If you’re in the market to buy a house or condo, you’ll be exploring a lot of homes in your search for the right one. Here’s what you need to know to be a courteous and respectful home Buyer:
- Take off your shoes at every showing. It’s not OK to traipse water, mud, salt or snow through someone’s home. In the summer, consider bringing along a pair of socks so you aren’t walking around their home barefoot.
- Your agent should leave their business card at every showing to communicate to the Seller that they’ve been through the home.
- It’s ok to look closely and open closets, but don’t touch the Seller’s personal belongings. Don’t rifle through any dressers or furniture that isn’t being sold with the home.
- It’s ok to open the fridge and other appliances if they are being sold with the home – but don’t help yourself to any food or drink. And yes, I’ve seen this happen.
- If you’re house hunting with your kids, keep a close eye on them. Don’t leave them unsupervised and help them understand what is ok and not ok to touch and explore.
- If the Sellers are home, greet them with a smile and avoid asking them direct questions about the home or why they’re moving.
- Remember that you might be on camera: don’t reveal your motivations, budget or how much you like/hate the home.
- If you’re buying a condo, make sure to check out the shared facilities, parking and locker. Your agent might have to sweet-talk the concierge to get access.
- Leave the home exactly as you found it. If the lights were on, leave them on. If they were off, turn them off.
- Lock all the doors – including the side and back doors if you opened them.
- Be respectful with requests for showing times. 10 am to 8 pm is fairly standard. Early morning and late night showings aren’t generally appreciated by the Seller.
- Cancel a showing last-minute. The Seller has likely gone to a lot of effort to prepare the home for you and made plans to leave it so you can explore at your leisure. If you need to cancel, give plenty of advance warning.
- Mock the Seller’s decor or take pictures of their personal belongings to share on social media. They’ve let you into their home and deserve respect.
- Lay on their bed. Jump on their bed. Sit on their couch. You’re there to see the home, not test out their furniture.
- Bring your dog to a showing. If you can’t leave them at home, leave them in the car (obviously not in extreme temperatures).
- If you absolutely must use the Seller’s bathroom, make sure you leave it in the same condition it was in when you arrived. But try to avoid using their bathrooms and visit a coffee shop instead.
- Forget anything in the home. That includes coats, umbrellas, sweaters, phones and tablets. It’s their home – don’t get too comfortable.
- Don’t wear heavy perfumes or cologne or decide to eat your tuna sandwich in someone else’s home. Smells linger.
- Agents: don’t forget to return the key to the lockbox and scramble the code. Don’t put the key in your pocket or leave it on a shelf while you investigate the electrical box. Losing a key or walking away with it is a guaranteed way to make sure the Sellers don’t sell to your client.
- Don’t ever go to a showing without your agent present. If your agent gives you the lockbox code, that’s a huge no-no and they could lose their license. Get a new agent.
- Smoke in their driveway or in their backyard.
- In short: Don’t do anything in the Seller’s house that you wouldn’t be comfortable with a stranger doing in yours.