As a first time home buyer, you probably aren’t used to the process of touring a bunch of strangers’ homes. Navigating all the dos and don’ts of house hunting can be tricky, so I’ve created a list of pointers to guide you through the journey.
Get pre-approved for a home loan.
As your realtor, I’m excited that you’re excited. Unfortunately, listing agents aren’t in the market for excitement. Prior to even looking at homes, it will serve you well to get a loan pre-approval, which provides evidence of your ability to buy a home. Additionally, a pre-approval helps you understand how much you can afford and helps me find listings that meet your needs AND budget.
In house hunting, as with life, punctuality is important. You may not have a packed agenda and have plenty of time to mosey on over, but if I’m showing you a home, there’s a pretty good chance I’ve made arrangements for the owner to leave for your showing. Let’s do our best to respect their space AND their schedule.
Be prepared to go shoeless.
It can feel a little awkward wandering around a stranger’s house without your shoes on. However, if you are asked to leave your shoes at the door, you must comply. Be prepared by wearing shoes you can slip on and off quickly and wear socks or bring a pair with you if you aren’t comfortable with the idea of walking barefoot. Some sellers won’t mind your shoes. With that in mind ladies, please avoid wearing pointy heeled shoes that can cause damage to hardwood, vinyl, and painted flooring.
Can I Use the Bathroom?
I get it. We’ve been looking at houses for the last couple of hours, you drank a giant cappuccino this morning, and now nature is calling. If you have to go, please ask permission first. If the house is vacant, there’s a good chance the water is shut off and there’s no way to flush. There may not even be toilet paper. If nature is calling, I’m happy to take a break from house hunting to find a proper pit-stop.
Don’t be a snoop.
If you’re really interested in a house you are viewing, I expect you to look in every closet, drawer, and cabinet. You’re on the verge of making a big decision and I want you to have as much information as possible. However, this doesn’t give you permission to ransack the place or snoop through personal belongings. Remember, you are shopping for a closet, not a new wardrobe.
Can I sit on the couch?
We’ve been looking at houses all day and you’re exhausted. But before you decide to get comfortable, know that couch may be a cardboard box in disguise, ready to topple under the slightest bit of weight.
Is it okay to take pictures?
With phones at our fingertips, we often don’t think twice about snapping a picture here and there. However, when viewing a home, it’s best to put that trigger finger away (especially if you plan on posting pictures online). A seller may have valuables out or privacy concerns, therefore, ask for permission first and respect the seller’s privacy.
No comments please.
There are a couple of reasons to “zip it” when you are touring a house (whether the owner is there or not). The seller may be next door waiting your visit out with a neighbor and could pop in at any moment. Additionally, a lot of homes are equipped with video security and nanny cams. If the décor screams “crazy cat lady” or the furniture hasn’t been replaced since the 70s, keep your opinion to yourself until we leave the property.
A seller hearing you trash talk their home could be the difference between them choosing you or another buyer. On the flip side, if you do nothing but gush about how amazing the home is, there’s a good chance you might relinquish some of your bargaining power.
In addition to the items listed, there are a few more things to avoid while viewing a house, which also include:
- No smoking inside OR outside the home.
- Do not bring any animals unless you are using a service animal. It doesn’t matter how well-behaved your pooch is, accidents happen and you don’t want them to happen in a stranger’s house.
- Don’t bring food or anything that could spill.
- If you aren’t able to find a sitter for the kids, it is absolutely important that you keep them in your sight at all times. Not every house is child-proofed and we all want your child to be safe.
On a final note, remember that we are visitors, not invited guests. With that, enter each space with the respect you would give to a museum and your house hunting will go off without a hitch.
Contact Agent Lady today! Not only will she help you navigate house hunting without offense, she’ll lead you through the home buying process to the right house and neighborhood. And remember, friends don’t let friends buy a home without Agent Lady!
About Agent Lady: Cherise Wynne is a leading real estate agent in Philadelphia, helping home buyers and sellers navigate the City of Brotherly Love, with a special focus on first time home buyers. To chat about getting started with your first time home buying experience, click here.