- 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.
The week of bad buyer behavior
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.
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.