• Buyers should schedule appointments in advance and keep them, tour the outside last, mind any pets and keep track of any children.
  • Sellers should vacate for the showing, make sure walkways are clear, provide appropriate lighting and expect buyers to inspect closets and cabinets.

This article was inspired by a particularly awful week of abuse by buyers and their agents during their viewings of my seller clients’ homes.

The week of bad buyer behavior

The master bedding was left askew. Why?

The master bedding was left askew. Why?

In a single week, my seller clients reported:

  • Their sliding door was left unlocked.
  • Someone used their master bathroom and did not flush.
  • Buyers left the master bedding askew (???).
  • Someone dropped french fries on the carpet in the family room.

And the one that sent me over the edge: A buyer removed handmade, heirloom quilts from this antique chair, dragged it across the room to the closet, and proceeded to stand on it to hoist himself into the attic.

How do we know? He left the chair in the closet and the precious quilts piled on the floor.

The antique chair

The antique chair

My client called in both disbelief and tears.

I don’t typically rant, but I posted in a righteous fit to the culprit and their agent here.

This post prompted a firestorm of comments from my clients, both buyers and sellers, as to the proper protocol during the showing process. It turns out both had a lot to say.

Seller recommendations for buyers

Sellers had the following recommendations for buyers and their agents when viewing homes:

  • Schedule your appointment in advance; at least the day before, if possible.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Please don’t park in the driveway if you have an oil leak.
  • Don’t watch your agent use the code to the lockbox.
  • Please remove your shoes.
  • View the interior first and the exterior last, so if there is another showing behind you, you aren’t holding them up; plus you won’t track dirt back into the house.
  • Watch for pets at the door when entering, and don’t let them out. Don’t pet them, either.
  • Please don’t use the bathroom; use the restroom before the showing. If it’s unavoidable, use the guest lavatory, not the master bathroom.
  • Don’t touch any possessions, collectibles or toys.
  • Carry small children or hold their hand.
  • View the home together. The agent has a duty to accompany you through the house. It is inappropriate to split up and go in different directions.
  • Please don’t sit on the beds.
  • Leave the lights exactly as you found them when you leave.

Buyers should also note that any inspections — for example, the attic, appliances, roof, furnace and so on — are done by professionals after an accepted offer to purchase, not by the buyer during the viewing.

Leaving the seller with a good impression after your viewing could be in your favor if you write an offer.

Buyer recommendations for sellers

On the flip side, buyers had the following recommendations for sellers and their agents:

  • Please vacate for the viewing; your presence is uncomfortable.
  • Please make sure stairs and walkways are clear.
  • Leave the porch light on for safety.
  • Make sure the keys and locks work correctly.
  • Please scoop; buyers will be walking the yard.
  • Please contain your pets, if possible.
  • Make sure there are lights or lamps in every room.
  • Please store your personal items in a dresser drawer.
  • Don’t use overpowering air “fresheners.”
  • If you’re going to play music, it should be at whisper volume.
  • Garage and outbuildings should be accessible.

Sellers should expect the buyer to examine all the rooms and features included in the home during their showing. They will look in the kitchen cabinets, pantry, bathroom vanities, medicine cabinet and closets.

If the refrigerator is included, they will look in there, too.

A word to agents: You are responsible for the home during your showing. If the buyer is taking liberties or being disrespectful, stop them.

You and your clients are guests in this and every other home you view.

The secret to a great showing experience for everyone is respect. How hard is that?

Gwen Daubenmeyer is CEO, Team Leader and Lead Listing Agent at The Integrity Real Estate Team | The Re/Max Collection.

Email Gwen Daubenmeyer

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription