4 Unwritten Rules of Homebuying Etiquette

Real Estate

When you’re looking for a new home, it’s important to adhere to some basic rules of conduct and etiquette—rules that aren’t necessarily “official,” but are nevertheless important for facilitating a smooth transition.

These little morsels of homebuying etiquette aren’t necessarily written down anywhere, but they’re definitely worth keeping in mind—so here’s a recap of four guidelines for your homebuying journey.

1. See a house that you love? Don’t call the listing agent.

Imagine this scenario: You’re looking at houses online, and you see one that you instantly fall in love with. It’s your dream house, and you can’t wait to see it! So, you pick up the phone and call the listing agent.

While this isn’t necessarily “wrong,” it’s usually not how things are done. It’s better to contact your buyer’s agent and have them call the listing agent on your behalf.

That may sound circuitous, but there’s a method to the madness. Simply put, this is how both you and the seller ensure that you have a qualified professional putting your best interests first. Also worth noting: Most listing agents prefer to deal directly with buyer’s agents, so having your agent make the call can actually get you a quicker response.

2. Don’t make an offer on a home—not until you have your mortgage pre-approval.

Again, there’s nothing “wrong” with making an offer sans mortgage pre-approval, but an offer without that pre-approval letter is something of an empty promise.

It’s only when you have been pre-approved that you can prove to the seller that you can actually afford to buy the place—giving them confidence that they aren’t wasting their time in negotiating with you.

3. Scheduled a home tour? Make sure you show up on time!

This is partly just a matter of good manners: If you’ve made arrangements through your agent to tour a home, be sure you’re there on time. Don’t bail on it unless you absolutely have to—and in that case, let your agent know ASAP.

Simply put, you can’t have a good professional relationship with your agent if you’re not respectful of their time—so try not to skip out on the appointments you agree to!

4. Before you ask your agent to show you homes, be ready to sign a buyer-broker agreement.

This agreement basically shows that you’re serious about buying a place—that you’re not “just looking” or window shopping, but actually want the agent to help you find your next home.

Again, it’s a way to say that you’re ready, and that you’re not out to waste anyone’s time. And of course, your agent can talk to you in greater specifics about what this document actually entails.


Speaking of which: If you have any questions at all about house hunting, buyer-broker agreements, or general real estate etiquette, we’d love to talk with you! Don’t hesitate to reach out to Ryan Minges Real Estate, a leading real estate company in the Charlotte area, at any time.