Looking for the home of your dreams is an exciting time. Even though you are excited to get moving on a purchase, there are a few unwritten rules that every home buyer should understand before they start looking.
Don’t Call the Listing Agent
The first real estate etiquette rule for all home buyers is that you shouldn’t call the listing agent. For example, if you’re looking for homes for sale in Lakeland, FL., and you see the perfect home listed, you might be tempted to call the listing agent right away. You should not do that.
The proper thing to do is to call your buyer’s agent and let them call the listing agent. There is a good reason for this rule. The listing agent is working for the home seller and will have the seller’s interest in mind. Your buyer’s agent is working for you and will have your best interest in mind. If you don’t have an agent already, you could call the listing agent, but it is better if you first get an agent to represent your interest.
Get Pre-Approved First
Do not make any offers for a home before you get pre-approved for a mortgage. This is not only proper real estate etiquette but having a mortgage pre-approval letter provides proof to the seller’s agent how much you can afford.
If you do not have a pre-approval letter, your offer to buy a house will not carry much weight. In this hot housing market, you can expect to compete against other people for the same home. And you cannot compete if you do not have this letter first.
Sign a Buyer-Broker Agreement
Once you’re serious about finding a new home, you should hire a buyer’s agent and sign the buyer’s agreement. This agreement lets the agent know you’re serious about buying a home and is important from a consumer protection standpoint. It is a binding legal contract that defines the relationship between a buyer and the real estate agent.
If this relationship doesn’t work out, you can end the agreement. Like with any contract, be sure to understand it before signing. It is not proper real estate etiquette to work with more than one real estate agent at the same time. If you want another agent, end the agreement with the first agent before working with a different one.
Be on Time
When your agent schedules a showing for you, be on time. Most homes for sale still have people living in them. The owners will usually leave so you can view the home without distractions, and your agent also has other schedules they need to keep. If you can’t make an appointment or you’re going to be late, be sure to let your agent know.
Don’t Pretend You’re Ready to Buy
Don’t pretend you’re ready to buy if you’re not. You shouldn’t use a buyer’s agent if you’re just looking or only considering buying a new home. It is fine to go to open houses and do all of your research, just be upfront with everyone at what stage of the home buying process you’re at. Remember, real estate agents only get paid with commissions on a sale.