Go ahead and flush the toilet, but don’t take it for a test drive!

What would Ms. Manners say about REALTOR® courtesies? You don’t have to guess even another minute longer. Here’s a guest post from Ms. Real Manners, courtesy of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®.

Dear Ms. Real Manners,

Recently, I received a phone call from a seller complaining that, after a showing, the lights were left on, the doors unlocked and someone had used the bathroom — and left without tidying up after themselves. (Phew!) What are you people thinking?

The old saying, ‘treat it like you would your own home’ does not apply when showing property. Turn off the lights and lock the door! And, when it comes to the bathroom — go ahead and flush the toilet, but don’t take it for a test drive!

We have a tough enough time as it is protecting our reputations as professionals. Treating a seller’s home with such a lack of courtesy and disrespect does nothing to improve the reputation of REALTORS® in their eyes. And disgruntled people talk to others. So even if they are not your client today, they can affect your business tomorrow.

Could you publish (or re-publish) the courtesies we should all be adhering to when showing a listing?


Frustrated (and disgusted)

* * *

Dear Frustrated,

But of course.

Showing courtesies:

  1. Have a confirmed appointment before showing any property.
  2. Arrive on time for showings. Don’t be early. Occupied homes may have owners preparing to leave. Vacant houses may have other appointments scheduled.
  3. If you are going to be more than five minutes late for a showing, please call the listing salesperson and/or office to notify the seller of your tardiness.
  4. Avoid parking in the driveway. Many sellers find this a little presumptuous and objectionable.
  5. Use the sidewalks! Grass and landscaping are precious to the seller. In bad weather, take off shoes and boots inside the property.
  6. When showing an occupied home, always ring the doorbell and knock before entering. Knock before entering any closed room.
  7. Enter listed property first to make sure that unexpected situations, such as pets or disarming alarm systems are handled appropriately.
  8. If sellers are on the property, do not discuss any details of the sale, including price with the seller. Refer all inquiries to the listing agent.
  9. Do not use the telephone in someone’s home or business without prior permission.
  10. Never use a bathroom at a listing unless it is marked “public.”
  11. Don’t smoke in listed property.
  12. Be responsible for visitors.
  13. Legibly sign and fully complete the guest register.
  14. Keep sarcasm and negative comments about the property and neighborhood to yourself.
  15. Never allow buyers to enter property unaccompanied.
  16. If sellers are on the property, inform them that you are leaving after a showing.
  17. Make sure that the house is left the way you found it. Ensure that heating and cooling controls are set correctly.
  18. Turn off the lights, shut windows, and lock doors.
  19. Return the key to the lockbox and secure it properly.
  20. Call the listing broker to report the results of any showing, correct any inaccurate listing information, and anything that appears wrong with the property.
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