House Hunting is super fun and definitely exciting. This is your chance to fall in love with your dream home. It’s your time to imagine your future in your new home. It’s also your chance to determine what’s really important to you. You may learn something about yourself and even your partner.
But, it’s also really easy to piss someone off and hurt any chance you have at owning the potential home you fall in love with. We sometimes forget, most homes you will see are already occupied and someone probably really loves their home but has decided to move. Selling a house you’ve lived in for many years can be very emotional to begin with. So here’s a few tips for you to make sure you don’t make a seller angry and you put yourself in the best negotiating position. It’s also your agents job to follow the rules too.
Always Assume the Seller is Watching and Listening
Hidden cameras have become very common. In fact while sitting an open house, I myself learned first hand that I was being watched by the seller that asked me to host the open house, and never told me they’d be watching and listening. That wasn’t a good feeling. Cameras can be used to monitor buyers’ behavior and comments they make during their tours. It’s an easy way for sellers to feel like they are safeguarding their homes but for negotiating purposes it can hurt you as a buyer.
The first thing I tell my buyers when we are starting our home search is to never discuss price inside the home, and if you have nothing nice to say- save it for when we are outside, off the property.
You’d be surprised how many sellers even ask neighbors to watch who goes in and out and report back. So, my advice- put yourself in the sellers shoes and think about what kind of person you’d want to get into a transaction with.
Leave the Entourage Home
A lot of first time buyers love to get feedback from family members, but for the first time out with your agent it can be a distraction from what YOU really want in a home. Save the family tour for when you fall in love and just want a second opinion. Make sure you understand that everyone will have their own opinion, but the one that matters most is the person who’s buying the home.
I took my parents to see our home before we made an offer because I trust their opinion and I knew they would only support our decision. But if you know your father thinks he’s a home inspector but he’s really an accountant that doesn’t know how to use a hammer, prepare yourself for the negative comments.
Use Your Imagination
Everyone has their own style and taste when it comes to home décor and decorating styles. I can almost guarantee you will see things when you’re out house hunting that might just blow your mind…..but if it’s only a cosmetic fix- you can change it quite easily. Paint, flooring, window treatments, lighting fixtures and hardware are all pretty simple fixes. You will need to use your imagination and see if you can picture yourself in the home.
I tell my clients you will usually get “a feeling” when you walk into a home that may potentially be “the one.” Go with your gut and ignore the hot pink dining room if that’s the only thing that bothers you about the home! In fact, there are apps out there now that can let you see what a room might look like in a different color.
Don’t Take Pictures or Video or Add an Instagram Story From Inside the Home
Yes, we live in a virtual world where we are accustomed to documenting and sharing almost everything, so why would we hesitate to share one of the most exciting times with the rest of the world? Because it’s not your home, and unless the seller actually gave you or your agent permission to take pictures or video- don’t do it. Period.
If your agent says they were given permission, perhaps for you to show your out of state partner the interior of a home- by all means don’t share it on social media. It’s just another way to piss off a seller. Once you own the home- go crazy! In fact, I’ll go crazy with you!
Try Realllly Hard Not to Use the Bathroom!
Yup, emergencies happen and that big cup of coffee you just had may not be helping matters, but please try not to use the bathrooms in every home you visit. It’s certainly ok to flush the toilets and test the water pressure, but sometimes the water may be turned off and then the seller is left with “a mess.” At least check with your agent if you reallllly have to go!
I always try to make a pit stop before showing homes, but even sometimes agents screw up! So learn from me- That one time I had to use the bathroom while out showing homes, the flusher broke right off! Explaining that to selling agent was not only unprofessional, but totally embarrassing. I did offer to pay the seller for the broken flusher though! Thank god that wasn’t the home my buyers actually wanted!
If your budget is 350K, don’t ask your agent to show you 500K homes and expect to negotiate. There’s negotiating, then there’s just plain foolish. Why fall in love with a home you can’t have right now, when you can be focusing your energy on falling in love with the right home. Also, avoid foreclosures and short sales if closing by a certain time is necessary. They can sometimes drag out much longer than a regular home purchase.
If you’re thinking of buying a home this Spring, now is the time to start. Reach out to the Dream Home Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be delighted to help.