Home Buyer Tips: The Etiquette of Touring an Occupied House
Home buyers’ weekends frequently consist of touring house after house, in search of the perfect one.
Logistically, Realtors® have to juggle their schedules with those of the home seller, the seller’s agent and you. Whenever possible, we arrange showings when the property is vacant or the owners aren’t home. But unfortunately, that’s not always possible.
Do home buyers need to follow a certain code of conduct when touring a home that’s occupied? Do the rules change when the sellers are home during the showing?
Of course you must be able to see all parts of the home. But following a few simple etiquette tips can make the process more comfortable for everyone — and maybe even leave a positive impression on the sellers, should you make an offer.
Home Buyer DO’s When Viewing an Occupied House
Do ask before using the restroom. It’s only polite.
Do feel free to open the closets and take a good look around. Storage space is important, and it’s perfectly acceptable to check out closets, pantries and even kitchen cabinets. But look at the space — not the contents — and move on. If you want dimensions, we can request that information later.
Do request permission before taking photographs. In today’s tech-focused world, some sellers are concerned about having personal possessions and family photos inadvertently end up online.
Most will be gracious about it, but don’t take it personally if the answer is no.
Home Buyer DON’Ts When Touring an Occupied House
If you can put yourself in the seller’s position, it may be easier to see the situation from their perspective and know which behaviors to avoid.
Don’t bring food or beverages into the house while touring, simply because accidents can happen no matter how good your intentions are.
Don’t allow children free access to the home. The house you’re touring may not be child-safe and they may get hurt. This also tends to make sellers and agents nervous, as sellers will look to someone to pay for items that may get broken or damaged.
Don’t sit on the furniture, open dresser drawers or handle personal property for the same reason. If you need to sit for a moment to rest, just ask first if it’s OK.
Finally, avoid discussing the home in front of the sellers, especially if it involves disparaging remarks. Remember, you are talking about their home.
We also recommend that you avoid asking the sellers questions directly, especially if both agents aren’t present. Misunderstandings can often develop in these cases, and some topics are off-limits ethically and legally.
Home Buyers Can Trust Their Realtors® for Advice
The best way to ensure a safe and successful day of touring homes is to follow your professional real estate agent’s lead.
We are experts in assisting home buyers through the entire process of purchasing real estate. And due to our extensive training and continuing education, we are well-versed in the current legal and ethical guidelines of home buying.
The experienced Realtors® of the Edie Israel Team provide a full range of boutique-level services for buyers and sellers in Southern California. Contact us today for answers to all of your home buyer and seller questions.