Author Topic: Home Buying Etiquette  (Read 15481 times)

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Larrabee

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #45 on: January 09, 2011, 04:47:54 PM »
Even if the current decor of the house isn't to your taste and you would probably redecorate immediately, there's no need to comment loudly in front of the current owners about how awful it is. 

And the converse of that, if you're selling your home and will be home for the showings, don't tail the prospective buyers so closely that they can't make quiet comments to each other about the things they'd need to change if they buy the house (can you tell I'm coming at this thread as a buyer, not a seller? ;)).

Agreed, I'd say its good etiquette to back off a bit after the initial 'tour' and let your viewers wander around unsupervised for a bit.

I've seen both sides quite a few times, my parents moved a fair bit and I just bought twice within 11 months!  Its great to get both perspectives.  Good luck with buying, I believe its a lot more fun than selling!

I never stuck around for showings when we were selling our house. I would have been very uncomfortable being there for showings. Once, when my parents sold their house in '92 and I was living with them between radio gigs, I had to briefly be home during a showing, and it was weird.

I suppose its what you're used to, as I said before here in the UK its very unusual for an agent to show the house or to even be present unless the property is empty or currently rented to tenants.  Its nearly always the current owners who do the viewings.  Personally I'd be much more uncomfortable leaving my home when strangers were coming round with the express purposes of poking around in it!

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #46 on: January 09, 2011, 04:59:25 PM »
Even if the current decor of the house isn't to your taste and you would probably redecorate immediately, there's no need to comment loudly in front of the current owners about how awful it is. 

And the converse of that, if you're selling your home and will be home for the showings, don't tail the prospective buyers so closely that they can't make quiet comments to each other about the things they'd need to change if they buy the house (can you tell I'm coming at this thread as a buyer, not a seller? ;)).

Agreed, I'd say its good etiquette to back off a bit after the initial 'tour' and let your viewers wander around unsupervised for a bit.

I've seen both sides quite a few times, my parents moved a fair bit and I just bought twice within 11 months!  Its great to get both perspectives.  Good luck with buying, I believe its a lot more fun than selling!

I never stuck around for showings when we were selling our house. I would have been very uncomfortable being there for showings. Once, when my parents sold their house in '92 and I was living with them between radio gigs, I had to briefly be home during a showing, and it was weird.

I suppose its what you're used to, as I said before here in the UK its very unusual for an agent to show the house or to even be present unless the property is empty or currently rented to tenants.  Its nearly always the current owners who do the viewings.  Personally I'd be much more uncomfortable leaving my home when strangers were coming round with the express purposes of poking around in it!

Well...here, the strangers wouldn't be looking around the house unaccompanied by a real estate agent or Realtor (so it wouldn't just be random strangers poking around my stuff). Unless I were doing a FSBO, I would not want to be around for showings.

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #47 on: January 09, 2011, 04:59:41 PM »
Even if the current decor of the house isn't to your taste and you would probably redecorate immediately, there's no need to comment loudly in front of the current owners about how awful it is.  

And the converse of that, if you're selling your home and will be home for the showings, don't tail the prospective buyers so closely that they can't make quiet comments to each other about the things they'd need to change if they buy the house (can you tell I'm coming at this thread as a buyer, not a seller? ;)).

Agreed, I'd say its good etiquette to back off a bit after the initial 'tour' and let your viewers wander around unsupervised for a bit.

I've seen both sides quite a few times, my parents moved a fair bit and I just bought twice within 11 months!  Its great to get both perspectives.  Good luck with buying, I believe its a lot more fun than selling!

I never stuck around for showings when we were selling our house. I would have been very uncomfortable being there for showings. Once, when my parents sold their house in '92 and I was living with them between radio gigs, I had to briefly be home during a showing, and it was weird.

I suppose its what you're used to, as I said before here in the UK its very unusual for an agent to show the house or to even be present unless the property is empty or currently rented to tenants.  Its nearly always the current owners who do the viewings.  Personally I'd be much more uncomfortable leaving my home when strangers were coming round with the express purposes of poking around in it!

I can see both sides.  When our building was on the market, we had potential buyers coming through our apartment, and ended up insisting that the appointments only happened when we were there.  We had way too many problems with people leaving doors open that needed to be shut, like the front door, and the bedroom door, where the small birds lived.  Did I mention we have four cats?  Signs on the doors didn't work, so we finally told the landlord that we'd only cooperate if he gave us enough notice, and scheduled it for times when we could be home.  I'm not looking forward to potentially dealing with that again, should we end up buying a starter home instead of a permanent home.

