House hunting is an exciting experience: you are looking for a new place to fulfill your dreams and get a fresh start. You can get a new vacation home, an apartment in the city, a charming cottage in the woods. So many possibilities await, and your options are nearly endless. However, there are some rules for buyers to follow during this process – dos and don’ts of house hunting etiquette. Because looking for real estate requires a lot of time and attention, it’s easier to have a guideline along the way. We have prepared advice to help make your house hunting go as smoothly as possible.
House hunting etiquette: Dos for buyers
Do: Make an appointment
As a buyer, you can do a large portion of the house hunting online nowadays – there are mobile searches for properties, online bookings, etc. On the other hand, the owners and agents have their hands full when selling a house. It can get hectic, and it takes a lot of work to set up the place, so it’s essential to make an appointment at least a day in advance and stick to it. This gives them enough time to prepare the home and organize everything, which allows a better house viewing experience for you as a buyer.
Do: Research the neighborhood
As for the location you are going to, it’s best that the viewing isn’t your first encounter with the neighborhood. Visit the parts of the city where you will be looking for a home. Make sure you can imagine yourself settling down in the area. Estimate the distance from work, kindergarten, school, family, and friends. Look at the infrastructure and take a walk. You will want to be a good neighbor and meet the people next door after your relocation, so it’s great to pay attention to that, as well.
Do: Prepare a list of home requirements
A list of your wants and needs for the new home will make your search go much easier and faster. Not only will it save you time, but it will also help you stick to your budget. Before you start house hunting, you should also look into home loan requirements and have a set plan.
Do: Watch the time
Most agents recommend that buyers shouldn’t look at more than three places in one day. House hunting is tiring and requires full attention, so you need to plan accordingly. You will want to take enough time to explore your choices – it’s best to move all other commitments to another period. It would be ideal to view the home in daylight, without any rush, and look carefully at each property. Everybody respects punctuality, so showing up on time is crucial for a good impression on the owners or an agent.
Do: Be ready to take your shoes off
Taking your shoes off won’t be a requirement everywhere, but it’s good to come prepared for that possibility. Agents and sellers often put a lot of work into keeping the flooring and the carpeting clean, especially if the house has lighter carpets. We suggest wearing slip-on shoes and socks – something that’s easy to take off but also hygienic.
House hunting etiquette: Don’ts for buyers
Don’t: Cancel last minute
As we mentioned before, making an appointment and being on time is an essential detail when it comes to house hunting etiquette. Respecting an agreement and the time and work sellers and agents put into making the viewing possible displays that you are a serious buyer. It’s never polite to cancel last minute, especially in such a situation. If something comes up and you are unable to show up, you should notify the other party at least 24h in advance.
Don’t: Take children along
When you are looking at a home for the first time, you will want to pay attention to every detail, which requires minimizing the distractions. Kids, primarily when little, don’t find house hunting entertaining when it takes longer and occupies the parents’ full attention. You will need to make sure that they don’t touch or break anything, that they are not too loud, etc. That’s why it’s a good idea to leave them home for the first viewing and bring them along next time to get their opinion on the house.
Don’t: Bring food
Bringing food while house hunting is a big no-no. It is best to leave the snacks and drinks in your car to avoid the risk of leaving a permanent mark on the furniture or the carpets and The selling table. Sellers or agents often provide water and dry snacks for the buyers, which should be more than sufficient while you view the home.
Don’t: Use the restroom
Another essential rule to follow while looking for a new home is to avoid using the restroom in the house. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, it’s best to wait until you’re done with the viewing. Many people are not very comfortable with strangers using their bathrooms. However, you can ask to check the plumbing and let the sinks run for a bit to ensure everything is in order.
Don’t: Comment on the home in front of the owners
A house viewing is not the right place to comment on the flaws or negotiate, especially if it’s your first meeting with the owners or agents. This should be handled separately. Make sure to keep all the likes and dislikes to yourself, at least until you are out the front door. If the seller overhears something and gets offended, that could represent a disadvantage in a case such as multiple offers situation.
As with everything, there are some rules in house hunting etiquette that buyers should follow in order to have a successful hunting adventure. The essence, though, the most important thing to remember is to be polite and respectful. Happy hunting!
Meta description: We have prepared a list of Dos and Don’ts to make your house viewing an easy journey. It’s important to follow the rules of house hunting etiquette.