1. Houses belong to someone even when they are on the market. Owners have a right to know who is asking about their home – wouldn’t you want to know? When you contact a real estate agent or call an office be prepared to give some basic information – name, address, phone number, and whether or not you are pre-approved for a mortgage.
2. If you are not pre-approved for a mortgage, don’t be offended if an agent won’t show you a house. Instead, ask who you can contact to get pre-approved. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and agents have a responsibility to show homes only to qualified buyers. If you’re not ready to get pre-approved, then you’re not ready to look at houses!
3. If you go to an open house be prepared to sign-in and give correct information. If you are under contract with a buyer agent make sure you write that on the sign-in sheet. If you don’t want the agent at house to contact you just write please do not contact next to your information. Refusing to sign-in is rude and sets a tone of distrust – what if you really like the house? You’ve already gotten off on the wrong foot. Giving false information is never ok. Remember, you’re in someone’s home!
4. Houses are shown by appointment, so plan aheadIf someone is living there, they need some notice to pick up and get out – very few people can keep their house ready for visitors with a moment’s notice – can you? Even new construction is shown by appointment – there might be workers at the house, etc.
5. Real estate agents have schedules too. It is not realistic to call an agent or an office from in front of a house and expect an agent come right out to meet you. Imagine calling your lawyer, dentist, hair-dresser, plumber, mechanic, financial planner, or anyone else … and expecting on the spot service!
6. The best thing for you is to set up a meeting with an agent at their office(or other convenient location) so you can talk about your needs and get to know each other. Buying a home is a big investment and can take several months – don’t you owe it to yourself to invest an hour upfront?
7. Buying a home involves the whole family, so it’s ok to bring the kids (although, you will certainly be able to focus better without them…) If you bring them, make sure they understand that they are visiting someone’s home. Keep them by your side at all times, especially in new construction where things are unfinished and may be dangerous. It’s for their safety and for the safety of the home-owners possessions – wouldn’t you feel awful if they broke something? And please don’t let them play with the home-owners’ kids toys – they wouldn’t want a stranger playing with their things.
8. Treat the house with respect. Of course you need to look in closets and cabinets, etc. but dresser drawers, medicine cabinets, personal belongings are off limits. Never sit on someone’s bed or use the master bath – sellers know they give up some privacy when their homes are on the market but again, put yourself in their shoes!
9. Relationships are about trust and mutual respect - loyalty matters. If you are under contract with a real estate agent, always contact that agent when you need information. People can get really impatient sometimes or they don’t want to “bother” their agent so they start calling offices or listing agents demanding information or pretending that they are going to be clients
Call your agent – he/she will call you back! If your agent doesn’t return calls and give you the information you need then find another agent. If you can’t stop yourself from calling an office or listing agent directly, make sure that you disclose that you are working with an agent right away and that you would appreciate some information.
10. Golden Rule/Common Sense – as with everything else, if you treat people (real estate agents) and property the way you want to be treated, the home-buying process will be efficient and the transaction will be a lot easier. If you’re not sure what the protocol is, just ask – we’re here to help!