Looking for a home can be a tedious process, and if you’ve been to multiple showings and in and out of open houses – and, especially, if you’ve been outbid on one or more homes you were counting on – you might be starting to lose your cool.
On the flip side, if you’ve ever sold a home, you’re probably well aware of the grueling process of cleaning up after folks who’ve been stomping through your home, leaving their mess and their footprints and their bad manners behind. So, don’t be like them. Check your muddy shoes at the door, but bring your etiquette inside. Need more details about the do’s and don’ts of touring homes? Read on.
Wipe your feet
Or, better yet, remove your shoes. Remember that the sellers have presumably gone to great links to clean and stage their home, which probably means freshly shampooed carpets. Your muddy footprints will not be received well.
Don’t leave a present behind
If you must use the restroom while touring homes for sale, make sure you do a few things first:
In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s OK to use the bathroom if you absolutely can’t wait, but asking the host first can avoid embarrassment.
Check that the plumbing is working – If it’s a vacant or brand-new house, that might not be the case.
Look for toilet paper – You don’t want to be left in a drip-dry situation.
Flush! – Sounds like a given, but you’d be surprised.
Clean up after yourself – Just because you don’t lift the seat at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t here. And if you just can’t bring yourself to do it, wipe up the seat when you’re done. Come on. You know this.
Yeah, it happens. More than you might think. If your moral compass isn’t enough to keep you from getting sticky fingers in an open house, consider this: More and more houses now have security cameras that will undoubtedly catch you in the act.
Keep your hands off the meds
Yes, this would seem to be a given as well. But prescription medication is a temptation for some visitors. In some cases, “fake buyers” tour homes for sale with the express purpose of stealing. In fact, the most commonly stolen item is prescription medicine, followed closely by jewelry and small electronics during home showings.
Home sellers who don’t secure valuables and medications are “just asking for it,” according to some housing experts. But that doesn’t mean you have to answer. That goes for medications you may consider harmless, like Tylenol or Tums, too. Sellers probably can’t keep people from looking in their medicine cabinet, because: storage. But touching their stuff is another story. When all else fails, remember the Golden Rule, and do unto others.
Don’t rifle through the homeowners’ things
Speaking of opening medicine cabinets…Is it acceptable to open and look inside closets and kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers? Absolutely. But going through dresser drawers, nightstands, and other private spaces that have zero relevance when it comes to purchasing the home – not so much. Remember, you’re looking at the storage space, not casing the place. You can be curious all day. But acting on that curiosity is uncool.
Be careful where you sit
Avoid sitting on the furniture. It might not be real. Growing numbers of Realtors are using cardboard or inflatable furniture to decorate empty rooms. Messing up a newly made bed or smooshing perfectly placed pillows takes away from the staging, so, if you do have a seat on the furniture, it’s good form to fluff it up again before you leave.
Don’t disregard special requests
Is it frustrating that you can’t get into the third bedroom because the seller’s kitty is locked up in there during the showing? Sure. Do you want to be responsible for the cat escaping and getting hit by a car because you ignored the note that says, “Cat in here, please don’t enter?” Nope. If you’re really interested in the home and not seeing that room is a deal breaker, you can always set up a second visit.
Keep an eye your kids
You may be tempted to let them run off and see their potential bedrooms, but if they’re out of eyesight and earshot, they could potentially be doing damage to the house, or getting injured. You don’t want to create a situation where there’s liability involved…especially when you’re trying to buy a house! Realtor.com recommends letting the listing agent know if you plan to bring your kids so they can help you navigate any potential hazards.