Blog / Is It OK to Visit an Open House Without Intent to Buy?


Is It OK to Visit an Open House Without Intent to Buy?

There are lots of reasons to visit an open house, and not all of them have to do with being on an active search for a new home. But is it rude or unacceptable to visit open houses when you know you won’t be buying? There isn’t really a clear yes or no answer—it mostly depends on how you go about your visits.

It Depends on Who You Ask...But The Answer is Usually Yes

Open houses have a specific purpose, and they’re serious events for both sellers and agents. An open house can be all it takes to get a house sold, so they aren’t just showcases for anyone to stroll through and see how other people live. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to be a serious shopper in order to visit an open house.

Some homeowners would probably prefer that the only people who visit their home are the people who intend to buy it, especially those who will continue to live in that home after the open house is over. However, it’s not unheard of for a person who has no intention of buying to visit an open house, fall in love and end up buying anyway.

Even if there’s no way this will happen for you, most people understand that there’s no real way to police open house visitors. The key is to behave appropriately as a lurker rather than a buyer.

Be Polite and Honest

Regardless of what’s motivating you to look at open houses, whether you know you’ll be buying someday soon or you simply want to look at homes in your area, there are a few etiquette rules you need to follow to be in the “yes, it is OK to visit without the intent to buy” category. First and foremost, it’s essential to be respectful and polite to both the homeowners (even if they aren’t there) and the real estate agent.

Most importantly, you should follow the same rules as a person looking with intent to buy would follow, meaning you should leave personal belongings alone and focus instead on the features of the house itself. Don’t open up drawers and cabinets if they’re on a piece of furniture, for example, but you can open up a kitchen cabinet in order to inspect the cabinet, not as a way of gawking at your neighbor’s dinnerware collection.

You should also be up front with the real estate agent. Just be honest—you aren’t looking to buy right now but wanted to check out the house. If the agent asks for your contact information, you can just say no or ask for their card instead. You don’t need to give a fake name or pretend to be a buyer. It’s also important to avoid monopolizing the agent’s time if there are a lot of other people looking at the house. Ultimately, the house is open, and most realtors see looky-loo visitors as potential future clients. As long as you behave appropriately, you won’t be in anyone’s way.

Even if you aren’t actively looking to buy, you can use to schedule some open house visits in your area.