A Guide to Proper Etiquette For Sellers


Your home has been cleaned, de-cluttered, staged, and is picture-perfect and ready for the market. But what about you? Are you ready to handle the sales process appropriately?

If you want to make sure your home sells without a hitch, make sure you’re on your best behavior and don’t do anything that would put off a qualified buyer. When it comes to selling real estate, there are certain unwritten rules regarding proper etiquette.

Leave the House During Showings and Open Houses

Homeowners who linger during showings or at open house do nothing more than make buyers feel uncomfortable. Buyers want to feel free to make comments about the home as they please without worrying about the owners eavesdropping on their conversations. They also don’t want to be uncomfortable about opening all doors and drawers because they feel the owners’ eyes on them.

Right before a showing or open house, step out for a while to give prospective buyers some space to scope out your home in detail. Doing so will also help them better visualize themselves living there rather than feeling like they’re imposing on your lifestyle.

Keep Your Pets Kenneled or Remove Them From the Home


There are plenty of buyers out there who plan to move their furry friends in with them when they buy a new home. However, that doesn’t mean all buyers will appreciate your affinity of living with the animal kingdom. Pets tend to leave a foul smell behind, no matter how clean they may be. They also have a knack of leaving behind chewed-up toys and possibly even some excrement that you may not have noticed.

When you’re home is on the market, do your best to keep your home as clean as possible without making it obvious that there’s an animal living there. And when it comes to showings and open houses, take your pets with you when you leave. Worst case scenario, make sure they’re tucked away in their kennel so they stay out of everyone’s way.

Be Flexible With Showing Dates and Times

You probably don’t like the idea of having complete strangers waltzing through your home every day, especially on weekends or weeknights when you’d just rather chill in your jammies. But if you limit your showings too severely to accommodate your leisurely time at home, you could be significantly cutting down on the number of showings you get and the subsequent buyers that would be able to see your home.

It’s customary to allow for showings anywhere between 10am and 8pm every day of the week, including weekdays and weekends. This allows buyers who work full-time during regular business hours to be able to find the time to check out your home after work or on the weekend when they’re off. If you cut off showing times to 5pm on weekdays or only allow a 2-hour window on weekends, for instance, you could be limiting your pool of buyers.

Watch What You Cook


Try not to cook anything that will take hours or even days to rid your home of any unpleasant odors. Fish, deep fried foods, and heavy spices should be saved for after your home has found its buyer. Nobody wants to walk into a home that smells like last night’s salmon dinner. 

Leave Out Fresh Flowers

A pleasant scent can go a long way at pleasing buyers. Even if you’ve been careful about cleaning after your pets or watching what you cook, every house has its own “smell.” Putting out a fresh bouquet of flowers will allow a fresh scent to waft through the home and please the senses of buyers.

Don’t Let Your Vehicle Block Your Home’s Exterior


Your home’s curb appeal speaks volumes and sets the tone for what buyers can expect to see in your home. If you’ve spent a lot of time and money updating your home’s exterior and landscaping, don’t throw all that effort away by blocking it with your car. Try to find a parking spot that allows full exposure of your home’s exterior.

Supply Pertinent Documents

Buyers will want to see specific documents before they agree to buy a home. That includes things such as your utility bills (so they can get an idea of how much it will cost to operate the home), home warranty, proof of repairs, or even an inspection report if you’ve taken it upon yourself to have one done.

Don’t Hound Buyers For Feedback


You might be eager to find out what buyers who have visited your home think of it, but don’t harass them for any feedback. Buyers often need some time to think about what they’ve seen before they’re ready to make a judgment call. While it’s perfectly fine to ask your real estate agent for feedback from a buyer after a showing, you should allow some time for the buyer’s agent to respond to your query.

Be Open to Negotiation

Sellers tend to develop emotional ties to their homes, so it’s only natural for them to become defensive against offers that don’t necessarily stack up to what the property is perceived to be worth. But if you are unwilling to budge on price, you could find yourself with no deal. Of course, it’s important to fight for what your home is actually worth according to current market conditions, but if you get too greedy, you’ll end up nowhere.

Let your real estate agent take the reigns at the negotiating table and heed their advice on how to wheel and deal appropriately so everyone comes out a winner.

The Bottom Line

After all the work and effort you put into listing your home and marketing it to prospective buyers, the last thing you want to do is sabotage a deal. By following these rules of etiquette, you’ll help the process move along in a more streamlined manner without throwing unnecessary wrenches in the way.

Of course, every real estate transaction is unique, and coming up with the right strategy for your specific situation requires a sophisticated understanding of the process. Always consult with your Realtor before making any moves along the way.