Whether its your first home purchase or your tenth...a lot has changed through the years in terms of showing houses.
These are my "go to" tips for all my buyer clients when viewing homes:
1. Most sellers do like to leave for showings. However, with apps and software like RING doorbells and security cams, some sellers do like to watch and listen to the potential buyers (and agents) as they walk through the home. Sometimes we can see the cameras, but sometimes we can't tell. Try to keep your comments brief until we leave the home.
2. Its a basic courtesy to remove your shoes or use shoe covers (booties) when entering another person's home. Even if the home isn't as clean as you like your own residence, its good business to be respectful of the seller and their home. If you are viewing a foreclosure or fixer upper, I always tell people don't wear your Sunday best--- especially when homes are advertised of needing work.
3. No smoking. If you smoke in your current home, its best to be respectful of being in someone else's home. Even if they have ashtrays around, it is not okay to smoke in another home during a viewing. Keep it outside.
4. It is okay to open closets and cabinets/pantry doors. You are looking at the home to visualize if its a right fit for you. It is not okay to open dresser drawers or browse through the clothes in the closet.
5. It is okay to run the water in the kitchen or bathroom sinks, as long as the water is on and functioning.
6. Bathrooms are tricky. I usually ask my clients to hold off on using the bathrooms unless its an emergency. You never know when there might be an issue come up, like a clogged toilet. However, sometimes this can't be helped, especially if a child is present. If possible, try to stop along the way during the home tour at a gas station or McDonalds. If you must use the bathroom, leave it as you found it.
7. Children always want to play with toys and jump on beds. Unfortunately, its best to leave even the best behaved children at home when touring. Many parents find themselves spending more time worrying about if their child is behaving than focusing on the potential of the home. If you do bring children, try to have a toy or something to occupy their time, as it can be a boring process for them, too. Stopping for a snack at a rest stop or gas station is a great reward along the way.
8. Some sellers will leave notes, snacks, or freshly baked cookies out for their potential buyers. If a seller does leave out snacks, help yourself. Notes are to be read at the house, but not taken with.
9. If a seller is at home during a showing, please don't try to negotiate a price verbally. Leave the negotiating to your agent (ME!). Besides, you don't want to seem too pushy or make the seller feel uncomfortable about being present.
10. If a seller is home, don't feel like you have to rush. Most buyers like to rush through the house if someone is home, because they feel uneasy and uncomfortable with the seller there. Its best to just keep your comments to yourself and take your time.
11. Don't judge a book by its cover: common use and replacement items are the #1 negative feedback I get from buyers on why they didn't like a home. Common items that shouldn't weigh too heavily (but tend to) are things you will want to replace with time anyway: carpet, paint, flooring, appliances, and light fixtures. A lot of these items are trendy and end up getting replaced every 8-15 years as looks and wear progress. Don't exclude a home solely because its a bit dated. Even a new home will be dated in 10 years.
12. Have fun! Buying a home shouldn't be too stressful. There is no right number when it comes to home many homes you should see before picking and making an offer. Some people find their perfect home on home #1, #3, or #23.
13. Finally-- a home is only worth what you are willing to pay for it. If you like a home but think its overpriced, don't let that stop you from making an offer based on what you think is a fair price. You never know what the lowest price a seller would be willing to sell their home for. Plus, price isn't the only factor in determining a good offer. Other things a seller looks at: possession (how long they may retain living there after closing), type of financing/cash, how much a buyer is putting down, how soon you can close, and if you want any appliances or other personal property.
If you are looking to buy a home in Northwest Indiana, call Lisa Wozniakowski at 219-281-2560.