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Nosy, or Acceptable? (Open House)
Old 06-15-2013, 08:02 PM   #1
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Nosy, or Acceptable? (Open House)

An up-the-street neighbor couple who bought their house around the same time we bought ours is going to be selling. They have had a "coming soon" realtor sign up in front of their house for the last two weeks, and tomorrow is the open house. The reality firm is a very posh one--far above the touch of our "transitional" urban neighborhood.

I'm mildly curious what price they're going to be asking for their house, and was assuming that it will be revealed at tomorrow's open house. We are finishing up (fingers crossed) a refinancing of our home, and so I've been watching the prices closely. (Our neighborhood is beginning to recover from a spate of foreclosures, but the flippers are still working on the homes/have them up for sale but have not yet sold them.)

Other than when we were shopping around for our current house, I haven't visited open houses. What is the opinion or etiquette about going out of curiosity rather than with intent to buy? Is it a faux pas, or crass, or an acceptable action?

To be clear, I'm not interested in poking around their medicine cabinet or looking under their bed. I'm wondering about the floor plan, and what they've done to the house to bring it into the realm of the high-end realty company (or maybe the agent is a friend or relative, who knows). The houses in our neighborhood are a diverse mix, built between the 1890s and the 1950s. Theirs is one of the Craftsman-era homes. (Ours is one of the plain Victorian-era homes.)
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
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We will go to the open houses and we are very honest why we are there. Many times the listing agent enjoys meeting new people and building his/her future client portfolio through open houses.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:15 PM   #3
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It is an "open" house. It is open for anyone to see. You should feel free to go.

If they don't want you in there, then don't have an open house. This neighbor check-out-thing is one reason a lot of people skip the open house. But the fact that you can go doesn't make you bad or nosy, in my opinion.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:16 PM   #4
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Perfectly acceptable and expected that the neighbors, people walking past, people driving past drop in and mosey around.

The people manning the open houses are often not the main listing broker, but someone paid to run the open house.

I visited 4 open houses today. One of them was almost 2x my top price range and I think the broker appreciated the chance to share her knowledge about the area. She referred me to another house in the area.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerome len View Post
Many times the listing agent enjoys meeting new people and building his/her future client portfolio through open houses.
+1

This may be the primary reason many agents hold open houses. A great way to drum up business.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jerome len View Post
We will go to the open houses and we are very honest why we are there. Many times the listing agent enjoys meeting new people and building his/her future client portfolio through open houses.
+2

Any open house visitor could mention the home &/or agent to other potential buyers or sellers. Networking is good for business.
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:38 PM   #7
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We go to open houses occasionally, just to see "what's what" in real estate at the moment. We don't announce that we're just looking. I see no reason to do so. The real estate agents generally ask "so when were you looking to buy" and we give noncommittal answers. If there appears to be a serious buyer in the house, we don't get in between them and the agent.

One time, we walked 3 miles to an open house. It is a very unusual house for the area, a "modern" redwood box from the mid-70's, so I had done some research on it on-line, and asked a lot of questions. The owner-saleswoman showed us around, then asked, "But where's your car?" When I said we had walked, the owners got very resentful and accused us of being "neighbors" and basically wasting their time. As if there were people lining up to see the place, and we were preventing them from coming in or something. In fact, no one else showed up while we were there.

We found them annoying anyway - you know, the hovering-owner type. Their house is drastically overpriced, and I notice that five years later it still hasn't sold. They are asking almost twice the tax value.

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Old 06-15-2013, 09:39 PM   #8
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I think it is perfectly acceptable also and have went to neighbor's open houses. My son-in-law's mother became a real estate agent and gave us her card. I can remember thinking that it was a waste of a card when she gave it to us. We signed a contract last week to buy a house from her. So I have changed my opinion and think that she was smart to give us her card.
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:30 PM   #9
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Sounds fine to me! When I had my house on the market a couple of years ago, my agent told me some people from the neighborhood came to look during an open house. Didn't bother me a bit. My house was all de-personalized and spiffed up, so I thought it was pretty cool that neighbors were seeing it all lovely like that.
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:52 PM   #10
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Acceptable and beneficial.

