Home Touring Etiquette
The 10 commandments of home touring
As a homebuyer, going on tours can be one of the most exciting parts of searching for a new home. While it is very easy to make yourself comfortable when imaging your new life living in the home, keep in mind that there are some house touring etiquette practices that should be followed.
It has been said, do unto others as you would have done unto you. This should also apply to the house you are touring. Keep in mind that it is still someone else’s home and respect it as if it were your own. You wouldn’t appreciate someone going through your sock drawer, trying out your mattress or making sure they fit in the bathtub, so restrain yourself and focus on the house itself.
- Remember your mother preaching, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”. There is a very fine line between practically discussing the pros and cons of a house as you tour through, and downright criticizing the home. Chances are the seller’s real estate agent will follow up with your agent to see how the tour went and the last thing you want is your agent being left with nothing but harsh feedback to relay.
Just because you are a night owl doesn’t mean the home seller, or your agent is. While there is always the exception, keep in mind that asking to set up a showing at 9pm of an occupied home is almost never acceptable. Typically, an appropriate time frame to request a showing is between the hours of 9am and 8pm. Everyone has a tight schedule but be reasonable with time requests and keep in mind that your agent, the sellers agent and the seller are just as anxious to find a potential match for the home as you are.
- Most of us have our cells glued to our sides which makes it very easy, and tempting, to snap a few quick pictures inside a home while touring. After all, you are seeing five homes today and you want to be able to remember them all. While in theory a good idea, the key here is ALWAYS ASK before pulling out the camera. Some homeowners may not want impromptu pictures taken due to photos of children, fine antiques, collectibles, etc. throughout the home. You would never walk into a friend’s home and start taking pictures without asking first, use the same courtesy when touring homes.
- Scheduling an immediate home showing should be seen as a pleasant surprise, never the rule. In most cases at least four conversations must take place in order to set up an appointment. Your piece in the process ends with a phone call to your agent requesting an appointment time that works best for your schedule. Then the fun for agents begins with a bit of a coordination circus to make your wish come true. Your agent is tasked with getting a hold of the seller’s agent (an often difficult task in the world of busy agents), who then must contact the seller to approve a showing time. The seller’s agent will then contact your agent to let them know whether the requested time will work for the seller. If all is well your agent will then call back to confirm with you — if not, the whole process must be repeated. Moral of the story, do not get bent out of shape if you have to wait 24 hours in order to see a home.
You want to do a quick drive by of a home to check out the area before requesting a showing from your agent? Perfect! Most agents even suggest checking out the neighborhood before committing to a showing, seeing as the next-door neighbor may have a thing for yard gnomes. But, what you should not do is start exploring the yard, or peek in windows…even if you think the sellers aren’t home. Unless you have been told that the house is vacant, be considerate of those still living in the home and give the same level of privacy you would hope to receive.
- Need we mention you should never contact the home seller directly? Not only does it make you look creepy for finding their contact information, but it also shows you are over zealous about the home. This will only hurt you as the seller will now know how interested you are and will be more apt to stick firmly to their asking price. Real estate agents are hired for a reason, they understand the home buying process and will be able to handle the transaction much more efficiently than you. So for heaven’s sake, let your agent do their job!
- If nature calls while touring a home, please remember your manners. Make sure to ask first as some vacant homes have had the water turned off, and you most definitely do not want to find out there is no running water after the fact. Also, make sure to leave the seat where you found it and please remember to flush.
Of course you want to bring your kids along to the home showing to make sure they approve. Just make sure you keep an eye out, and don’t let the house become their personal playground. It may take a gentle reminder that the toys do not belong to them…and yes the “no jumping on the bed” rule applies here as well.
- We know no one wants to tour a home hungry but go ahead and finish your food in the car. Or better yet, wait until after the showing when you can sit down for a nice meal and discuss the home. Don’t take the chance of spilling your coke on the seller’s new carpet or leaving a trail of crumbs. Bottom line, leave your food and drinks behind.
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