10 Important Rules to Follow When Shopping for a Home

10 Important Rules to Follow When Shopping for a Home

Shopping for a Home

When you are shopping for a home, there are some things to take into consideration. It is a very exciting time for a home buyer to begin their home search, and to help the buyer understand the home buying process. There are home buying rules and etiquette which need to be followed and adhered to when searching for a home. Whether you have scheduled appointments with your agent or open houses, these are important rules to follow when going through the home buying process!

Love Your Realtor – Don’t Call Other Agents

If a buyer has obtained their own representation, then that Realtor needs to be the contact person for the buyer. It is very easy in today’s times to search the internet and find a home. And then that buyer might think they are being helpful by calling the listing agent or another agent who also has that listing on their site. Leave the scheduling of appointments and contacting other Realtors up to the agent who was hired to represent the buyer.

This is Not a Family Affair

This reminds me of that song It’s a Family Affair by Sly and the Family Stone! When a buyer is shopping for a home, it is important to be timely and expedient with appointments and touring a property. It is understandable as many home buyers do have small children with them. If appointments can be scheduled when childcare is available for the children is desirable as this allows the buyer will be able to fully concentrate on the property they are viewing as opposed to taking care of the little ones. Buying a home is one of the single largest investment a buyer will make, and being able to fully concentrate so that all aspects of the property can be viewed and evaluated if a home is right for a buyer or not.

Do not play Hide and Go Seek

No Hide and Go Seek

If it is not possible to have childcare when a buyer is touring a property and shopping for a home, then it is important to be respectful of the seller and their property. Keep small children close by and not running around and hiding in the home. Having the buyer and their family stay together is easier and less stressful for not only the listing agent but the buyer’s agent as well.

I have had situations when a large family comes into a home, and they scatter.  Literally! Be respectful and be sure to keep everyone together so that the agent can answer any questions without being distracted when children may be playing hide and seek in another part of the home!

Touring a home is a seller’s property and they may have many possessions that they are concerned about and the Realtor does not want to be concerned with broken valuables or a child putting a finger in a bird cage if they are not being supervised.

Leave the Chips in the Car

Keep in mind a buyer is touring another person’s home. This is not the time to bring their entire lunch and assume it is acceptable to eat that lunch in the home

I have had experience with this as well, where the buyer thinks the children will eat in the kitchen while they walk around the home. NO!

It is an uncomfortable situation for the listing agent, as they end up being the “bad guy” and the one who is going to enforce the rules. No food in the home . . . period! This is not unrealistic and unpolite to a seller that children can be walking around and risk they will spill something on the seller’s either new carpet or newly cleaned carpet!

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No Jumping on the Bed

This might be an exaggeration (well maybe it is not), however, if the buyer has control of the wee ones, then it is unlikely that this will happen. It is not unusual to see buyers sitting down either on a bed or a seller’s furniture. This is a tour of a home, not a social gathering.

The last thing a buyer should do when taking a tour of a home is to make themselves comfortable and take a seat on a bed, chair, couch or another piece of furniture. The reasons for this is because if the home is staged, then the furniture may not even be real, the bed might be two moving boxes pushed together or an air mattress. Sitting on the furniture might cause someone to land on the floor!

Respect is paramount when shopping for a home! Even if the property is not staged, no seller wants strangers to be sitting on their furnishings!

Another consideration, if there is a basket with booties and a sign instructing the buyer to utilize the booties, please do so.

No Jumping on Bed

There are many sellers who do not want buyers traipsing through their home with their shoes on. If there are rules, it is important to follow them, and the buyer’s agent should also be following the rules when shopping for a home!

If You Have to Go – Hold it!

This happens ALL THE TIME! When a buyer is touring homes, if you are meeting an agent at an office, then use the facilities there before you begin your tour.  A buyer or stranger should not be utilizing a seller’s toilet. Now in addition to having a stranger sitting on a seller’s couch, they are using the bathroom too? I know I personally would be cleaning daily if that were the case!

Keep in mind when touring the homes to try to stop in neutral places to use the facilities in those locations in lieu of asking the buyer’s agent or listing agent to utilize the facilities. There are many coffee shops such as Starbucks that can be scheduled along the home tour. If a buyer’s agent is preparing a long buyer tour, then that tour should have scheduled stops to allow for comfort of the buyers and their family. If at all possible, try NOT to utilize the facilities at a seller’s home as it can create an uncomfortable situation for the listing agent.

