Open houses in Ottawa are an excellent opportunity for you to check out potential future homes. You do not need to have a real estate agent, nor is making an appointment necessary. You don't even have to be an official home buyer. Instead, open houses can be a stress-free way for you to ease into buying a home. They may help you prioritize what you want, for example. That said, if you are new to open houses, you may be unsure how to act, so here are a few etiquette tips.
You may feel odd attending open houses if you are not an official home buyer. Maybe you do not have a real estate agent, for one thing. However, that's fine -- just go ahead and show up! Agents know that many people are not in the market for homes; in fact, some people go to open houses as a hobby. Walk right in; there is no need to ring a doorbell or to knock.
Some Realtors will meet you at the door and discuss the home with you. Others are much more hands-off. Whatever type of Realtor you end up with at an open house, it is fine to ask questions. You are not wasting a Realtor's time; Realtors always like to know what people are looking for.
If you have a pushy Realtor at the open house or one you are just not comfortable with, it is fine to ask for space and to tour the house at your own pace. It is the job of the hosts to make your experience smooth.
If you do not have a Realtor yet, open houses can be good ways to see Realtors in action. The Realtor at an open house may ask if you have representation and could suggest meeting later to discuss your needs. However, do not treat open houses as ways to have immediate, in-depth "job" interviews with prospective Realtors. If you do already have an agent, it is best to take him or her with you to the open house. Always be upfront with hosting agents about your Realtor status.
Children, especially young children, can wreak havoc at an open house. Avoid bringing them, especially if you are a serious buyer. Also, if you are scouting with someone else, stay with that person (or people). Realtors need to have a general idea of where people are in the house. Stay out of private belongings, and keep your food and drinks elsewhere. You are a guest in another person's home, so do not make negative comments about shabby furniture and the like.
Open houses can be a fun and educational way to identify what you want in a home, and knowing how to act ahead of time should ease some of your anxieties.