Even though going to view a property is a fairly common occurrence (at least in general terms), it is also a rather unusual one. You are basically going to look around the home of a complete stranger and quite possibly look into areas which are generally off-limits, even to people the homeowner knows well. To smooth over the process, here is a brief guide to the basics of property-viewing etiquette.
Make sure there is clear agreement on who will be visiting the property
Even if you are dealing with an estate agent, rather than the homeowner themselves, there are many good reasons to clarify who, exactly, will be visiting a property, number one among which being safety, yours and theirs. If you intend to bring more than one other person with you, then it’s polite to make your contact aware of this likewise if you are bringing people with any form of special needs then you should also advise your contact of this. As a general rule, you should avoid bringing pets to a viewing unless it is explicitly agreed in advance and if you use a service dog, then you should alert your contact to the fact in case they have allergies.
Be punctual if at all possible and, if not, let people know that you are running late
Your time is valuable but so is your contact’s and they will appreciate your treating them with respect. Politeness costs nothing but it can bring dividends. For example, if a homeowner has to choose between two competing offers, the issue of who was polite and who wasn’t might be enough to swing the balance.
Be considerate about what you bring into the home
Ask the seller directly if they would like you to take off your footwear. Be aware that even sellers who are generally OK with having shoes worn in the home may prefer for you to take off your specific choice of footwear, especially if that is heavy boots (work or casual). It is also a good idea to bring along something to put over your feet if you do have to remove your footwear. Sellers with a “no shoes” policy may offer you something but you may not wish to take it. On a similar note think carefully before bringing food or drink into another person’s home, avoid bringing anything with a strong smell or a tendency to leave a trail of crumbs.
Mix in positive feedback with relevant questions
Obviously, a home viewing is a chance for you to ask questions and sellers will generally expect this. At the same time, fielding question after question can be tedious for professionals and certainly for homeowners, so be ready to give positive feedback on what you like about the property. This will not only help to make your viewing a more pleasant experience for all involved, including the seller, but may help to convince a seller of your seriousness as a buyer and, again, if a seller has to choose between two competing offers, then being seen as the more serious buyer may help to tip the balance in your favour.