The real estate industry can feel like it has its own set of rules. With that in mind, I’ve brought you four home buying etiquette rules that every buyer should know. Read them over and keep them in mind so that you feel prepared for when you’re ready to hit the market.
Get pre-approved before you start going on showings
In real estate, a pre-approval is a letter from your lender that indicates the amount up to which you’ve been approved to buy a home. These days, you need to submit this letter as part of your offer in order to prove to the sellers that you’re capable of buying the home. Having a pre-approval is a sign that you’re serious about buying.
However, you don’t want to wait until you’ve already found your dream home to apply for a pre-approval. In order to put together this document, your lender will need to vet your finances and pull your credit. The process can take a few days to complete.
With that in mind, your best bet is to have a pre-approval put together before you start working with an agent. That way, when you do find the right home, you have the necessary documents ready to go.
Work with one agent at a time
It should almost go without saying, but you should only work with one real estate agent at a time. Having one person follow you through the entirety of your home search is the easiest way to make sure that no important details get left out of the equation.
The one exception to this when you’re relocating. In this case, you’ll want to have two real estate agents, one in your new location and one in your old. However, ideally, they’ll at least communicate enough to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your housing needs.
Keep your appointments and be on-time
As a matter of basic respect, you should always do your best to keep your appointments with your agent. Put simply, think of appointments as the agent equivalent of a meeting. As with any business situation, it would be disrespectful to show up late or cancel without warning.
Obviously, sometimes things happen and life gets in the way, but in those situations, your goal should be to be as respectful as possible. Give your real estate agent a call in advance and let him or her know what’s going on. Odds are, your agent will be more than happy to reschedule.
Communicate through your agent
Once you do find a home, a seller will enter the mix. However, once that happens, you should do most of your communicating through your agent. The reality is that buying a house is a legally-binding transaction. It’s in your best interest to have someone negotiate on your behalf.
To that end, do your best to keep all your conversations above board. If you have a question or concern about the house, bring it up to your real estate agent. He or she will then present it to the listing agent and bring you an answer.