you are asked to give your name just say the first. When asked for your last name or to sign a guest book or whatever just say, "No thank you." Then simply explain that you still in the "idea" stage.

Choosing not to give out your personal information is never rude.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:22PM
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berniek

"Six months later, I signed with another agent from the same agency. At the day of closing, I discovered, my agent had to give this other agent a percentage of the commission."

The other agent was not entitled to a referral fee.
I suspect that a fee was paid out of good will, to keep peace in the office.

Here is a link that might be useful: Procuring Cause

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:26PM
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jane__ny

I tried to read the 'legalise' but don't understand it. What I was told, the initial meeting with the first broker constituted a meeting. She did give me her card (which I never looked at.) Because I hired an agent from the same agency, it constituted a referral.

This was not a referral as I never had contact with the original agent from the Open House. I did give her my name and email and she did sent information to me (unwanted).

I met my agent at a different Open House 6 months later and I asked her to come to my house. We signed a contract.

The agency is a big one with international exposure. I don't want to name it but I'm sure you can figure it out. Begins with 'S.'

I still get furious when I think of it. BTW, I still get emails from this first agent. I toss them in spam.

She got the money!

Jane

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:17PM
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berniek

"I met my agent at a different Open House 6 months later and I asked her to come to my house. We signed a contract."

The other agent did not have a written referral agreement with your agent. A fee should never have been paid. However, office politics can be a game changer, regardless of what's right or wrong.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:49PM
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Fori is not pleased

I'd be furious too, Jane. Heck, I still get mad when my (selling) Realtor volunteered to a potential buyer that we'd fix a spot on our floor. It wasn't expensive but it sure made me mad.

(And I'm not talking about a fake email address, just one reserved for things like this where we can look for messages should we be interested but won't be bothered by them otherwise.)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 12:59PM
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sunnyflies

I try not to have to give a name. I just smile politely and tell them, "I'm just looking." If they are pushy I scribble an unreadable name and put my junk email address.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:06PM
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hobokenkitchen

Sunnyflies, put yourself in the home owner's shoes. Having someone who refuses to give their name go around their home is not a good idea.
I personally would not allow someone who refused to give contact information into an open house. Of course that doesn't stop someone lying, but with luck most people don't feel the need to lie about who they are and what their intentions are.

My tip to lookers is that if you have your own buyer's agent, get a bunch of your agent's business cards and give them to the agent running the open house. If you don't have cards, write your agent's name along with your on on the sign in sheet and give their number.

It is perfectly ok to go as a lookey loo - who knows where 'just looking' could lead! : )

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:52PM
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berniek

"My tip to lookers is that if you have your own buyer's agent, get a bunch of your agent's business cards and give them to the agent running the open house. If you don't have cards, write your agent's name along with your on on the sign in sheet and give their number."
Excellent advice. That's the way it's supposed to work, it eliminates a host of possible problems.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 8:14PM
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