An Emily Post Guide to Home Buying Etiquette

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The following is a guest post from Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty agent, Cara Ameer, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

As in life, there is proper decorum for going about many things, and that also includes buying or selling a home.  When looking at homes as a buyer, there are several unwritten rules to follow that will help ensure a smooth and successful experience, no matter what side of the doorway you are on.

Here our tips for buyer etiquette:

  1.  PREAPPROVAL – Get preapproved PRIOR to shopping for a home.  It can be misleading to look at a home you don’t know you qualify for – even if it is just one that you called off the “for sale” sign to see.  Remember that a seller and their agent took some time to prepare for the showing and have a reasonable expectation that the prospects coming through the home are qualified to purchase it.
  2. SCHEDULING – Work with your agent to develop a REALISTIC schedule of homes to see for the day.  If you are the type that likes to take your time when going through a property, let your agent know upfront so they don’t try to cram too much in at once.  On the other hand, if you are able to move through properties quickly, let them know that too.  Trying to see ten homes in one day is realistic, twenty properties?  Maybe not so much. Be respectful of showing time frames and the process involved to look at homes.  Each home is different – you have homes that are occupied, many with pets, children, sellers that work from home, tenant occupied, etc.  Creating a showing itinerary can be a logistical accomplishment in and of itself for an agent trying to navigate through a plethora of different situations and showing instructions.  Some homes require more advance notice than others, special instructions, etc.  Appointments trigger a flurry of communications between agents and offices trying to coordinate all details. When you go looking at homes, follow the schedule that the agent has – upfront communication and confirming the properties you plan to see before appointments are made can hopefully eliminate confusion about what is or is not going to be seen and allows the agent to plan everything out.  Give the selected properties a chance.  Driving up and deciding to nix it before you go inside is not good protocol.  Remember, there is a seller that took time to prepare for the showing and their home should be given an “at bat.”  You never know until you see it and you may need options, particularly in a low inventory market.
  3. VIEWINGS – How long is sufficient for a viewing?  There is no formal rule, but anywhere between    15-30 minutes at the most for a first showing is considered appropriate.  If you only have a few homes, taking longer may be ok, but if you are looking at 10 properties and spending a half hour in each home, it is going to be a long day, and you may not fit it all in.  You can always go back for second look and will likely need to! One to three visits is typically acceptable prior to making an offer.  If you must return for more than that, make sure this is a home you are really seriously considering and there is good reason.  If a buyer comes to the house five times and is never heard from again, that will leave a seller with more questions than answers.  Remember, you will have inspections and will be able to spend more time in the home at that time.  Key things to bring with you on the first visit – a tape measure if you are concerned about room sizes and dimensions of your furniture –  i.e. wall units, dining room table, couches, master bedroom and your tablet computer to take video and notes.
  4. ENTOURAGES – This may be ok in Hollywood, but not when looking at homes.  Try to minimize the “group field trip” effect.  Parents, relatives and friends that are so called “experts” in real estate may have the best of intentions, and while it is good to have extra sets of eyes, you may want to save that once you have narrowed down your choices to your top two or three properties.  Sometimes too many opinions can be confusing, overwhelming and actually distract you from the property search itself.  Remember it is ultimately YOUR decision, unless of course anyone in your entourage is going to be financially involved in the purchase.
  5. COMMENTARY/OPINIONATING – Avoid discussing too much while at the property, particularly out in the open.  You never know where the sellers may be lurking or what the neighbors may be overhearing that could get back to the seller.  And yes, there could be a hidden tape recorder somewhere! Wait until you get to the privacy of your vehicle or that of your agent’s to fully download.

Happy Home Hunting!!

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About sondramsmith

I have a very diverse work history with one common thread and that is customer service and helping people. Helping people to achieve their goals has always been the driving force behind everything that I do. I have worked in the real estate industry for over 12 years. My experience also includes mortgage banking. I have the knowledge and experience that you need in a real estate agent to make your home buying or selling go smoothly. Why choose me to help you? Buying or selling a home is one of the most important decisions a person will have to make in their lifetime. This experience can be daunting unless you are working together with a professional real estate broker who understands the process Purchasing a home is one of the most important investments in a person's life. With my expertise and guidance in the home buying and selling process, I will help find the most appropriate home for you. You can be assured that I am an experienced Real Estate Professional. I will listen to you and will be working with your interests in mind. We will begin your home search by focusing on the location where you want to buy, and the amenities you want in a home. Determine how much square footage you want, how many bedrooms and baths you need, etc. Knowing what you're looking for will not only help you focus your search but will also help me understand your needs so that I can best assist you in the process Let me know what I can do for you now. I look forward to helping you! I am originally from Syracuse New York, lived in Gainesville Florida for the 17 years and I moved to Colorado in 2011. I am wondering what took me so long to get here! Living in Denver CO offers the best of both worlds close to the base of the Rockies and near all that the city of Denver has to offer; skiing, hiking, camping, biking, shopping, world class restaurants along with arts and culture. I have 3 sons the oldest is a Doctor in the Air Force stationed in DC. The next is working as an IT manager for a major company in Colorado, and the youngest is a graphic designer, in Gainesville Florida. Sondra M Smith
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