Do You Know Your Open House Miranda Rights?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

Mason homeDo You Know Your Open House Miranda Rights?

That house you've been watching is holding an Open House this weekend.  But before you gas up the car and head over to scope out the home, there are a couple of things you need to consider.

Who Does The Open House agent work for?

A)  The Seller

B)  The Buyer

C)  None of the above

Answer:  NOT B, but A and/or C.  If it's the listing agent for the home, their job is to work FOR the seller:  SELL THE HOME is their job.  Their job is to sell you THAT home and no other, even if there's a better match for you down the block. 

And if the open house agent is another agent from the office and NOT the listing agent, while they'd like to sell the home, their primary interest may be in getting more buyers. 

Is everything you say to the Open House agent confidential?

A)  No

B)  Yes 

C)  it depends

Answer:  Again, NOT B, but A and/or C.  Because the agent works for the seller, ANYTHING you say to them can be taken back to the seller and used against you.  Innocent small talk that tips off the agent regarding your motivation, how long you've been looking, etc., may all lead to giving away thousands in negotiating leverage.

Answer C only applies if you don't have your own agent and decide to let the listing agent be a dual agent (legal in Ohio) and that's ONLY if you act immediately.  Otherwise, everything you said before may have already been given to the seller.

So in a nutshell what we're telling you is that while no one reads you an actual Miranda Rights before you step into an Open House, you might want to consider that everything you say can and will be used against you during negotiations if that home works out to be THE ONE for you.

Your best bet?  Avoid the open house, get your OWN dedicated buyer's agent and tour the home without risk of the listing agent gaining inside information about you.  While you may miss the open house cookies and punch, you won't ever doubt whose rights are being protected:  YOURS.

Have more questions about the home buying process in Ohio?  Call 513-520-5305 or email

Serving Warren County home buyers and sellers,

Liz and Bill aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Huntington, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

As always... Wonderful advice... Happy Day 

Dec 16, 2014 02:08 AM #49
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Very important facts that everyone attending an Open House should know. Great information BLiz.

Dec 16, 2014 02:36 AM #50
Kelly Hagglund
The Kelly Group Real Estate - Newberg, OR
SW Portland Real Estate Expert

Great information for those looking to attend an open house. Certainly some things buyers should keep in mind, especially if they aren't working with an agent yet.

Dec 16, 2014 03:24 AM #51
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

Good classification about what to say at an open house.  First time buyers who may not know the ins and outs of the whole process should take note. 

Dec 16, 2014 03:48 AM #52
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Paul, I think as long as the sellers know the deal, not much of an issue.  We're rarely had a seller that wants an open house, and frankly that's just fine with us.

Beth, Thanks!  Hope you're having a great week!

Roger, Thanks!  Some of the basics, but if buyers don't understand they can literally wind up paying for what they don't know.

Kelly, Keeping it close to the vest is in their best interest.

Kevin, First timers are especially vulnerable.

Dec 16, 2014 04:41 AM #53
Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

That was a topic rarely touched upon.  I like the Miranda viewpoint.

Dec 16, 2014 05:43 AM #54
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Thanks Jeff!

Dec 16, 2014 07:56 AM #55
Joan Valverde
Synergy Realty Group Inc - Colorado Springs, CO
GRI,CDPE,CNE,MRP,SRES Colo Sprgs, Blk Forest, Monu

Liz,  this is good information.  I remind my clients that if they are going to "check out" any OPENs without me to know they are an agent on the HUNT for Clients!  When I have open houses, I bring definitions of working relationship as a way to educate the public. 

Dec 16, 2014 08:49 AM #56
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Joan, No doubt having buyers attend open houses without us has some element of risk.  Too many stories of buyers in the heat of the moment kicking their agent to the curb because they buy into the "gotta offer NOW" because they're told another offer is coming any second now, or "special price if you work with me". 

Dec 16, 2014 10:18 AM #57
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

An excellent post and it is most unfortunate that our industry does not properly educate buyers regarding these points.

Dec 16, 2014 12:22 PM #58
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Joan, No argument here that more needs to be done about educating the public.

Dec 16, 2014 10:12 PM #59
Ranee Bray
TCP Real Estate - Cedar Park, TX
North of Austin Homes

Very well done.  Most agents never talk about agency, despite most state laws requiring disclosure of agency before any substantial discussion takes place. 

Dec 16, 2014 11:32 PM #60
Dan Spencer
Aspen Lane Real Estate - Aurora, CO
Your Colorado Home Source

Liz - Many agents just don't talk about agency enough. Being clear with not just your client but the clients walking through an open house. Great Post

Dec 17, 2014 01:59 AM #61
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

 Ranee, We carry our forms with us to the first meeting.  No reason for the public to not understand.

Dan, They need to know to protect themselves.

Dec 17, 2014 02:31 AM #62
Andi Grant
310-508-4354 | - Los Angeles, CA
Helping 1st time buyers and home sellers in LA!

Excellent blog article!  

Regarding your comment #57:
I had a buyer go with the open house/listing agent a little over amonth ago (the lender called me and ratted them out) and interestingly enough the home they were going for is one that was seeking an all cash buyer because the house was not able to be financed.  She was FHA, with barely enough to cover her down-payment so good luck with that.  I reached out to her, but no response.  You can try and educate them beforehand, but sometimes they know everything, are going to "get a deal" and are hard-headed.

Dec 17, 2014 04:35 PM #63
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Andi, In some cases I think we're better off without them, and at least you know that buyer's true colors at this point.  Clients that think they know more than their agents that live and breathe real estate 24/7 just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Dec 17, 2014 10:13 PM #64
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

This is Awesome!  I always remind my buyers to be discrete and have my business card to give the agent if they go to an Open w/o me.  I'm never sure how well they remember my suggestions for discretion. 

Now, being able to give them their Open House Miranda Rights, I KNOW that will stick in their minds.

Thank you so much BLiz.

Dec 18, 2014 01:04 PM #65
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Claude, Glad to help!

Dec 18, 2014 01:09 PM #66
Allen Bush
Intero Real Estate Services - Brentwood, CA
Home Sales, Real Estate, REALTOR®, GRI, CHS, ePro

Good information Bill & Liz. Thanks for sharing:-)

Dec 21, 2014 04:48 AM #67
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Allen, Glad you liked it!

Dec 21, 2014 05:05 AM #68
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