As most people know, the real estate market shifts between a buyers' or sellers' market, depending on supply and demand. However, regardless of which market we're currently in, buyer etiquette can help you get the home you want with the least amount of stress.
It may sound odd to some, especially first-time homebuyers, but manners matter when it comes to the real estate transaction. I'm not talking about "Please" and "Thank you." So, what exactly does this mean?
Buyer etiquette is not only about doing the things that are vital to helping sales go through but it's also about general manners like being on time for your viewing of a home, being prepared with your financial documents, and being responsive when requests for documents, signatures, or answers are needed from your real estate professionals.
This isn't about lecturing buyers about minding their manners; rather, think of this as the inside tips to helping land the home you really want. For instance, sometimes, being late for a viewing of a listing could cause you to lose that particular home. In a really hot real estate market, if you're late or you don't show up for the listing, you might not get a second chance - the home could be sold.
Another consideration is to be aware of how much time you need to view a home. If you try to see too many homes in one day, chances are you're not going to treat each home with the same respect. The first homes might get lots of attention by you in terms of time and what you notice.
However, by the time you're on, say, 15th home of the day, you might be so tired that you blaze through it barely giving this last home the attention it deserves. You'll end up wasting your time and potentially making a poor choice because you were worn out when you viewed it. Instead, you may have to return to the last few homes you viewed that day. While it's often expected to return to a home you're very interested in, it's time-consuming to have to return to several homes simply because you weren't able to focus or pay attention in great detail.
One of the most important etiquette tips is to make sure that you've been pre-approved and are a serious buyer, ready to take action should you find the right home. Shopping for homes is serious business. It's likely the largest monetary transaction you'll make; being financially and emotionally prepared is good etiquette and will help expedite the process.
When viewing a home, if the sellers are present (sometimes this happens), don't share your likes or dislikes about the home with them. Be courteous and keep the conversation to a minimum with the sellers. You want to make sure you leave the negotiation process to your experienced real estate agent. If you have questions about the home, be sure to take good notes and consult with your agent.
Your agent is the liaison for good reason. The agent is experienced and knows how to find out the information you need without undermining your bargaining position. Polite conversation with the sellers is appropriate if the opportunity occurs. And, if the house isn't right for you from the moment you set foot in it, at least give it a quick walk-through, just to be absolutely certain.
Good manners when house hunting is about more than just having people like you. It could be the potential development of a successful real estate transaction. Good will during that process helps keep things moving along at a steady pace and possibly with a better outcome than if the sellers were selling to a buyer they really didn't like.
Written by Phoebe Chongchua