Home Buyer Etiquette, 6 Things You Must Do

Is there such a thing as buyer etiquette? I say, yes, there is.

I’d like to set the record straight for buyers when I say that there is a good way to behave when setting out to find your new home.

Most buyers think they can just pick up the phone and call a local Realtor without giving one thought to the actual home buying process. The problem also lies with Realtors who run out to meet an unprepared buyer.

Both buyer and Realtor have different motives for behaving the way they do. The buyer just wants to get in to see a home, feeling that if they like it, they can then inquire about the process. And the Realtor, looking for business, will oblige and have the buyer go through the process after they like the home.

So, what then is the problem? Well, the problem is that that type of behavior only winds up hurting the buyer, the Realtor or in many instances both.

What is a buyer to do then? Keep your buyer etiquette in check. The way you can do this is by putting a simple plan together and knowing these 6 simple things:

  • If you see a home that catches your eye, relax, take a deep breath and take down the address and phone number on the sign. Go home and look up the home on Realtor.com to see if you can afford the property. STOP there though. If you are seriously looking, contact a lender to see how much you qualify for. It doesn’t cost anything to get approved. Most buyers do not realize that. You can call your bank or ask a friend or family member if they know a good mortgage consultant. This is an easy process and this does not mean that you must buy a home.  Getting approved will tell you just how much house you can or can’t afford and how much you will need for both closing costs and a down payment. Most buyers get sticker shock when they see just how much they will need for closing costs.

 Once you know exactly how much you can afford, then you are in the position to schedule an appointment to view the home or any home that is within your price range with your buyer agent.

  • Now that you have taken the first step, the next part of good buyer etiquette is knowing when enough is enough. How many homes is enough to see? Seeing 25 homes is not very good buyer etiquette and also just shows your Realtor that you really do not know what you are looking for in your new home. It will also only wind up confusing you and chances are, the home will not be there by the time you decide that you liked home number one after viewing 20 other homes. Viewing approximately 8-10 homes on average is plenty of homes to view.
  • Another form of good buyer etiquette is being able to make up your mind. Seeing a home two times and then requesting your Realtor bring you in to see it a third time so you can get mom and dad in to get their opinion is a definite no, no. Remember, you are buying the home, not mom and dad. Anyone who will be helping you with the decision should be prepared to come view every home with you at the first showing.
  • Lying, misrepresenting or withholding the truth about your entire financial situation is not only bad buyer etiquette but can get you in trouble and put you in default and you could lose your deposit or worse. You will be sued by the seller and possibly criminal charges could be filed against you. Always be truthful.
  • Going out to view new construction homes without telling your Realtor is extremely bad buyer etiquette. So is viewing open houses without your Realtor and talking to “for sale by owner” property owners without your Realtor. Once you hire a Realtor, it is your Realtor’s job to find you a home and to negotiate your sale, so let your Realtor do their job. After all, that is what they are being paid for and talking to other agents, owners or builders behind your Realtor’s back could create legal issues for you so always let your Realtor do all the talking for you.
  • Being late to view homes is not only bad buyer etiquette but is also disrespectful to the home owner as well as your Realtor. If you need to be late, please give enough notice as you would want the same courtesy extended to you.

Etiquette is not the same as manners, mind you. Manners involve general behavior guidelines such as treating elders with respect whereas etiquette is a specific code of behavior. It is important not to confuse the two. Knowing the proper code of behavior as a buyer will make your home buying experience much more pleasant and will show your Realtor that you value their time, advice and representation.

Do you have good buyer etiquette?

Renée Porsia, is an Associate Broker with RE/MAX Action and published Author. Renée Porsia assists home buyers and sellers in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery Counties and on the Main Line.  If you would like to read more articles by Renée Porsia, visit her website at www.reneeporsia.com. To contact Renée Porsia directly call her at  (215) 669-0589 or email her at reneeporsia@mac.com

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