As you know we have been trying to sell our home. As we have only dabbled in the real estate market a couple of times we are not really sure of proper home selling etiquette. You know, things like...Do you stick around when someone is looking at your home or do you hit the road and let them have the freedom to look in peace?
We have also been wondering about buyers etiquette since we are going to be purchasing a new house and especially since a few of our lookers have taken some liberties with our home that I feel is a little over the top.
One looker rummaged through our bathroom drawers and cabinets (in both bathrooms). They took the door off the furnace and didn't put it back on and also left the electrical panel open. The last lookers not only took a light switch cover off the wall to look at the wiring, they improperly reinstalled the plate and left it loose...they also investigated the water lines and filter leading to our ice maker so much so that it sprung a leak and we had to replace it.
I don't know, but to me unless you are really serious about buying a house and intend on making an offer on it, you should ask before looking THAT thoroughly at it. I do get that you want to make an informed decision when purchasing something that expensive, but it doesn't hurt to ask about things instead of dismantling the house for the answers.
That brings me to the subject of this post. What is proper home buying and selling etiquette?
I know you want to know what the experts have to say, right?
The professionals at the National Association of Realtors has a list of do's and don'ts for home sellers.
A seller should:
1. Leave for showings.
2. Leave room in the driveway for agents and lookers to park.
3. Do not leave pets at home during a showing.
4. Leave documents of interest out on the counter for prospective buyers to examine (i.e. Home warranty papers, repair receipts, appraisals, etc.)
5. Offer some refreshments (cold bottled water, snack crackers, etc.)
6. Be patient waiting for feedback
7. Don't be stubborn on price negotiations
8. Listen to the professionals
You can read the full article HERE.
As told by Realtor.com there are some rules home buyers should follow when looking at a home as well.
1. Get financial pre-approval before looking.
2. Be punctual to the showing.
3. Remove your shoes.
4. Don't bring an entourage.
5. Ask permission before taking photos.
6. Don't linger too long.
7. Avoid excessive multiple visits.
Read the full article HERE.
But what do you do when you have lookers like ours that rummage through your things and take things apart without permission? My answer...CALL YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT. They are there to work for you, including handling a misbehaved potential buyer!
I have read multiple stories where potential buyers have overstepped their etiquette boundaries. You would NOT BELIEVE what some people have done when looking to buy a home. I dare you to google it. You WILL be shocked!
---People have climbed up on the roof to inspect it
---Pooed in the toilet and then forgot to flush...
---Had home inspectors come to the showing with them
---stole homeowners property while looking at the home
My question is, where was the realtor when all this was taking place, and don't they have some rules of etiquette to follow too?
For the first showings of our house we were not home and as mentioned above, the family rummaged through the drawers and cabinets in both bathrooms. I'm thinking that was a little rude. I mean when you are looking at a home that is occupied you shouldn't look through peoples belongings!
Anyway, last week we had three showings....and let me just say that no one...the buyers, sellers (us), or the agents showed proper etiquette according to the lists above. What's more, I really believe those poor choices could have cost us the sell.
We were home for all three showings which was mistake #1. I mean I really knew we should probably not be there but when asking our agent about it beforehand she said it would not make a difference one way or the other if we were there and that staying would be fine. As a matter of fact she said maybe we should stay home because the buyers might want to learn some interesting history about our historic home. So I plead ignorance to breaking the sellers first rule of etiquette. I really wish we would have not been there for any of the showings and I can assure you that we WILL NOT be there for any future showings!!
The first looker last week brought a friend and was there for WAY more than an hour (according to most experts, 30 minutes is the proper amount of time for first looks) oogling everything, looking through everything...which we didn't mind because it made it seem that the buyer was VERY interested...but then right before leaving she made a comment about the kitchen not having room for a dishwasher...I'm assuming that's why no offer has been made. Who knows? Her agent was kind though and really praised our home to her...which I thought was nice. We had NO feedback from our agent whatsoever.
Our second lookers came twice, both times for an hour or more, which we thought was a good sign and that we could possibly get an offer. We kind of thought the deal was in the bag by the second look. Our agent brought them both times and the hubs was home both times but I was not...I'm kinda glad I wasn't there to be truthful.
