When it comes to house hunting, sooner or later you’re bound to find yourself confronted by a question of proper house touring etiquette. After all, you’re an invited guest in somebody else’s home —someone who you don’t know, who isn’t around, and whose house rules are a cipher.
As you’d expect, the normal rules of courtesy apply—except when they don’t. For instance, if you are visiting a friend’s home, it wouldn’t be very polite to go about opening up the bedroom closet doors —but on house tours, unless you are instructed otherwise, that’s behavior that gets a green light. You might be treated to a “peek and shriek” if the seller has resorted to some last-minute decluttering via closet-packing, but house touring etiquette says that closet inspection is legit. Closet space is, after all, a valuable part of the home’s layout.
Less clear are any number of gray areas. When your house hunting leads you through an extensive number of home tours, you’re bound to run into some of them. Guidance from the website Houselogic names the most common house tour protocol questions:
- Is it okay to bring in my coffee?
- Can I use the bathroom?
- How about a quick selfie next to that nice [fill in the blank].
- Can I plop down on the sofa?
Fortunately, you don’t need to dust off a copy of Miss Manners or send off a query to Dear Abby, because the answer to these and other modern house touring conundrums is summed up in a simple, “just ask.” Whatever the answer might be, you will have fulfilled your duty as a most conscientious house hunter.
One more thought: those two words have an alternate form that applies when we’re your buyer’s agent. We may be out together on the kind of comprehensive house surveying expedition we line up for our clients. We will have arranged a series of appointments with the homeowners and their selling agents and put together a schedule with ample time to get us from place to place. When that’s the situation, the two words that solve all house touring etiquette questions with a simple, “Ask me!”