Are there "etiquette" rules when trying to see a house?

12 Replies

I really like my realtor but she's got all these "rules" that I don't understand.  For example, we went to one house and the layout was a bit off but I still liked the house (it was occupied by the seller).  I asked her to show it to me a second time but with a general contractor present so I could get a rough idea on how much it would cost to make changes (I'm not talking about updating the kitchen or new flooring).  I wanted to know if we could convert a Sunroom into part of the house and what it would cost.  She wouldn't do it. She said it was inappropriate to have a contractor without it being under contract first.  Am I missing something?  She keeps telling me "that's just the way its done."  Is this a general rule that I'm just ignorant of?  It seems to me a seller wouldn't care who I bring if it helps them sell their home.

In my area of Wisconsin and Se MN, I love a second showing.  If I'm the buyer agent, I wouldn't want the seller around for the showing, as it might influence the negotiations.  As a listing agent, WooHoo, I'm going to get an offer.

I assume you haven't bought a house through her before.  With a good relationship, that shouldn't be an issue.  With that being said, generally I will only walk through once then make an offer.  I have a pretty good idea what things cost.  If I don't, Google usually helps me.  Once under contract, then I confirm my numbers.  You should get better at estimating costs with experience.  (not saying you don't have any).  Personally, I am trying to perfect a system where I don't inspect the house until I have it under contract.  I am not there yet, but working on it.  I do know if investors in my REIC that do not look at a house until it is under contract.

I think is just has to do with common courtesy , respect, dignity, and having an attitude that it is a privilege to be allowed into someone's home. People want selling their home to be a good experience not one where they are subjected to having their privacy trampled on. 

You may be looking at buying their home but to them basically if you will definitely not be the new owner you are an intruder. Frequently owners have some kind of emotional attachment to their home regardless whether they have decided to sell it or not. They view people coming into their home acting as if it ere theirs as abuse and may very well decide to put a stop to it and not sell their home. 

They do not want to hear criticism or having others change things even if that may very well happen. They may already be filled with comprehension that others may not value their home in the same manner that they do and may take an affront to anyone nit picking their home or undoing what they may have spent years doing. Its a very personal thing to sellers especially if it is the home they live in.

Most sellers I believe think that the person or persons buying their home will be someone who also wants the home to live in . They basically do not prepare for the buyer to be a business person seeking only an investment which represents only money and nothing really personal. They may view your actions as a form of degradation directed at them. 

I think this is something you just have to know at the back of your mind. Just because they are selling their home does not necessarily mean its something they do not care about it the least anymore. 

Besides if you have a good enough memory to give a contractor rough dimensions they can probably give you an idea of costs involved to make a sun room into a permanent additional square footage to the living space of the house. They will ask if the room had a foundation, required subflooring, what about how the roof was attached or if the sun room was permitted or not. They can provide a range of prices depending on what will be required and give you a ball park figure this way or that way.

If the house is empty that is one thing but if I was living in my home and you did as you suggested I might decide I would sell my house to anyone other than you.

You asked if you are missing something and I would say that yes you most definitely are. Its called respect for others.

You don't have an agent for investors. It sounds like your agent is most comfortable working with retail buyers. I say get another agent. The seller should not be present for a showing anyway and should not care who you seek an opinion from whether it be your parents your priest or your psychic. It's none of their business. With this agent rather you put in an offer, negotiate a price, then back out because the numbers don't work?

How serious are you about making an offer?  

If you're not serious, and wasting your realtors & the home sellers time, then yes, that's disrespectful...

However, if your are ready to make an offer after you clarify the design & costs with your contractor, I don't see a problem with it...

As a home seller, I would rather have a buyer do a 2nd showing than accept a preliminary offer contingent on inspections with a 10-14 day inspection period and then have the buyer walk away...

The 2nd showing only wastes 1 hr of my time, but a buyer that walks after inspections costs me 10 to 14 days!..

Thanks all.  I was pretty serious about making an offer but I needed to know if what I wanted to do was even feasible, which is why I wanted a second showing (the sellers are not present at any of the showings) with a general contractor.  I'm pretty accurate on re-modeling kitchens, bathrooms, etc but this was more advanced construction that I'm not as familiar with. @Gilbert Dominguez thank you for your insight.  I spend a lot of time researching so that I only preview homes I'm serious about and am very careful when I'm inside.  I respectfully disagree with your last line.  @David Robertson is right, would it be better for the seller to get a contract and then me walk out or do a second showing with a contractor?  Which is more disrespectful?

I was thinking the sellers were in the building . Guess its just the agent then who does not want to spend so much time with you if you do not buy the house. Sorry I just assumed the sellers were present. I certain have taken measurements and done other evaluations on a property before making an offer or getting under contract during the time I was a General Building Contractor. 

What happens allot of times is that we do not get the communication right on because we may interpret of fill in what we think the real situation is. Yes again if the sellers or owners where not present then I do not see why your agent would not show you the property again. I have taken time to do plenty of evaluations with an agent showing me the house more than once. I think it is just that particular agent and if I were you I would also get another agent to show you the house and then show up with your contractor. 

@Gilbert Dominguez I liked your idea about describing the Florida room to a contractor. The listing does show some of the room so maybe he can tell me from the pics.

There is one more thing you can do and that is simply take your contractor with you and let him see the house from the outside. If he can get a view of the Sun Room he may also be able to estimate the costs for you rather than just come up with an estimate from your description. I am a builder and feel that if I could see the room even from the outside I could get a pretty accurate idea of the cost that might be involved and the process to make it a legal part of the house. But again you could try getting any agent to  open up the house with you if you feel that would work in this case and if you have an agreement with your present agent to use them to make your offer then you can follow through with that after you are satisfied with all your data. 

Just an idea.

@Mustafa Abdulali as an agent who works with investors I would have no problem showing the home a second time so the contractor could prepare and estimate. 

The only two rules that I have is that:

  • We have a showing agreement signed saying that I will be representing you in the purchase.
  • The contractor touches absolutely nothing in the property that may cause damage. No inspections other than visible inspections. There are provisions in the contract for inspections. Prior to being in contract there is a general liability for damage caused to the property. 

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