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What Chicago Homebuyers Need to Know About Open Houses

Feb 16, 2023 | Industry News

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If you’re beginning your search for a new Chicago home, visiting open houses will likely become a regular part of your life for a while. Walking through the houses you’re interested in will provide you with much more information than just scrolling through listings online. While some buyers will stack their weekends with open houses and zip through each one, others are more strategic. Here’s what you need to know about open houses:

Keep It Small

Your group of viewers should contain only essential members. Showing up to an open house with a large group of people isn’t good open-house etiquette. It can be distracting to other visitors, take up too much space, and convey (true or not) that you’re not a serious buyer. If you’re buying alone, bringing along one other person for feedback is smart. If you’re buying with a partner, visiting as a couple is perfect.

Respect the Space

While it will vary from house to house, consider removing your shoes upon entering in the winter or if it’s raining out. Open houses are a delicate balance when it comes to exploring and investigating. You want to see if the house could be a good fit for you, which may mean opening cabinets and closets to see the storage space, but you also don’t want to appear to be snooping. The purpose of an open house is for potential buyers to explore, so don’t neglect looking into something important because you’re unsure. When in doubt, talk to the agent or host to get the green light to proceed.

Know What You’re Looking For

If you’re a serious buyer, you’ll stick to open houses that are a real match for you. While some buyers will visit places well out of their price range out of curiosity, serious buyers know how to maximize their time. They know their budget, the number of bedrooms they want, and other must-haves, and they plan their open house visits accordingly. Beyond that, they also know what they’re looking for when they’re in the space. Are there certain features, appliances, or layouts that are important to you? An open house is a great opportunity to see first-hand what a space has to offer.

Look Out for Red Flags

Homebuyers should do their research and know about potential red flags. Foundation issues, warped window frames, mold, and water damage, for example, are just a handful of issues that can be red flags to buyers. If you spot one of these things, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cross the house off your list, just be sure to note it and get more information.

Don’t Overstay

While you absolutely want to get a real sense of the house, you also want to be efficient in your visit. Open houses aren’t meant to be lengthy trips. To respect the host and other prospective buyers, take the time to get the information you need, and then be on your way.



Open houses are a great opportunity for potential buyers to get the clearest picture of the home for sale. Understanding and respecting open-house etiquette will improve the experience for everyone involved.



If you’d like some recommendations for experienced, local Realtors, or if we can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage, please reach out to us. We’re always happy to help.

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