So you’re about to begin the hunt for your next home with your REALTOR! Here’s what to expect:
- You’re likely getting daily emails from your agent with properties that match your base criteria. Keep track of the ones you want to see – providing your agent with the MLS number instead of the address will make their life immeasurably better.
- Most appointments are scheduled for 30-60 minutes.
- While every agent has their own preferences, seeing more than 10 properties at once is not recommended – you’ll be exhausted and everything will start to look the same.
- Your agent works when other people don’t, so evenings and weekends are when most showings get scheduled. And yes, that includes long weekends.
- Most showings are scheduled on short notice. Smart Sellers make viewing hours flexible – for example, from 10 am to 8 pm any day of the week, but circumstances (eg kids or pets) or fussy Sellers sometimes means that you can only see a house between 11-3 PM on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sunday. It’s their house, so you’ll need to be ready to play by their rules.
- If the home is tenanted, by law, the Seller will be required to give the tenants 24 hours notice of a showing. No matter how much you want to see the property or what your schedule is like, the 24 hour rule will apply.
- If you’re touring multiple properties, your agent will likely do the driving. Not only is he/she more familiar with the streets and an expert parallel parker (I’m the exception to that rule), but it’s a great opportunity to talk about the neighbourhoods you’re seeing.
- It’s customary to take off your shoes when walking through a home, so slip-on slip-off shoes will make your shopping a whole lot easier. If the idea of walking barefoot in a stranger’s house doesn’t appeal, consider bringing some socks or foldable slippers.
- In most cases, the Sellers won’t be home, which will give you time and privacy to go through the home. Your agent will likely accompany you through the house, highlighting the good/bad/ugly of the house and answering any questions you have. Keep in mind that Sellers may be recording you with hidden cameras (yes, this happens), so don’t say anything in the house that could hurt you in a negotiation. Also resist the urge to comment on the crazy doll collection (at least until you’ve left the house.)
- If the Sellers are home during your showing, be polite, be respectful and avoid the urge to ask them any questions (but don’t be surprised if your agent seizes that opportunity).
- Technically, you aren’t supposed to take photos of someone else’s home without their permission, but people do it all the time. If you’re going to take photos, please be respectful and don’t snap pics of the Seller’s personal belongings/photos. You’ll never win that bidding war if the Seller saw you make fun of their doll collection on Instagram.
- In-demand condos and houses may have multiple appointments booked at the same time. Some agents will wait for you to exit the house, while others will barge on in. Don’t worry about everyone else – take your time and ask any questions you have.
- You’ll see everything from HGTV-ready homes in sparkling condition to homes that haven’t been cleaned or updated in years. Remember that ugly and dirty houses are often the best deals on the block.
- To really get to know a house, you’ll need 4 of your 5 senses: vision, hearing, smell and touch. Do you hear the cracks in the floors? Smell the mold in the basement? Feel the squishy floor beneath your feet?
- Takes notes! Evernote is a great app for tracking the properties you visit.
After the Showings
- In real estate, first impressions matter. If you didn’t take notes during the showings, make a point of writing down what you love/hate about the properties you saw when you get home. It’ll help narrow down your choices and will be great feedback for your agent. It also doesn’t hurt to give them a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 – how close did each home come to being what you want?
- Unfortunately, many people spend more time buying $100 shoes than they do shopping for an $800,000 house. Ask questions and do your due diligence. And if you’re interested in a property, let your agent know right away – there’s nothing worse than finding out the house sold to someone else because they didn’t think you were interested.