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Advice and Etiquette For Home Viewing

Walking through a perfect stranger’s home to potentially purchase can be a unique and interesting experience; but there is a clear etiquette that should be followed as part of the process.  Below is a list of tips and suggestions I have experienced over the years from showing thousands of homes:

 

  • Provide Notice. 
    • Ideally we should notify the seller at least a day in advance of any showing request.  This will allow the seller to have the home “show ready,” to be out of the home at the designated time, and to make any necessary arrangements for household pets.
  • Remove Shoes. 
    • Be prepared (particularly in the winter) to remove your shoes as you enter most homes.  Some sellers will have booties available at the door but if not, we need to be respectful enough of their home to not track dirt or potentially stain their flooring.  I have found wearing slip-on footwear makes it much easier to get in and out of homes quickly; so you may want to consider this prior to showings.
  • Timing. 
    • For occupied homes we will provide the seller with a window of time for our arrival (typically 30 to 60 minutes).  We need to do everything possible to make this window in order to respect their time and efforts.  I will let you know if we ever get close to missing a showing window so we can react accordingly.
  • Leave As You Found It. 
    • We need to do our best to leave the home as we found it.  Which means turning off all lights, closing doors that were originally closed, locking the front door as we leave, etc.  I will ultimately be responsible for doing this but ask your assistance in helping me.
  • Photographs. 
    • Some buyers like to take additional photos of a home to help them remember particular features.  This is generally fine but we just need to be sensitive to the fact that this is still someone’s home and they have a right to privacy.  Thus, if you feel the need to snap a couple of photos please ensure to NOT post them to any social networks (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube).
  • Smoking. 
    • Smoking is never allowed in a seller’s home.  If you feel the need to smoke please do so before or after the showing.
  • Children/Pets. 
    • Small children can be distracting / stressful for parents as they walk through homes for obvious reasons.  For those with the ability, it can be helpful to find someone to watch them during the bulk of our showings.  Obviously when this isn’t possible we can work around it, but it can save you a level of stress and allow you to focus on the home rather than corralling small children.  Pets are never allowed.  If a pet must be brought it will need to stay in the vehicle or outside.

 

Helpful Tip

A couple of recommendations for getting the most out of your showings:   

  • Focus on what cannot be changed.  Don’t focus on things like carpet, paint colors, furniture, etc.  If the carpet is ugly or the home needs a whole new paint job to bring it out of the 70’s, we can factor this into our price; but ultimately those things can be changed.  The location or size of the living room cannot.
  • Look at the neighbors and the surrounding area closely.  Remember you’re not just buying a home, you’re buying into a neighborhood.
  • Take notes.  I will provide you with a packet of information with a place to take notes whenever we go out – take advantage of it.  I promise the homes will start to blend together after a while and you’ll struggle to remember specifics about one home versus another.  
  • Distinguishing feature.  Another way to help with remembering homes is to identify a single distinguishing feature i.e., the “red carpet house” or the home with all of the cat figurines, etc.  Whatever helps you remember specifics about a home can be valuable.  Be sure to write this into your notes.
  • Recap.  After each home let’s be sure to discuss what you liked or didn’t like about the home and where it ranks relative to the other homes we’ve seen.  This will help me have a better understanding of what’s truly important to you and will allow me to serve you better.
  • Beware of Seller Security Cameras.  Ring doorbells and other home security measures are quite common these days; and the legality of recordings is still somewhat nebulous.  So just beware of this and plan accordingly.  Never discuss price or the fact you “have to have this house” while we’re inside the home – you never know if we’re being recorded.  When we do our recap after each showing, we can do it outside by our vehicles to ensure all conversation is private and remains confidential.  

 

Walking through homes can be exciting and is almost always interesting (you’d be amazed at some of the things I’ve seen); but there’s also a clear etiquette for doing it properly.  Let’s be sure to follow that etiquette and enjoy ourselves along the way.  If you ever have any questions I will always be available to help and advise.