The Do’s and Don’ts of Showing Homes: Etiquette & Best Practices

Sunday Signal

Here are a few things sellers, buyers and Realtors should know:

Dirty and stinky homes won’t get the highest price. In fact it’s almost an invitation for low-ball offers, or the buyers will immediately leave, telling their Realtor, “Next!” If you have pets have them secured away, and as needed, post warning signs if you have pets.

Availability to show can be an important aspect

Sellers and buyers have schedules. Homes that are easy to show get a higher price than homes that have a lot of showing restrictions, in general. Laying out some small water bottles is a nice touch, especially in hot and dry weather. It’s best if the sellers aren’t there when the Realtor is showing the home to buyers. If the seller is there, the buyer will feel like an intruder and want to leave as quickly as possible.

You want the buyer to feel that they’re welcome and comfortable in the home. Hide, secure, or pre-pack valuables, collections, and medications. Finally, ensure nearby parking for easy showing and move your car if necessary.

Buyers should always be pre-approved

Looking at homes outside of the pre-approved range wastes everyone’s time. Many sellers have restrictions on showing, such as “Shown By Appointment Only,” or one, two or 12 or more hours advance notice needed.

Try to give enough time to your Realtor to set up an appointment. Once you have set an appointment, be there on time. If there are multiple homes being shown, it’s sometimes difficult to stay on the scheduled appointment times, but both the buyers and the Realtor® should do their best. The seller may request that you remove shoes before seeing the home and may not have booties available.

Buyers should refrain from bringing a big entourage to see homes.

It’s best to not bring the children while seeing homes, that’s not always possible. If there are children, it is the parents’ duty to instruct them that they are visitors to the home, and that the family group needs to stay together. Children shouldn’t wander off unsupervised.

Finally, while opening closets and cabinets are things buyers can legitimately do, touching or handling personal items belonging to the seller are not acceptable. Ignore the sellers’ ‘stuff’, however cute (or ugly) it may be. They will be taking all that with them when they move out. A couple of other things… Ask permission before taking photos or video, since there may be privacy or personal issues. Finally, don’t linger too long. Remember, the seller may have left out of consideration for you… please show the same consideration for them. Your behavior can sway sellers to bestow their precious =home on you—or pass you up for someone nicer or way less annoying.

Realtors have their own set of obligations when showing homes.

Appointments are often required to show occupied homes, and there may be special instructions made by the listing agent or the seller.

If appointments need to be cancelled, or there is a significant delay or change, notice is always appreciated. In addition, just because a home has a lockbox, it is not an open invitation to just show up and go into the home.

Realtors unlock doors and turn on lights for buyers, but just as important is making sure all doors are locked and lights are off when you leave. If you open blinds to let in more light, leave them as you found them. In addition, due to changes in technology, caution your buyers that the homes may have cameras and/or microphones anywhere on the property, and it is a good idea to be on good behavior, keep children under control and hold any negative comments or redecorating ideas for later.

Ray “the Realtor” Kutylo is the team leader of the SCV Home Team at Keller Williams VIP Properties. The Team brings experienced and professional service, commitment and value to every transaction, whether you are a home buyer or seller. Ray can be reached at (661) 312-9461 or by email at [email protected]. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of The Signal. CA DRE 00918855

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