On the other hand, it's SO awkward doing showings when the owners are there.  It's gotten to the point where we're pretty much ready to only look at unoccupied houses, unless the house is absolutely spectacular.  It's just too weird having people following us around (although half of that is my mom, who keeps making stupid jokes about how dinner smells good and does it come with the house, and trying to talk to people in her crappy Spanish).

The norm here seems to be that my agent takes us around to see houses, without the seller's agent there.  We've only met a seller's agent once, and that was only on our second visit to the house, and that was only because they'd installed an alarm system since the first visit.

Larrabee

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #48 on: January 09, 2011, 05:26:29 PM »
Even if the current decor of the house isn't to your taste and you would probably redecorate immediately, there's no need to comment loudly in front of the current owners about how awful it is.  

And the converse of that, if you're selling your home and will be home for the showings, don't tail the prospective buyers so closely that they can't make quiet comments to each other about the things they'd need to change if they buy the house (can you tell I'm coming at this thread as a buyer, not a seller? ;)).

Agreed, I'd say its good etiquette to back off a bit after the initial 'tour' and let your viewers wander around unsupervised for a bit.

I've seen both sides quite a few times, my parents moved a fair bit and I just bought twice within 11 months!  Its great to get both perspectives.  Good luck with buying, I believe its a lot more fun than selling!

I never stuck around for showings when we were selling our house. I would have been very uncomfortable being there for showings. Once, when my parents sold their house in '92 and I was living with them between radio gigs, I had to briefly be home during a showing, and it was weird.

I suppose its what you're used to, as I said before here in the UK its very unusual for an agent to show the house or to even be present unless the property is empty or currently rented to tenants.  Its nearly always the current owners who do the viewings.  Personally I'd be much more uncomfortable leaving my home when strangers were coming round with the express purposes of poking around in it!

I can see both sides.  When our building was on the market, we had potential buyers coming through our apartment, and ended up insisting that the appointments only happened when we were there.  We had way too many problems with people leaving doors open that needed to be shut, like the front door, and the bedroom door, where the small birds lived.  Did I mention we have four cats?  Signs on the doors didn't work, so we finally told the landlord that we'd only cooperate if he gave us enough notice, and scheduled it for times when we could be home.  I'm not looking forward to potentially dealing with that again, should we end up buying a starter home instead of a permanent home.

On the other hand, it's SO awkward doing showings when the owners are there.  It's gotten to the point where we're pretty much ready to only look at unoccupied houses, unless the house is absolutely spectacular.  It's just too weird having people following us around (although half of that is my mom, who keeps making stupid jokes about how dinner smells good and does it come with the house, and trying to talk to people in her crappy Spanish).

The norm here seems to be that my agent takes us around to see houses, without the seller's agent there.  We've only met a seller's agent once, and that was only on our second visit to the house, and that was only because they'd installed an alarm system since the first visit.

So as a buyer you have an agent yourself who takes you to properties for sale?  That's a new concept to me, does the buyer's agent make a commission from the sale?  Is it the same agent you're using to sell? 

Here, an estate agent sells properties, or manages rented ones, they work entirely for sellers or landlords never for buyers or renters.

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #49 on: January 09, 2011, 05:47:54 PM »
We were living in a leased home, that was put up for sale. Per the owners the alarm was kept active (they paid the fees). There was an emergency button that looked like a light switch right as you came in the door of the master bedroom. Even if the alarm was not set that switch called the cops.

The Realtors and buyers were confronted more than once by police because they flipped the switch. We tried

1. Having the owners put in the info for the buying Realtor
2. Putting tape over the switch (they pulled it off)
3. Putting a sign over the switch (they pulled it off)
4. Putting a sign on the master bedroom door, and one over the switch. (They ignored the sign on the door and pulled the one off the switch)

When we moved out they were still flipping the emergency button. I'm glad the owners had to pay the fines not us.
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magicdomino

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #50 on: January 09, 2011, 06:21:33 PM »

So as a buyer you have an agent yourself who takes you to properties for sale?  That's a new concept to me, does the buyer's agent make a commission from the sale?  Is it the same agent you're using to sell? 

Here, an estate agent sells properties, or manages rented ones, they work entirely for sellers or landlords never for buyers or renters.

Yes, in the U.S., most buyers would have their own agent.  The agent's job is to sort through the multiple listing service to pick out the best prospects, make appointments for showing, escort the buyers (this may or may not include driving the buyers), then help with buying the home.  For this, the buyer's agent gets between 1% and 3% of the home price as commission.  Some agents specialize in buyers only; others handle both buying and selling.

