House Viewing Etiquette: What Not to Do at Home Showings

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What Not to Do at Home Showings

When viewing houses it is vital to realize you are in someone else's home. It's not to say that you need to treat it like you're in a museum, but there are certainly do's and don'ts when viewing a house.

The key word here is RESPECT. You need to treat home's you are viewing like they are your own. Let's have a look at some of the key things to know when you are on home showings.

By understanding what is proper and what isn't, you will get off on the right foot with the seller. The last thing you will want to do before starting negotiations is dealing with an angry homeowner.

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Show Up On Time For The House Viewing

There is something to be said for being on time. It shows that you value the homeowner's time. Of course, showing up at the requested time may not be completely in your control if your real estate is driving but you should do your best.

Keep in mind there is a strong possibility the home seller has probably spent quite a bit of time scurrying around the home to pick it up and make it look its best. Home staging and preparation can take time.

If the owner has kids, they probably have encouraged them to do the same. Getting a home ready for a home showing isn't easy sometimes when you are juggling lots of other tasks.

Buyers need to remember the world doesn't revolve around them. A great first impression involves being timely for the showing.

Follow the Seller's Instructions

Without a doubt, we all live differently in our homes. Some folks customarily take off their shoes the moment they enter the home. It could be because of religious beliefs or just because it will keep the floors looking new for much longer.

When a seller requests that shoes be taken off at the door or wear booties that they have provided, you need to do so! By doing your own thing it's disrespectful.

If the seller has a pets, there may be a request not to let them out of the house. For example, they may own an indoors cat that never leaves the confines of the home. Whether you are a real estate agent or a potential home buyer, you need to pay attention to requests such as this.

Don't be the one chasing the cat around the woods trying to get them back inside the property.

Don't Bring Food or Drinks Into The Home

Bringing food or snacks into someone's home is not polite and certainly does not follow etiquette for home showings. If a seller leaves water or snacks, then feel free to take some but it should not be done otherwise.

Do you want to be the buyer that spills coffee on the white carpet or leaves a trail of cracker crumbs on the hardwood floors? When the seller comes home and finds this mess they will be very disappointed.

Don't Bring Small Kids Without Permission

Do you want to piss a seller off? A sure-fire way to do it is to bring your kids and then let them roam free. First, you are going to be distracted if you're constantly worrying about what your kid is doing.

Even if they behave properly, your fear is they won't. Your attention spam is going to be affected. However, it is much worse when your kids enter the owner's kid's bedrooms and start playing with their toys. Doing so is a big no-no.

Even when you try to put things back to the way they were, it's unlikely you will be successful. The seller is going to know things were disturbed.

Don't Use The Bathroom Unless it's Absolutely Necessary

Unless there is an emergency situation, it is not proper etiquette to use a homeowners bathroom. There are many sellers that have a problem with a stranger using their facilities.

If the home is vacant that is a different story. Some buyers may also want to check to ensure the plumbing and water pressure are functioning properly.

Before relieving yourself make sure you let your real estate agent know this is your intention. It's possible if they know the seller or the listing agent well enough, it could be okay.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent Lots of Questions

When you are viewing a home, it is essential to ask lots of questions. Don't be shy. There are no stupid questions, especially when you are a first-time home buyer.

Some of the common questions real estate agents field all the time are specifics about the house. Questions like when was the kitchen renovated, how big is the lot, are there any easements, how old is the roof, when was the HVAC replaced are all good things to ask.

Many of these kinds of questions will ultimately impact what you offer for the home. You might even have some legal questions about the lot you want researched. If the real estate agent doesn't know the answers, keep the questions handy and ask your real estate attorney for help.

Real Estate attorney should be able to answer your legal questions about the history of the house, and the surroundings.

Be Careful of Saying Too Much With The Listing Agent Present

If there is an accompanied showing with the listing agent present, you need to make sure you don't say too much. It is also advisable not to show your emotions.

If you absolutely love the house, you shouldn't be conveying this to the seller's representative. Doing so could end up hurting in the negotiations.

Never say anything to the listing agent that you wouldn't say to the seller directly. After all the listing agent works for the seller and could rely what you've told them - again hurting your negotiations.

Keep in Mind There Could Be Cameras or Recording Equipment

Some electronic devices such as camera's and recorders are illegal without disclosure. However, it's not the case in every state. It is possible the seller could hear everything you are saying about the home.

It is a good idea to keep this in mind when you are discussing the house.

Final Thoughts on Home Showings

Always be cognizant you are not in your own home. Treat the property with kid gloves. The seller will respect your for it and it could help when discussing an offer.

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Bill Gassett is an avid writer for numerous real estate topics including finance, mortgages, moving, home improvement, and general real estate. His work has been featured on numerous prestigious real estate publications.

Massachusetts State
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