Home Showing Etiquette: Answers to the Questions You Don’t Want to Ask
There’s a lot of information out there for buyers and sellers who want to view homes regarding what they should and shouldn’t do. But, what about agents? Even though there seems to be an unofficial rule book that dictates how sellers and buyer agents should behave when showing homes, there are some fine lines that could be crossed if things are not approached in the right way. If you’re ever wondering what this fine line is, then we’re here to answer some of those questions about home showing etiquette.
Do I Have to Get Dressed Up?
A real estate professional should always look, well, professional. There is a lot to say about someone who presents themselves in a certain manner. Even though you’re technically “out of office” when you’re doing a home showing, you’re still very much at work. You may certainly put more effort into your outfit when you’re meeting new clients versus clients that you’ve been working with for a long time. But, you should always wear something comfortable or keep a change of clothes in the car in case you need to run to a showing after hitting the gym or running errands.
Should I Take My Shoes Off?
If the sellers are home and you’re wondering whether or not you should take your shoes off, just ask! In some circumstances, taking your shoes off can be unprofessional, while keeping them on is just plain rude. A good rule of thumb is if they aren’t home, then keep your shoes on (unless they explicitly ask you to take them off). Otherwise, if they are home, ask what they’d prefer.
Can I Turn on The TV?
This one has been asked by members of Lab Coat Agents. When you’re showing a home – especially during an open house at the seller’s place – is it okay to turn the TV on? The answer is, in most cases, yes. The rule, though, is that it should be something relevant to the people that are coming to see the home, not be too noisy or disruptive, and you should not be sitting in front of the screen so engaged that you aren’t doing your job.
For instance, turning on the news or a football game would probably be okay, but turning on a rated-R movie or something of that nature would not. Viewer discretion is advised!
Can I Bring My Child?
This is a tricky one. While some people say it’s totally okay to bring children to an open house or a showing, others are adamant about keeping the kids at home. But, this really depends on a lot of different factors. In some cases, children work well with their parents, can be helpful, and even throw in a “cute” factor that can be intriguing to clients, especially those that have small children or are looking for a home to raise their family in. If you feel that your children are going to be more of a distraction than an aid, then consider finding someone to watch them.
Can I Talk to the Other Party?
According to “Zing!” by Quicken Loans, listing agents are the “spy for the seller.” Now, if you’re the listing agent, you’ll probably want to talk to the buyer’s agent as much as you can to gauge where this is going. But, if you’re on the other side, then you’ll want to avoid talking to the listing agent as much as possible. Negotiations are not for home showings, and neither are too many complaints about the home by the buyers (something you should discuss with them).
This can be hard to avoid, though, if you have an outgoing personality or you’re friendly with the other party. But, remember – business is business. If you want to chat, then make sure the conversation has to do with the weather or the local sports team instead of the home in question.
Can I Use the Bathroom?
Typically, sellers do not want people using their bathrooms as it can create a bit of an annoyance for them to deal with when they come home. That being said, some people need the bathroom regardless, and that person may be you. If you’re only going to be at the home briefly, try to use the bathroom somewhere else before. Otherwise, consider it an emergency-only situation.
Can I Eat?
This one is similar to the bathroom rule. If you can eat before or after you come to the house, then you should. It goes without saying that you should not be eating at all during a one-on-one showing. But, if you’re at an open house all day and it falls on your lunch hour, then feel free to eat your packed lunch. Just try to do this at a time when there are no visitors, and pack something that’s not messy, easy to eat and easy to clean-up, and does not have any scents that could be bothersome to people.
Can I Answer a Phone Call?
Real estate agents are busy people, typically juggling many clients and tasks at once. Therefore, it’s not unheard of that an agent may need to take a call even at what can be perceived as inconvenient times. Your phone – if you’re not expecting a call – should always be on silent or at least vibrate. Otherwise, if you have an urgent matter that you may need to attend to, tell your client during the home showing upfront that you may have an important call coming in that you’ll have to take.
Depending on how you go about this, this could be an opportunity for you to demonstrate to the client that you’re professional, communicative, and always there for your clients. But, it can also be a chance to ruin your reputation with your new ones. So, tread lightly, use your judgement, and do what you need to do – as long as you handle it in the right way.