5 Top Tips for Visiting Open Houses

Managing Real Estate Broker with Compass Realty Solutions 990300265

Buyers do not realize that when they are chatting with the seller's agent that they giving away valuable information that may be used later if they decide to go ahead and fill out a purchase contract.  For instance, if a buyer walks into a home and starts raving about how much they love everything and that is the perfect home and start talking about how their furniture will look in the dining room, they are giving away valuable negotiation power.  This can refer back to a few years ago when Realtors were encouraging buyer clients to write personal offers explaining why they really want to live there and talking about their families.  The sellers could take this information and based on what is in the letter reject the offer.  It is much better to be progessional and not talk about anything in the home until they have left the premises and not in hearing distance of anyone connected with the home.

Original content by Victoria Ray Henderson

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! 


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: 

 HomesBuyHendersons.com & BuyersAgent.com

Comments (12)

John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Susan McCall, Listing and Buyer Agent very valuable tips for visiting open houses

Mar 28, 2019 08:04 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

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

Mar 29, 2019 01:46 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Susan McCall, Listing and Buyer Agent Good reblog and a good reminder for buyers. Good to see you. Have a great weekend.

Mar 29, 2019 06:05 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Susan McCall, Independent Listing and Buyer Agent good advice to re-blog and pass on to your readers.

Apr 06, 2019 09:16 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

I was looking for your current posts.

I hope all is going well for you.

Jun 14, 2019 02:41 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Susan:

This was a great post to share and good reading for any buyer! Some simply do not realize how Open Houses, and the host agents, work.


Jul 05, 2019 04:50 PM
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Susan, I wish I had seen this when it first came out. Great post!

Jan 16, 2020 05:49 PM
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Regarding #1 - Yes, I agree that one shouldn't show ones hand. But some buyers go to the opposite extreme and become hyper-critical as a cover. What seller or agent wants to sell to someone who is decidedly enthusiastic? We all need a little common sense.

Jan 16, 2020 05:51 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Susan, was so nice seeing your smiling face on my post, and hope you write another post soon!  

Feb 18, 2020 08:03 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Hi Susan, this is  very important information and with reblogging it definitely gets the word out.

Feb 20, 2020 08:23 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Susan, thank you for visiting my post, and think you should write another post, and share your knowledge! 

Apr 16, 2020 04:40 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

I hope you are enjoying a very productive month.

Take care and be safe.

Aug 27, 2020 04:16 AM