Home Buyer Etiquette: What to Avoid When Viewing Homes
If you are in the market to buy a home, you may see this experience like you are the customer, and the seller’s home is the store. This may make you assume that whatever you want to do while viewing someone’s home is acceptable. After all, the customer is always right — right?
This is not the case when shopping real estate. That is not a store you are trampling mud into, but someone’s home – perhaps onto someone’s brand new carpeting. The damage or mess you cause is not viewed as a cost of doing business, but rather seen as a lack of good buyer etiquette.
This can actually cost you when dealing with the sellers should you choose place an offer. Think about it from their perspective: “This is the offer from the people that rumpled my bed, used my bathroom and left footprints all over the floor.” You have essentially annoyed the homeowner, leaving a negative impression right before they decide if they want to sell to you.
What is proper etiquette when viewing other people’s homes?
It may not seem obvious at first – until you think about this list.
- Don’t touch their beds. Unless the deal includes furnishings there is no reason to sit on their bed or touch their furniture.
- Don’t use the bathroom. As a general rule you should go before the showing. Stop off at the local Dunkins or something but avoid using their facilities. If for some reason you absolutely must, be certain you flush!
- Remove your shoes at the door, particularly during spring. As a general rule people don’t like buyers tracking in outside dirt into their home. If the thought of going without your shoes bothers you, consider bringing slippers or be certain you wear socks.
- Don’t move or touch stuff. This goes for items in closets, drawers, and furniture.
- Don’t let pets out. Pets can be an issue, but your real estate professional should have some instructions for managing them during a showing.
- Don’t look through medicine cabinets. In other words don’t be a snoop. A quick glance to gauge the space is OK, but looking through labels is an invasion of privacy.
- Don’t help yourself to snacks on the counter unless they are specifically left out for potential buyers. Sometimes sellers will do this and leave a little note for buyers to enjoy a snack while they are there. But if that plate of cookies or the bowl of apples is not obviously there for you, don’t grab one!
- Don’t bring your double mocha iced latte. Carrying around a beverage that could spill and stain carpets is not good etiquette.
- Don’t take pictures unless you ask the real estate professional ahead of time. Some sellers do not like people recording video or taking pictures of their home.
- Don’t park on or trample their lawn. Park on pavement, the dirt driveway, or even the street if necessary. Walk on paths and walkways.
If you put yourself in the seller’s shoes, these etiquette basics should be understandable and easy to remember the next time you view a home. It is ok to also ask your real estate professional for advice or ask questions about what sellers expect from you while viewing their home.
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