REALTORS - Leave the House the Way You Found It!

Real Estate Agent with Realty One Group 01320915

Now that the Mission Viejo real estate market has turned to a more normal playing ground for buyers and sellers, it appears that some REALTORS need a brush up on etiquette and protocol. This is an invitation to take a seat and jot down some notes – because things are going off the rails in some situations.  These are the rules I’d suggest we local REALTORS all abide by. Are you in?

1 - If it was unlocked when you came in, leave it unlocked. Now that my seller, who will remain nameless, has been locked out of her garage twice in as many showings, she’s texting me with all kinds of emoticons which translate into: “really mad face” and “not happy to have to break in to my own house, again!”

Agents, please heed this public service announcement: The normal and customary thing to do when you show a house is to leave it the way you found it.  If the garage door was unlocked – please don’t lock it.  If the patio door was open, please don’t close it.  If the front door was unlocked, please don’t lock it.  This may mean you need to question your clients, as they may have opened the doors on their own.  Questions like “was this door locked when you opened it?” are always appropriate.  Got it?  Good.

2 - If the lights were on when you got there, leave them on.  You may be surprised to know that there are other REALTORS showing the same house as you, on the same day, at nearly the same time.  The seller has gone to extraordinary lengths to make it “show ready.”  What a concept!

Some sellers are schooled in how to stage their house to sell. They realize that the ambiance they have created to market their home culminates in the “showing appointment” and they have poured their heart and soul into making their house ready to show. Don’t disturb their preparations!  Point out their tireless efforts to your buyers, and leave discretely without touching a single light switch.  Then, go back to your office and write up that offer!

3 - Help Me!  If you see a sagging pillow without the requisite “V” shape, feel free to give it a good karate chop to recover the intended staging effect. Your buyers will be super impressed that you cared enough to give them the very best impression.

4 - If you are going to be late, not come at all, or need to reschedule, please let the seller know ASAP!  Sellers go to great lengths to prepare their home for you and your buyers.  If your plans change, please alert the seller. This way they can un-crate the dogs, release the children’s toys from their secret hostage holding place, and get back to polishing the granite counters, porcelain toilets, stainless steel sinks, and get ready for the next showing.

This blog originally appeared here:

Comments (5)

Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

So True. Just the other day I checked in on one of my vacant listings only to find almost every fan and light on not to mention the back door was completely unlocked as well as the side entry from the outside into the garage!

Oct 11, 2014 07:55 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Leslie Eskildsen - except the fact that some showing instructions insists on shutting off all the lights. Otherwise, sure, don't just touch anything at the showings.

Oct 11, 2014 08:49 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Leslie, it is for that reason that I will make a second key and keep it in the car with me to help a client or even a showing agent that locked the original key in the house.

Oct 11, 2014 09:45 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

     When I find exterior doors unlocked, I call the Listing Agent for advice... unless I have been told that "the Seller will be at the neighbor's house while you are showing", or similar.   I am hesitant to leave an unattended house unlocked. 


Oct 11, 2014 10:06 AM
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Leslie - It's hard to know what was locked, unlocked, or on/off in a home.  I find it helpful if I place specific "Showing Sign Instructions" by light switches, critical door locks, and other showing information so a buyers' agent and their buyers know how to leave a home for the seller, and what to double check so the property is left the way the seller wants it to be left in.  

Oct 16, 2014 04:39 AM