By law, real estate agents for the seller are required to work in the seller's interests.  If you find the house on your own, for instance by driving by a for-sale sign, you can probably skip having your own agent, but it is still recommended that you have your own real estate attorney or other professional to double check the fine print.

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #51 on: January 09, 2011, 06:30:24 PM »
So as a buyer you have an agent yourself who takes you to properties for sale?  That's a new concept to me, does the buyer's agent make a commission from the sale?  Is it the same agent you're using to sell?  

Here, an estate agent sells properties, or manages rented ones, they work entirely for sellers or landlords never for buyers or renters.

Generally speaking, renting is totally separate from buying or selling here.  There are agencies that will take a fee from the landlord, and then offer a free service to renters who are looking for a place, and drive them around to look at apartments.  I'm not sure if they fee the landlord pays is to list the place with them in the first place, or if the agent just gets a commission when it rents.  A lot of people don't bother with that at all, and just look at apartment rental ads themselves.  I think that some real estate agencies do handle rentals, but it seems like more of a sideline.

The buyer and seller both have the option of not using an agent, it's not required or anything, but it's highly recommended.  So, as a buyer, I have an agent who works strictly for me.  We're renting now, but if we were selling our old home and buying a new one, I could use her for both (though, some agents only do one or the other, I think most do both).  My agent hooks me up with MLS listings, I go through them and figure out what I want to see (Other agents would do more of that initial research, I'm sure, but I like going through every listing and hand picking places), give her a list of interesting houses, we pick a day when we're all free, and she makes all the appointments.  She does that by talking to the seller's agent.  Generally, there's a lockbox on the property somewhere, and the seller's agent gives the buyer's agent the code, and you never even see the seller's agent.  I haven't gotten past that first step, but I'm sure that if I showed a serious interest, I could request that the seller's agent come to a showing and answer questions.

When you find a house you like, and start the buying process, your agent will recommend the necessary (again, highly recommended, not legally necessary) other folks you need, like a real estate attorney to make sure all the paperwork is in order, and an inspector to make sure there are no hidden problems, as well as a few others (you need someone to handle escrow, and I've probably forgotten a couple people).  I haven't gotten this far, but I believe the bank will recommend an appraiser to make sure the home is worth what you're paying.  Many agencies will also have a mortgage guy working for them, who will hunt up different mortgages for you. You have the option as a buyer to get your own attorney and inspector, too, instead of using the agency's recommendations.  

The seller's agent advertises the property, takes photos, makes sure that it's listed on as many real estate sites as possible, and does the fiddly appointment arranging.  If you ask me, it's totally worth every penny of commission to not have to deal with the other agents and make appointments myself.  We tried it a few times before we got our agent, and we were lucky if we got a form letter response and got put on their mailing list ::)  The seller's agent also hosts open houses at some properties (I'm looking in a low price range, and don't see many open houses), and again, recommends a real estate lawyer and escrow agent.  

The two agents work together to do the negotiating.  As a buyer, I'll tell my agent to put in an offer of $X, she'll bring that to the seller's agent, and they'll say yes, or no, or suggest $Y, or possibly something like $X and the seller will pay closing costs (which are usually paid by the buyer).  Buyers agent brings it back to the buyer then.  My agent can't tell me "bid $X," but she'll do some research and find comparables, houses in the area that are similar and sold recently, and get a good idea of what sort of offer will make sense.  I'd assume she could also say "well, you can try that offer, but it'll probably be shot down and not counter-offered" if it was too low, or give specific advice like "there are three other offers on the house, so you need to make a strong offer/offer asking price."  

When a house sells, the two agents split the commission 50/50.  I'm not sure what would happen if only one party had an agent.  If I happened to fall in love with a house that my agent was selling, I could, in theory, go with the dual agency option, in which case the agent would represent me and the seller, but it's really really really not recommended, because there's a huge conflict of interests there, especially since it's in the agent's best interests to get a higher price.  Some agents won't do dual agency at all - generally, if you've been working with an agent from a particular agency, she'll recommend a colleague to represent the buyer.

DangerMouth

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2011, 01:10:00 PM »
There's a feeling that it's unethical for one agent to represent both both the buyer and the seller. You can't be looking out for my best interests if you are also looking out for their's, kinda thing.

