Don't Use the Toilet! House Hunting Etiquette Tips
House hunting is such a popular pastime there are television shows dedicated to stalking picky home buyers as they look for a new place to call home. An open house allows potential buyers to preview a home inside and out before making a buying decision. Real estate web sites are handy for previewing potential new homes but all the perfectly staged photos and flattering descriptions won't replace the experience of walking through a home and getting a feel for whether or not it's a good fit for you and your needs.
It's natural to want to satisfy your curiosity to see how other people live in the privacy of their home, but show some self control! Opening closet door to check out the size of the closet is acceptable as long as you don't rummage through the clothes like you are shopping the clearance rack at Walmart. What is unacceptable is going through the home owner's nightstand to see if they share your love for trashy novels is an invasion of privacy to the point of being voyeuristic.
Homeowners do not want you using their toilets until after you buy the home. You don't want to discover that the plumbing is not be working or the water is turned off after you relieve yourself of the big gulp you drank an hour ago. In the midst of a house hunting marathon, stop regularly at public restaurants and gas stations to use their bathroom. During a busy open house other potential buyers want to check out the facilities but they may not want to enter bathroom after you have done your business in there.
Watch what you say when touring houses for sale. The home owner may be either in the house or nearby and ready to make an unexpected appearance at any moment. Keep your opinions about the owners taste (or appalling lack thereof) to yourself. Too much criticism not only offends the owner, it might make your real estate agent assume you are impossible to please and not serious about buying a house. On the flip side, showing too much enthusiasm and gushing about all the features you absolutely love may hurt your negotiating power when it comes time to make an offer.
Not every home is ready for it's close up. Before posting a picture of yourself striking a pose in front of that striking flocked wallpaper on social media, ask permission from real estate agent. Homeowners may be less than thrilled to see their steal-worthy valuables and security system featured on your Facebook page for all the world's thieves to see.
When touring a home for sale do not make yourself at home. Do not sit on the furniture, it may be rental furniture that needs to be returned to the company in new condition. Do not touch or pick up personal items that are obviously not included in the sale such as knick knacks. However, if the owners have left out a plate of cookies for house hunters to enjoy feel free to embrace the spirit of home sweet home and indulge in a cookie or two.