Another consideration is the water might be turned off at a property, especially if the property is vacant, so then it is even more important to not utilize the toilets in those situations.

Don’t Say Cheese – It’s not a Photo Shoot

Every single home buyer (I think every single one unless someone has a flip phone) has a camera attached to their phone. If a buyer wants to take photos of a listing, then ASK.  When I am touring a home and on a broker preview, I will ask the listing agent’s permission if I can take photos. The seller may have requested that photos not be taken from outside parties, and this request needs to be respected!

Ideally, a seller has removed anything they don’t want to have photographed prior to listing their home for sale. Again, exercising some common sense as no one wants to expose a seller to potential theft!

Tick Tock!

Buyers need to be punctual when they are touring homes. Unless a home is vacant, an appointment has been scheduled and the seller has left the home to be available to be shown. Sellers do understand that homes need to be shown in order to sell them! Showing up on time or even early is preferred. A seller may even have a pet they have to take out of the home to ensure proper showings, and they may be walking around the neighborhood waiting for the showing to finish!

Being timely allows subsequent showings to be on time and adhere to a schedule!

No Pet Accessories or the Pets Either

Buyers might show up with their pet accessories and their pets INSIDE them and want to bring them into a property. Now . . . let’s consider if the seller already has a pet, and someone is bringing another pet inside the property? Even if the buyer is carrying around the animal, the animal or dog who already resides in the home will be able to smell the pet and could result in undesirable behavior.

Keep your pets at home! Again, I have had this situation, people show up with their dogs and want to come inside. I offer to hold their animal outside. Consider if the seller is highly allergic to pets and pet dander, then bringing an animal into that home is not recommended.

I have turned away people who show up with pets and want to either leave them outside unattended or bring them in, which again makes the listing agent the “bad guy”.

Shopping for a HomeThe listing agent represents the seller and this may be completely unacceptable to the seller.

If the buyer has a service animal, then arrangements and disclosure will need to be provided.

Tire Kicking

No one wants to show a home to a looky-loo! It is understandable that a potential buyer or future buyer wants to see a home, but they should not be disappointed if the listing agent qualifies them before opening the property to them. The listing agent is doing their job and not allowing just anyone to walk through the home. A buyers agent does not want to waste time “opening” a house for a buyer to see that they are clearly not qualified for.

Final Thoughts

Buying a home is a very exciting time and there are steps for a buyer to consider. Being sure to be respectful of the seller’s property at all times is paramount with the purchase of a home. If at all possible, a buyer should prepare to view homes and arranging childcare is just one of the steps. And making sure a buyer is not bringing a pet into another’s home is appreciated by all. Consider these tips for home buying from scheduling home tours and appropriate behavior in a seller’s home.

Find Other Valuable Resources for “10 Rules to Follow When Shopping for a Home” from Real Estate Professionals Across the Country. Please check out the articles below, and please share across Social Media if you enjoyed the articles.

Home Buying Etiquette 101 via Michelle Gibson, Wellington Home Team

What Not to Do When Buying a Home via Bill Gassett, Maximum Real Estate Exposure

13 Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid via Luke Skar, Inlanta Mortgage

Home Buying Pitfalls via Lynn Pineda, Imagine Your House

Yes Strangers Will Pee in Your Toilet via Conor MacEvilly, Seattle Home Search

About the Author

The above real estate article “10 Rules to Follow When Shopping for a Home was written by Sharon Paxson of Newport Beach Real Estate. With experience since 2005 representing sellers, buyers, and landlords with their real estate transactions, we welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise and guide you through the home buying or selling process.

We service the following Orange County CA areas: Corona del Mar, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Orange, Santa Ana, Sunset Beach, Tustin and more! If you are considering selling your home, we welcome the opportunity to work with you and list your home with a top Newport Beach CA Realtor.


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Sharon Paxson is a full-time REALTOR® with EQTY | Forbes Global Properties and has been specializing in residential real estate throughout the Newport Beach area since 2005 assisting Buyer’s, Seller’s, Landlords, and Tenants with their real estate needs.

If you are thinking about buying, selling or renting your home, condo or other Real Estate in the following areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Corona del Mar, Huntington Beach there are thousands of Realtors to choose from. However, it doesn't cost you any more to work with a top Newport Beach CA Realtor. We welcome the opportunity to show you how we get outstanding real estate results with specific and targeted marketing. If you are looking for a top real estate agent who will make a difference you have come to the right place. Use this real estate website to learn about communities and homes for sale.


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