These are not in any particular order because they are all important:
1. Always REMEMBER that you're a guest in someone else's home. Don't think that because they are offering the home for sale, that you can do anything you want in it and that they have to put up with you. It is in your best interest not to tick the seller off because if it comes down to negotiating a deal, she will remember how you treated her and her home. Look at it this way. If you are at Walmart buying a coffee maker, you study the package, make a decision based on the information given you and buy it on the faith it will be a good coffee maker. Just try opening the package and making a pot of coffee, to check it out, right there in the appliance section of the store and see how that goes over.
|Bob's House Pencil 8 x 10|
3. Ask, ask, ask, before you do anything. Certainly you need to know--in a general way--the size of the closets or maybe what the inside of the cabinets look like or even the inside of the refrigerator, but anything beyond a quick glance into personal spaces on the first visit is inappropriate.You don't need to see how clean the oven is. If you want to check things out further ask the home owner if it is OK. REMEMBER that the home owner filled out a seller's disclosure of any problems with the house-- take it on face value. REMEMBER that it is doubtful that you will make an offer on a first visit. If the house makes your short list then when you go back you can flush toilets, check crawl spaces and measure closets, but only after you ask the homeowner for permission. Ask before taking pictures. Also REMEMBER that before you get to closing there will be an inspection by a professional; anything awry with the house will show up then, so it is not really necessary to do a thorough inspection yourself unless you get a kick out doing such things. But ask first. This goes back to Rule Number One-- you don't want to get into a bad place with someone you might have to negotiate with. That's plain dumb,
4. You don't have to look for flaws as an excuse not to buy the home; if you are not interested just say thank you and leave. A young woman viewed my house and was excited about it and wanted come back with her parents. I could tell by the look on dad's face when he arrived he was not impressed with the place and after they spent a long time downstairs he came up and told me the toilet ran slow and asked if I had plumbing problems. I told him the house had no plumbing problems; the toilet was just old. He said he thought I had roots in the sewer line, and I told him that we treated the lines regularly that they were fine. He told his daughter's agent (who never showed this house to anyone else again.) that I had plumbing problems, who related that to my agent who was very concerned. My son had to install a new toilet, on his nickel, to prove there was nothing wrong with the lines. Don't make trouble for the homeowner or almost call her a liar. If you don't want the house move on.
|Home of Canadian Artist Emily Carr in Victoria BC|
6. If it is muddy out offer to remove your shoes. Or at least wipe your feet on the rug provided.
7. Show up. The seller went to a lot of effort to make the house presentable, so you can at least look at it, even if you're pretty sure that you want the cute little cottage on the corner. And be on time. If you have an unavoidable conflict make sure your agent calls the home-owner.
8. You are looking at the house, not the peoples stuff. Some people are minimalists, some absolutely love nick-knacks and others are clutter bugs so just look at the house. There was a time when a seller was expected to "stage" the home so the buyers just can see the house as theirs. That was OK if you sell within a few mouths but in a bad economy where houses remain on the market for years, it is unreasonable to expect the homeowner to stage it to your liking. I had stuff packed in the shed for two years that I needed in the house because well meaning people told me I must put my personal things away; my agent never asked me to do that. I don't intend to do that again. Just look at the house.
9. If you have to use the restroom, hold it until you get somewhere else. I came home after a showing and found large muddy footprints (see number 6) leading through the house and into the bathroom where the toilet seat was up. That is not cool.
10. Leave your entourage at home on the first visit, certainly two or three people looking at the house is appropriate, but not all the kids and grandma too. Don't make the homeowner clean up foot prints and finger prints after you're gone. And kids touch things. If you want to come back for a second look, I suggest that you bring those people who weren't there in the first visit.
11. Use my agent. Some people act like agents are greedy ogres, but they earn their commissions. They have access to resources such as MLS listings on the internet, real estate magazines and agent showings. They do all the paper work too. If you like doing all that stuff and want to sell your house yourself, that is fine, but to see my house, use my agent.
12. Use my agent. Don't show up in my yard out of the blue and want to see the house on the side. I don't know you from a tweaker, so I am not going to let you in the house. Call the number on the sign. Oh, that's another reason I have an agent, to screen lookers.
|Snowy Day Pencil 8 x 10|
These rules are also for agents, too, plus I have a special note for them: Dear agents, I do realize sometimes you set up showings in such a way that you are building up to the prize--the expensive home on Knob Hill-- and my home is not the one you really want to sell but don't be so obvious about it. Ms S from REMAX was in my home for about a minute when she asked me what it was like downstairs. I was too stunned reply properly and then she said, "This is not the right place for them anyway," and they left without going past the living room. Listen Ms S from REMAX, you should have taken your happy butt downstairs and at least ACTED like you were trying to sell my house. I remember you and you won't be in my house again if I can help it.
So there you are. And if you can't remember those, remember these three--1.
Respect, 2. Courtesy and 3. Do unto others.
Happy House Hunting!