5 Top Tips for Visiting Open Houses

Real Estate Agent with Buyer's Edge Company Inc

The real estate agent at an open house works for the seller. 

In many states, there is a sign, usually next to the sign in sheet, saying the agent at the open house works for the listing brokerage and the seller. 

Bend cottage

If you are new to the real estate game, be polite to the open house agent but don't divulge too much about your personal situation. You don't want to compromise your bargaining position if you intend to put an offer on a house.

Here are a few tips on what to do when visiting an open house. 


  • Don't show your hand-Remember, the open house agent represents the seller and the brokerage wants to get the best price for their client. If you tell them too much information about your needs, financial situation or timeline, you've given away some of your bargaining power. 
  • If you sign in, expect to be contacted by an agent who works for the listing brokerage-The sign-in sheet is frequently used to collect the names, phone numbers and email addresses of potential buyers. Often the agent at the open house is there to gain more buyer clients. If you have an agent or are working with a true buyers agent, tell the agent you are already represented and you do not have to sign in.
  • Ask the agent before taking pictures-In many cases, the house you're visiting is someone private residence. Pictures of the bedroom and bathroom could inadvertently show personal items and products not meant for the public. 
  • Listen to other conversations, particularly if they involve neighbors-You can learn a lot about a neighborhood, community and even the HOA just by listening to what the locals say. Strike up a conversation with a neighbor and ask them about the community. 
  • Look but don't touch-You wouldn't want to break a family heirloom or be accused of stealing so keep a close eye on your children and don't touch any personal items. 

Remember, at an open house you are gathering information about the property. Don't talk about yourself or your home search. Keep focused on the property and ask lots of questions but do not provide too much personal information. Happy house hunting! 


Posted by

4849 Rugby Avenue Bethesda Maryland 20814 office 301.657.1475 cell 301.922.1677


Victoria Henderson is Vice President & Associate Broker with Buyer's Edge, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. Victoria is a certified Military Relocation Professional 



Marshall Henderson is a Certified Negotiation Expert & Exclusive Buyer Agent with Buyer's Edge & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC

Certified Negotiation Expert


Members of National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents

Not Just a Buyer's Agent, an Exclusive Buyer's Agent. There's a Difference. Learn more at: 

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Susan McCall, Independent Listing and Buyer Agent 03/28/2019 06:49 PM
  2. M.C. Dwyer 03/30/2019 02:15 PM
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Victoria Ray Henderson Marshall Henderson
Buyer's Edge Company Inc - Bethesda, MD
Real Estate for Home Buyers with Buyer's Edge

Thank you Michele Cadogan-Cell 917-861-9166 for stopping by our blog. Have a great day!

Mar 24, 2019 04:43 AM #8
Victoria Ray Henderson Marshall Henderson
Buyer's Edge Company Inc - Bethesda, MD
Real Estate for Home Buyers with Buyer's Edge

Thank you Kathy Streib for stopping by the blog! Even when there is a sign saying so, some home buyers don't know that the agent at the Open house works for the seller. 

Have a great day!


Mar 24, 2019 04:47 AM #9
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Victoria Ray Henderson Marshall Henderson good list of tips for attending open house events.... especially, keeping an eye on the children!!

Mar 24, 2019 05:31 AM #10
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

Like your tips Victoria Ray Henderson Marshall Henderson on number 2.  As an agent when I visit and sign in, it's rare that the listing agent, if ever, calls me after viewing an Open House.

Mar 24, 2019 07:09 AM #11
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Very good tips. Happy Kathy featured this in her weekly favorites. If more buyers realized the agent is representing the seller, they would likely be less forthcoming about their personal situation. Right?  :) 

Mar 24, 2019 08:24 AM #12
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

This is wise advice for buyers who may notice an open house and decide to drop in without calling their agent first.

Wise also if they want to make a family day of touring open houses without dragging their agent along.

I absolutely agree - keep an eye on the kids!

Mar 24, 2019 01:53 PM #13
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Victoria Ray Henderson Marshall Henderson ,

What great advice to give to those attending open houses. I'm glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week. Its a must read!

Mar 24, 2019 02:49 PM #14
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Good evening folks. Great list of tips! I tell my buyers if they go to an open house without me, keep your ears open and your mouth shut!

Mar 24, 2019 08:23 PM #15
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

These are good tips for buyers. Open houses need to be attended with care.

Mar 25, 2019 02:46 AM #16
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Victoria and Marshall - maybe it's following the Golden Rule and common sense should prevail.

Mar 25, 2019 10:21 AM #17
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Victoria and Marshall:

These are great tips for buyers who attend open houses. Not paying attention to children is, sometimes, a real problem. And buyers need to be reminded about who works for who so they don't say too much. I try to go with my buyers to open houses, and makes sure they have business cards to share if I cannot be there. I also have called listing agents to let them know about my buyers.


Mar 25, 2019 11:43 AM #18
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Open houses should follow the "mum is the word" method of attendance.

Mar 29, 2019 01:47 AM #19
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I do a lot of Open Houses for a Builder. When I ask the visitor to register, there is a place to indicate that they are represented by an agent.

I have agents bring their buyers to the model and I ask the agent to register their buyer so if the buyer should go forward with the builder, they would get the credit. I have been surprised how many agents will not register.

I do not interfere with any buyer that is represented and it should always be that way.

Mar 29, 2019 09:16 AM #20
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Great Post ... filled with information that every person attending an Open House can benefit from.  Thank you Victoria Ray Henderson Marshall Henderson 

Mar 29, 2019 01:03 PM #21
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

The only list that's valuable IMO is the agent's list when he/she secures the suspects essential information with the understanding that a follow up meeting would be beneficial.

The attendees at open houses must be wowed or impressed by the agent on site to establish a feeling of trust and friendship. That's the goal, yet, how is that accomplished? Smile, greet, be genuine, have fun and ask interactive questions about their lifestyle, work and time line to transition from their current address to their new address. 

Mar 29, 2019 10:50 PM #22
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

This is such a good blog post that I'd like to reblog it - please let me know if you'd prefer I don't reblog it.    Thanks Victoria Ray Henderson Marshall Henderson 

Mar 30, 2019 02:12 PM #23
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Victoria & Ray, I missed this great post and thanks to M.C. Dwyer  I am here because of her re-blog, too often buyers do not understand the fiduciary responsibilities of listing agents, Endre

Mar 30, 2019 10:02 PM #24
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope 2019 is a great year for you.

Mar 31, 2019 04:22 AM #25
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Good advice!  I would also suggest--ask questions of the agent if you like the house--ask to see a disclosure, what about upgrades, etc.  

Apr 01, 2019 01:06 PM #26
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Excellent advice for those who visit open houses. Many buyers are unaware that the listing agent represents the seller and not buyer.

Apr 04, 2019 07:46 AM #27
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