I opened the door and said hello, greeting the approaching couple with a warm smile. She walked past my outstretched hand and stated, “We have an agent.” He awkwardly shook my hand, his eyes sending an apology. As I told her about the home she never once looked me in the eye, but instead eyeballed the house impatiently.
“The kitchen is so small,” she said.
It was hard not to be defensive. My listings are like my own children. I know all about their flaws, but love them anyway.
“You can open this wall with very little trouble if you wanted,” I said. She was visibly annoyed at what she thought was my sales technique. Truth be told, the wall can be opened, enlarging the kitchen, with very little trouble.
“I don’t like carpet,” she stated as we walked through the master bedroom. I informed her that there is hardwood underneath.
She walks through the rest of the home as if she is sucking on a lemon.
I’d liked to have kicked her in the bottom as she left. It probably would have gotten an involuntary laugh out of her poor husband. I didn’t give them my card because in a perfect world, I would never see them again.
In her outside voice she complained to her husband, “The kitchen is so small, and the basement, I can’t believe she likes that basement.” Another couple was heading toward the front door, clearly hearing the comments.
I greeted them knowing that the woman’s bad behavior had cast a shadow over my lovely listing.
There are rules of behavior that most of us are accustomed to following. We teach our children to say please and thank you. We whisper in the library. We bring gifts to the hostess when she has us for a visit. But for some reason, when people enter the homes of others for Open Houses, polite behavior is left behind.
I’ve provided some rules of etiquette for open houses. You may find it incredulous that anyone would do such things, but agents know these behaviors are common.
1- Say “hello” to the person that greets you at the door. He/she is a fellow human.
2- You’re not Simon Cowell. Don’t critique the décor.
3- Don’t ask why they are moving. That is a personal and confidential topic.
4- Stay out of the refrigerator. It most likely doesn’t come with the house.
5- Don’t open the kitchen cabinets unless you are looking at the door quality or features of the cabinets. What they have inside them is none of your business.
6- Stay together with your family or group. It’s not a scavenger hunt.
7- Don’t let your children jump on beds or touch things. That includes toys.
8- Unless you were hired as the home inspector, don’t diagnose problems with the house. If floors are uneven, it doesn’t mean the house is caving in and a crack in the wall doesn’t mean always mean there is a structural problem.
9- Restrain from making negative comments until you are in your car and the doors are closed. The young couple behind you may think it’s their dream house.
10- Most importantly, remember the Golden Rule and treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Opening your home to the public to is a difficult task for all homeowners. Remember that it may be your house that is open next.