Home Showing Etiquette

Home Showing Etiquette

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The market is picking up and there are more buyers looking at homes. You will be showing more houses than usual. Please remember to be courteous to the sellers and the listing agent. Here are a few items to refresh your memory. 

TIME LIMIT – The showing window should not be longer than 2 hours in length and should be narrower if possible. Many times you have a stay-at-home mom or a home that requires dogs to be removed, so being late or not showing up at your scheduled time causes major headaches for the seller. 

PETS – Please do not let a dog or cat out of the home while you are opening the door of a listing. Assume that ALL homes have a small pet that could dart out at any given time, you have to be aware of this and take the proper precautions to prevent it.  

KNOCK FIRST – Prior to opening up the lockbox, always ring the doorbell. The seller may be home and you may startle them by opening up the lockbox and opening up their home unannounced. Even if you think the home is vacant, ring the doorbell and knock on the door. There are many times that a seller has downsized, is waiting on a moving truck or military orders and they’re sleeping on an air mattress in the back bedroom. It’s also good practice when you walk in the door to announce yourself loudly, “REALTOR!”  

STAY OFF THE GRASS – Do NOT, and I repeat do NOT cut across the grass to go to the front door. Use the walkway folks. There may be times where your or the client has accidentally stepped in something in the yard. You do NOT want to track it all over the seller’s home. Sidewalks and driveways are designed for entry into a home; it’s just common courtesy to use them. 

KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF – Never adjust the air conditioning or heat system in a home. No matter how hot or how cold the home is, the temperature in the home is what it is. By adjusting or tweaking a system, you might be launching a problem that you are unaware of with a leaky system that causes a drain pan to flood later. In south Alabama, when it’s 200*, no air conditioner in the home means a quick showing.  

DON’T OPEN DRAWERS – Never go through a seller’s furnished home, their drawers, their furniture, or refrigerator. There’s nothing in those items that will help the sale of a home. Other people’s belongings are off limits!  

DO NOT SIT ON SELLERS FURNITURE – It is acceptable to sit in the entertaining areas (kitchen, living room, bar stools) to discuss offer terms, furniture placement, changes buyer would make, etc. It is never OK to sit on the seller’s bed or to allow children to play with the seller’s kids toys. 

NO PRICE TALK – Never discuss price, value, or like ability of a home in the home. It’s too easy with today’s technology to be recorded and too many ooh’s and aah’s mean a higher price if you decide to buy that home. 

DON’T USE THE BATHROOM – Unless you have a dire emergency, do not use the restroom of an occupied seller’s home. It’s bad etiquette and tacky. If your client HAS to go, or they have a small child having an EMERGENCY, then absolutely allow them to use the restroom but you can wait til you get back to the office.  

TURN THE LIGHTS OFF – Make sure all the lights are turned off in a home when you leave. Also make it a point to blow out all candles that a seller has lit for effect.  

LOCK ALL THE DOORS – Be sure to double check all doors before leaving – even doors you may not have opened. Often the buyer has walked out a door and not locked it back. Too many times homes are left completely open – especially vacant ones.  

LEAVE HOME AS YOU FIND IT - If seller leaves interior door to the garage unlocked, leave it as you found it. Many homeowners enter through the garage and only lock that door at night. If buyers open that door, ask them if it was unlocked when they opened it. It is horrible when a seller has to call the listing agent late at night to come let them in because they are locked out. If you open blinds to allow light while you are showing, be sure to return them as you found them. 

OBEY SELLER WISHES – If seller has requested no shoes in the house or to give the puppy a treat so he doesn’t bark the whole time, please oblige.  

PROVIDE FEEDBACK – Sellers and agents want constructive feedback from showings so they can address any issues that come up. It is very frustrating when the house is being shown, but the seller doesn’t know why there are no offers. 

KEEP BUYER PARTY TOGETHER - Make sure the parents don’t go one direction and the kids the other. If this happens, stay with the kids and try to lure them back to the parents. Kids are more likely to go through the seller’s things than the adults. Remember: You are the one responsible for the sellers home while you are showing it.  

LEAVE A BUSINESS CARD – Sellers are annoyed when they return home and are not sure the house was even shown. They do not know whether to leave for more time or not. 

CALL CALL CALL – Last, but not least, if you’re running late or need to cancel a showing appointment for whatever reason, contact the listing office right away!

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