On their first time through they took a switch plate off the wall to check the wiring but didn't put it back on properly. My husband answered all their questions truthfully and they seemed to really like the house so we didn't mind the light switch ordeal too much. The second time through though we learned that they were interested in another house as well as ours. They brought a pen and paper and did a full inspection of every part of our home...messing with the furnace, a/c, electrical panel, wiring and even caused the line connected to our water filter to leak...we had to replace it the next day...meaning that we had to spend money fixing what they broke. They fiddled with just about everything you can imagine taking notes along the way. We honestly thought that was a little rude as the hubs had already answered all their questions and showed them that everything was in good working condition but we figured it was tolerable because we expected to receive an offer. However, we have not heard hide nor hair since. Did they choose the other house? Are they still thinking about it? I mean shouldn't our agent give us a courtesy call and let us know one way or the other and shouldn't she have told them that inspecting the house that closely before making a deal with the seller is wrong?
Truth be told I feel kind of burned and I'm almost afraid to allow anyone else to come for a showing...I mean are the next ones going to accidentally burn it down while the realtor is looking the other way...and is our agent working for us or not?
With all this in mind I have put together a small list of my own real estate etiquette.
1. Leave the house.
2. Request that the agent follow their clients through your home to make sure they don't take things, rummage through things, damage or dismantle things (it's sad but some people really do need a babysitter).
3. Lock things up that you don't want people looking through.
4. Clean, arrange and organize closets, cabinets and drawers.
5. Ask your agent for feedback and let them know right away if something is damaged.
6. Clean, declutter and stage your home the best you can. First impressions are lasting ones!...and remember to make sure all toilet seats are down!!!
7. Make sure all appliances and things are in proper working order if at all possible.
8. Be patient. It may take more than a few weeks for someone to decide whether or not your home is the one for them...after all it is their biggest and most important investment.
1. Be respectful of other people and their property whether the home is occupied or not. Don't take things apart to see how or if it works. If you have questions ask your agent...and don't bother if you are not serious about buying the home. If you move anything put it back how it was!!!
2. If the owner is home do not mislead them as to how you feel about their home. Keep your opinions, whether good or bad, to yourself.
3. Do not schedule a second, third or other showing unless you are serious about purchasing the home. By the third showing you need to be prepared to make an offer!!
4. Do not ask to see a home if you are not prepared to purchase a home or if you do not have financial backing to do so.
5. Do not do a full thorough inspection of the entire home at a showing...that is what an inspector is for. You will have the opportunity to back out of the deal if a professional inspection shows a major problem.
6. Do not stalk the house. You will have plenty of time to look at it once it yours!
7. Remember that your behavior determines whether or not the seller is going to be willing to make you a good deal on the home.
8. When making an offer, even on a home that needs repairs, be fair and don't insult the seller.
9. The first walk through should take no longer than 30 minutes...less time to get into things!!
1. Keep in contact. Let the buyer or the seller (whoever you are working for) know what is happening with regards to the home they are looking to buy or the home they are selling.
2. Listing agent...please keep up on the listing by making sure it stays on all the major real estate sights. Check periodically. An unlisted home does NOT sell!!!! (Our listing somehow disappeared off all the major sights...I have informed my agent but it is still not showing up...I'm wondering how my house is going to sell if no one knows it's for sale!!)
3. Do not allow lookers to take advantage of or damage a sellers property. Be a babysitter if necessary...people have been and will be naughty!
4. The buyer is not playing for keeps until he puts in an offer please don't let him do a complete and full inspection on a house he has not obligated himself to buy.
5. Check the buyers "credentials" before showing them a house. Are they really ready to buy or are they just being peeping toms. Serious buyers only please!
6. Please do not show a house that you know the buyers will not be interested in because it is not their taste or style. If someone don't want stairs, don't show them a two-story house. Right? Right!!
7. Learn all parts of proper real estate etiquette yourself and teach your buyers and sellers what and what not to do when buying or selling a home...because you know some people just don't know what to do or what's expected of them.
8. Please do NOT bring the lookers early...stay on schedule...the sellers may have a few last minute things to do before the showing and do not want to be caught off guard.
9. Last but not least, lock the place up when you leave.
Regardless of all, the most important thing is that the transaction takes place and that all parties are happy!!!!
Okay, so there is my list. What do you think? Is there something that should be added to it? What have your experiences been when selling or buying a home? Was there some rules of etiquette broken?
I'd love to hear all about it!!! ....and of course I will let you all know when our house finally does sell!