The rules for in-person etiquette have changed, and it’s important to observe those changes to position yourself as a professional who cares. As the real estate market picks up this summer, expect an increase in showings, and being courteous to the seller and listing agent is important. Remember, showing a home is a privilege, not a right.
15 Common Courtesies to follow during showings:
- TIME LIMIT – Be respectful of the time you have scheduled for a showing. If the property is occupied, the owner may be on their way home. There may also be other agents waiting to see the home after you.
- PETS – Do not let a dog or cat out of the home while you are opening a door. Assume ALL homes have a pet that could run out at any time.
- KNOCK FIRST – Prior to opening a lockbox, always ring the doorbell. The seller may be home and you could startle them by entering unannounced. You should also announce yourself, “REALTOR!” when you walk through the door.
- STAY OFF THE GRASS – Avoid cutting across the grass to get to the front door, always use the walkway.
- KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF – Never adjust the air conditioning or heat in a home. By adjusting or tweaking a system, you may be launching a problem that you were unaware of, such as a leaky cooling unit.
- DON’T OPEN DRAWERS – Never go through a seller’s furnished home, their drawers, their furniture, or refrigerator.
- DON’T SIT ON SELLER’S FURNITURE – It is acceptable to sit in the entertaining areas (kitchen, living room, on barstools) to discuss offer terms, etc. It is never OK to sit on the seller’s bed or to allow children to play with the seller’s children’s toys.
- DON’T TALK PRICE – Never discuss price, value, or likeability of a property when you are in the home. With today’s technology, it’s too easy to be recorded and too many “oohs and aahs” could result in a higher price if you decide to make an offer.
- DON’T USE THE BATHROOM – Unless an emergency, never use the bathroom of an occupied seller’s home.
- TURN OFF THE LIGHTS – Make sure all the lights are turned off when you leave the home.
- LOCK ALL EXTERIOR DOORS – Be sure to double-check all exterior doors before leaving – even doors you may not have opened.
- LEAVE HOME AS YOU FOUND IT – If seller leaves the interior door to the garage unlocked, keep it unlocked. If you open blinds to allow in light, be sure to close them.
- OBEY SELLER WISHES – If a seller has requested no shoes in the house or to give the puppy a treat so they don’t bark, oblige.
- KEEP BUYER PARTY TOGETHER – Make sure parents don’t get separated from their children. If this happens, stay with the children and try to reconnect them with their parents. Children are more likely to go through seller’s belongings than adults. Remember: You are the one responsible for a home while you are showing it.
- ALWAYS CALL – If you’re running late or need to cancel a showing appointment, contact the listing office right away.
NAR’s Pathways to Professionalism
“Respect for Property”
- Be responsible for everyone you allow to enter listed property.
- Never allow buyers to enter listed property unaccompanied.
- When showing property, keep all members of the group together.
- Never allow unaccompanied access to property without permission.
- Enter property only with permission even if you have a lockbox key or combination.
- When the occupant is absent, leave the property as you found it (lights, heating, cooling, drapes, etc.) If you think something is amiss (e.g. vandalism), contact the listing broker immediately.
- Be considerate of the seller’s property. Do not allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke, dispose of trash, use bathing or sleeping facilities, or bring pets. Leave the house as you found it unless instructed otherwise.
- Use sidewalks; if weather is bad, take off shoes and boots inside property.
- Respect sellers’ instructions about photographing or videographing their properties’ interiors or exteriors.