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #53 on: February 27, 2011, 08:06:15 PM »


I suppose its what you're used to, as I said before here in the UK its very unusual for an agent to show the house or to even be present unless the property is empty or currently rented to tenants.  Its nearly always the current owners who do the viewings.  Personally I'd be much more uncomfortable leaving my home when strangers were coming round with the express purposes of poking around in it!

When we sold our house in Wilts, the contract I signed was for an agent to be present since I was alone with a small child. Neither I nor the estate agent though it was strange in 2000.

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #54 on: February 28, 2011, 04:00:39 AM »


I suppose its what you're used to, as I said before here in the UK its very unusual for an agent to show the house or to even be present unless the property is empty or currently rented to tenants.  Its nearly always the current owners who do the viewings.  Personally I'd be much more uncomfortable leaving my home when strangers were coming round with the express purposes of poking around in it!

When we sold our house in Wilts, the contract I signed was for an agent to be present since I was alone with a small child. Neither I nor the estate agent though it was strange in 2000.



We sold our house in Herts in 2009 and we were never present for any showings. I hated viewing any properties where the owner was present as I don't feel like I could be honest about what I was seeing.

Our agent actually advised us to be out if possible, and we made some arrangements with our dogs in advance.

In the end our house actually sold pretty quickly when we were on holiday, so the animals were not an issue. But no, we were never there for any showings.
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Larrabee

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #55 on: February 28, 2011, 05:37:08 AM »


I suppose its what you're used to, as I said before here in the UK its very unusual for an agent to show the house or to even be present unless the property is empty or currently rented to tenants.  Its nearly always the current owners who do the viewings.  Personally I'd be much more uncomfortable leaving my home when strangers were coming round with the express purposes of poking around in it!

When we sold our house in Wilts, the contract I signed was for an agent to be present since I was alone with a small child. Neither I nor the estate agent though it was strange in 2000.



We sold our house in Herts in 2009 and we were never present for any showings. I hated viewing any properties where the owner was present as I don't feel like I could be honest about what I was seeing.

Our agent actually advised us to be out if possible, and we made some arrangements with our dogs in advance.

In the end our house actually sold pretty quickly when we were on holiday, so the animals were not an issue. But no, we were never there for any showings.

Well I am surprised.  Maybe this is regional, but I would always expect the current owners to be in the house I was viewing, unless they didn't actually live there.  I'd want to ask questions that only they'd know the answers to!  I'm in the North West.

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #56 on: February 28, 2011, 05:57:01 AM »
I have a friend whose parents' house was sold a year or two ago and she said the realtor always asked them to be away from home when it was to be shown. This was in the MIdwest.

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #57 on: March 02, 2011, 03:29:07 PM »
Larrabee - I think this is the North / South divide in action.   :)  I'm from the north of England where people come on their own and are shown around by the owner.  I now live in the south where the estate agent takes people around and the owners try not to be in.  I thought it was slightly weird to start with but it's the way things work in more southern regions.   
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Mopsy428

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #58 on: January 05, 2014, 08:53:23 PM »
I'm in the market to buy a house. Here are two suggestions that I have for sellers:

1. Please plow your driveway and shovel a path to the door, especially if you've known about this viewing well over 24 hours in advance and the snow has all ready fallen.

2. TURN ON THE HEAT! It's well below 0 Fahrenheit. It should not be as cold IN the house as it is outside. How on earth do you expect to sell the property? How on earth do you expect your pipes not to burst?!

(Both happened this weekend. I really liked the properties where the heat was not turned on, but I couldn't think straight. I'm going to ask my real estate agent if we can go back to one particular property and ask if the seller's agent will 1) turn on the heat and 2) tell the tenant that we're coming so we can see the whole house.)

TheWeirdOne

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Re: Home Buying Etiquette
« Reply #59 on: January 05, 2014, 10:08:08 PM »
Partner and I have been househunting for about six months now (and I've never heard of the buyer having an agent, but I'm going to try to get one now  :) )

Sellers' Agents: DO NOT LIE TO POTENTIAL BUYERS! I have dealt with two agents now who have said X over the phone, and then carefully worded their emails to heavily imply X when the reality is Y.  >:( Note to other buyers: get everything in writing! It is much easier to pick up on misdirection in an email than over the phone. 

Also, don't try and talk buyers out of getting legal advice before signing anything. We may be young, but we're not stupid, and you have now marked yourself out as someone to be wary of. There's a difference between working in the interests of the sellers and unethical behaviour.

Side note: Partner and I are now so fed up of dealing with this (particularly after the trouble we had with the last place that we put an offer on) that we have called break from it until next month. It's soul sucking. :(