When shopping for a home, potential buyers can make things easier on themselves — and sellers — by following certain rules of real estate etiquette. Take a look.
Have your money in order. Make sure your finances are in tip-top shape. Resolve any unpaid bills that could be dinging your credit. Seek pre-approval with a mortgage broker. Don’t confuse “preapproved” with “pre-qualified,” which is a less-stringent standard. Have money in the bank and ready to pay earnest money and a down payment on a mortgage. To ease the mortgage approval process, have prior year tax returns and financial statements ready.
Be considerate of the seller. Ask for showings with plenty of advance notice. Ask thoughtful due diligence questions about the house without being intrusive. If you bring kids along, mind their behavior. If the agent has a website for leaving feedback, be fair and offer constructive criticism.
Make a reasonable offer. Reasonable can be a bit subjective, but be sure to base your offer on the quality of the home and the health of the market. Don’t make a low offer on a nice house in a robust selling market. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and communicates a lack of seriousness. If the market is thriving, you may have no choice but to offer full price or else lose out to another bidder. If market conditions allow for negotiating, offering 5 percent below asking price is reasonable.
Don’t tangle things up with contingencies. Be reasonable about contingencies. For example, it is common for the inspector to find needed repairs but don’t demand the repair of every item on the list. Feel free to request that the appliances convey, but don’t expect to get everything you ask for. And don’t expect sellers to wait endlessly for you to sell your home. Be reasonable about a closing date that works best for you and the seller.
Be responsible about the financing and the inspection. Make timely decisions regarding inspections, repairs and mortgage approval. The deal depends on it.