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The 10 Rules of Home Viewing Etiquette

It’s a strange feeling knowing that while you’re at work, complete strangers will be traipsing through your home, looking in your closets and cupboards. That’s what home sellers face when they put their homes on the market and they have some horror stories about buyers who behave badly when nobody is looking. Not about Unity Home Team’s buyers, though. Ours are always well-behaved and courteous.

Whether you’re attending an open house or your agent takes you on a tour of a home, there are basic yet unspoken etiquette rules you should probably know about.

1. No photos without permission

Some people value their privacy and feel that photographing their most personal spaces is an invasion of it. Sure, these folks are few and far between, but it’s always good etiquette to ask the homeowner or your agent if it’s ok to take photos.

2. Look without snooping

There’s just no way you’ll know if the closets and cupboards and even drawers are roomy enough for your belongings without opening them. It’s perfectly acceptable to do so, but resist and temptation to rummage through them. Yes, people do this.  

3. Allow the agent to lead the way

When you attend an open house the agent may lead you around the home or remain behind you. If it’s the latter it’s probably for personal safety reasons. Agent safety classes caution them to never allow a stranger to come between themselves and the exit. With so many episodes of violence against agents over the past few years, it’s understandable that they’re nervous, so don’t take any behavior that seems odd to you the wrong way.

4. Maintain control of your children

Yes, kids jump on beds in homes for sale. They break things, they play with things. They’re just being kids. It’s up to the parents to control them.

5. Leave the Starbucks in the car

Why take a chance you’ll spill it all over the homeowner’s (and maybe yours, if you like the house) carpets?

6. Don’t park in the driveway or block other cars

Some open houses draw more traffic than others so give everyone a break and avoid blocking other cars with yours.

7. Let the agent know if you are working with another agent

This is another tip for visiting open houses. If you’re working with another agent, let the listing agent know that upfront. He or she won’t attempt to solicit your business if you are already represented.

8. Ask before using the bathroom

This is especially important if the home is a fixer or vacant. It’s also just good manners.

9. Funnel all questions through your agent

If you have questions about a home you’ve viewed the right person to ask is your real estate agent, not the homeowner or the listing agent.

10. Be punctual

This one is as important for real estate agents to remember as it is for homebuyers. Sellers go through a great deal of trouble readying the house for showings. If you’re going to be late or you need to cancel, give as much advance notice as possible.


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