Since people often like to be located near friends and family, by having a neighbor visit an open house, they would then be in a great position to recommend that house to interested friends or family.

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Old 06-15-2013, 11:54 PM   #11
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I'd say who cares. If the homeowners are home and they usually are not, and they do not like it, so what, they are leaving anyway. If it would interest you or perhaps give you useful information, go.

I never pass an open house in my neighborhood without stopping by. Sometimes the agent is surprised when I say I live 2 doors up the street, or on another floor in this building. But no one ever seemed pout out by it. The more people at an open house, the more successful it appears.

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Old 06-16-2013, 05:21 AM   #12
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Go. The homeowner probably won't be there, the realtors wants all the foot traffic they can get, and you really must see the inside of a house before you can make a reasonable comparison with yours.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jerome len View Post
Many times the listing agent enjoys meeting new people and building his/her future client portfolio through open houses.
According to a real estate magazine for agents that I read a long time ago that is the main reason they have open houses - not specifically to sell that one, but to find out what potential buyers are looking for and to steer them to those homes.

If they happen to sell the open house that is icing on the cake.

So go to the open house.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:58 AM   #14
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People do it all the time, but that's not necessarily an answer. As others have said, realtors don't mind, they even encourage it so they can show how many people visited among other reasons.

But the neighbors selling won't be amused if they catch wind of it. So I guess you have to use an alias when the realtor asks for your name, etc. Just ask yourself how you'd feel if all your (neighbors) traipsed through your open house, that's your answer IMO.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:54 AM   #15
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We visit open houses in our neighborhood all the time, and I let the realtor know we are neighbors as soon as we get there. I want the realtor to be able to focus on real potential buyers rather than on me. I am looking to see how a house compares to ours, what updates have been made, get ideas for improving our place -- sometimes people do creative things with the same or similar floor plan.

We run into others doing the same thing. I see it as encouraging, that we neighbors are checking into ways to make our own homes better. That's good for the 'hood, right?
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:40 AM   #16
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I think this is perfectly acceptable, and sometimes a neighbor might be able to generate a lead to a potential buyer they know is looking.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:04 PM   #17
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As a former real estate agent, there were several "givens" in the market I practiced, with regard to open houses:

1. The owner had to agree to leave, as in off premises. You do NOT want a fussy owner at their open house, stalking everybody. So I wouldn't worry about the owner being there.

2. Most people who show up have no real interest in the property. They're looky-loos from the neighborhood, people driving around looking at homes for the day, etc. We even warned sellers of that, not to expect everybody who walks in the door to have a serious interest. So don't worry about just being curious...you're in good company with probably 75% of the other people showing up.

3. As others have posted, one of the real reasons agents agree to hold an open house isn't to sell that particular property, it's to meet new buyers who are currently unrepresented by another buyer's agent. However, you have to sift through a lot of chaff to find the wheat (a serious buyer), so what I discovered was...listing agents new to the business would readily agree to do an open house, and to sit at it themselves. But after a few times doing that, and realizing how much a waste of time they were (at least, that's my opinion), they'd get assistants to do it, or other newer agents. I sat about two open houses for my listings before decided it was a waste of time (which they truly were in my area, being more of a rural area without much traffic).
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:52 PM   #18
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My parent and brother go to every single open house in their neighborhood and they aren't shopping for a house. They just like to see how their neighor house look like.

Most open house seems to be just people being nosy with no intent to buy.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:39 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the input. Turns out one of my spouse's co-workers is looking for a house to buy, and she stopped by with her significant other, and we all went together. The owners have already moved out, and the co-worker was laughing at the staging, which is nearly identical to many of the other homes she's been viewing, down to a stack of travel books on the nightstand.

It's priced $60K less than the owners paid for it back in 2005, and there were a TON of people there, including, yes, a few other neighbors. I have no training in real estate values, but I don't see why it was valued at $70K more than our own home. It's all a mystery. I'll be watching the record of sales to see what it finally goes for.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:04 PM   #20
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I have no problem going to an "open house" that stirs up my interest. I just tell the realtor I am not a buyer so he can hold the sales pitch. If it is "open house" on a "for sale my owner" I will not go in.
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