Before we head out on your great house hunting adventure, there are a few house hunting etiquette guidelines we should review to make sure everyone is on the same page. Sad, but true, everything on this list is prompted by something that has happened in my real estate experience, so please bear with me if some of this seems a little obvious.
When Viewing Homes
Focus on the home, not the stuff or the people. Sometimes homes will be occupied when you view them. Often degrees and accolades, and personal photos will be displayed. This is someone’s home. But, you are there to see the house, so please try to maintain your focus on the house itself. The stuff can be very distracting, and I have even observed buyers deciding how they felt about a home based on their own assessment of who the current sellers are. There is much to consider when purchasing a home. What you think of the sellers, whether they are like you or not, should not be among the considerations.
Be cautious when speaking or acting. If you are engaged in talking with a seller, their agent or even a neighbor, be polite and warm, but try to avoid conversations where you might accidentally “show your cards”. If you decide to purchase this home, we do not want the sellers to have leverage over you through information you provided inadvertently. Feel free at any point to simply say “Gee, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask my agent.” Further, more and more homes are “monitored” with nanny cams and the like. Please remain aware of this while viewing the home. Lastly, should we be approached by an inquisitive neighbor, or another buyer, I am happy to “handle” the unexpected visitor, don’t feel obligated to engage that person. It is my goal to provide you with a private showing, subject to the terms of the property owner.
Please respect the things that are in the home. The owners personal belongings are just that. They do not convey. Please help your children resist the temptation of playing with toys they see. Please do not sit on the beds or chairs. Please do not open drawers. Please leave musical instruments and high tech gadgets alone. Please only touch the items that will convey. It is fine to open closets and cabinets, so long as you are not rummaging through the personal items inside. This is also true in model homes. Unless it is clear that something was left for potential purchasers (like candy or cookies, a brochure, etc.) do not take anything from the home.
Do your home inspection later. In the vast majority of cases, a buyers contract will be contingent on a home inspection. Your INSURED inspector will have an opportunity to open and close windows, fidget with the thermostat, flush the toilets, test the sinks. Please do not do this during a tour of the home.
There are no public restrooms in private homes. We can not assume that it is OK for us to use the facilities in a home. The water may be turned off; something may not be working properly; and owners generally do not want their homes used as a “pit stop”. While many model homes do offer public restrooms, private homes do not. If we are looking at several homes, please don’t hesitate to suggest a break at a nearby restaurant if you need one. We’re all human.
We must preschedule showings. It is quite common that while we are out, we will drive past properties with for sale signs. A for sale sign is not an invitation to drop by. I am not permitted to use my lockbox key just because there is a lockbox. I am required to get permission before entering any home, even if it is vacant. Please feel free to make a note of it, and we can look up the listing and see if it makes sense for us to view at a later time. Often, if it didn’t make the list, there’s a reason… it may be over your price range, or not meet your other criteria, or it could be under contract or not yet available.
If I am driving. Many times buyers will choose to drive, or we may drive separately. If you would like for me to drive, I am happy to do so. My preference is that we do whatever is most comfortable for you, or makes the most logistical sense based on where we’re coming from and heading to, and how many homes there are to see. However, please know that I do not put client’s children in my car.
While we’re in my car, I ask a few things:
- Know that the person riding “shotgun” might need to be my navigator.
- Please do not hesitate to adjust seats, or ask that windows are rolled up, down or temperatures adjusted. I want this to be a pleasant experience.
- Especially if this is going to be a long day, please bring water or a drink with you. I do, however, ask that you refrain from eating or smoking in my car.
- Please respect my privacy and do not explore any personal items you find in my car.
- If you need a break… maybe you need to visit a restroom, get a soda, take a smoke break, make some calls or just stretch your legs….just let me know. Looking at homes is exhausting. Please do not hesitate to ask for a break, or to even tell me that you’re done for the day.
I am looking forward to finding you a new home. Thank you for enduring my “Rules of the Road” post. As you can imagine I work with a diverse group of people, and I have found it best to provide this type of information early in the process so we share the same expectations.
Now that we’re all on the same page… Shall we begin? Contact me to get started on the journey to finding your next new home!
Keyword: House Hunting Etiquette