The Rules of Good Home Seller Etiquette

Part of our job teaching home owners how to have a more successful sale means educating them about home seller etiquette. Believe it or not, there is (sort of an unwritten?) set of rules that govern good home seller behavior (there’s definitely a code of etiquette for home buyers, too — we’ll circle back to that one on a different day). And just like all codes of conduct, the rules of home seller etiquette are meant to reflect an attitude of consideration, kindness, and respect toward your potential home buyers and the real estate agents trying to sell your home.

Wondering what they are (or more likely, wondering if you’ve broken any of the rules)? Take a look:

home seller etiquette
Try to never, ever turn down a showing! The more potential buyers who come through your door, the greater your chances of getting an offer.
  • Always say “yes” to showings. Sometimes accommodating showings is going to be a little bit of a hassle for you. It’s hard to just pick up and leave your house, especially when you don’t have much notice beforehand. But it’s important to be as flexible as possible with showings. The more people you are able to get through the door, the greater your chances are of getting an offer.
  • Leave the house. Buyers don’t feel comfortable when the owner is at the home. You want buyers to relax and start envisioning this house as their future home, and they can’t do that if you’re hovering in the background. As the home seller, you should not be around for any home showing event for any reason, including:
    • Home showing appointments
    • Open houses
    • Broker tours and caravans
    • Home inspections paid for by the buyer
    • Buyer’s appraisal
  • Take you pets with you. Your fur and feather babies can kill a sale. A “for sale” home should convey an atmosphere of relaxation from the moment a potential buyer steps in the door. Barking dogs, overly friendly cats, or squawking parrots do not promote relaxation. Nervous animals create nervous buyers. Whenever possible, completely remove animals from the home during showings. It’s safer for your pets, too. If it’s just not possible, be sure animals are safely secured in an area that will be minimally distracting to potential buyers.
home seller etiquette
Taking fur (and feather) babies with you when you leave for home buyers is safer for your pets and lets you show your home at its very best.
  • Provide documentation. Potential buyers are going to have questions, and it’s ideal to provide immediate answers in writing. To effectively do this, we always recommend clients put together a Home Marketing Binder and leave it on the kitchen counter or another conspicuous spot. This binder should contain information like average monthly utility costs, a copy of your floorplan and survey, any appliance manuals, a list of home improvements, and information about the neighborhood and local schools. We offer a FREE downloadable template and instructions, but if you want to REALLY showcase your home’s unique value to potential buyers, take a look at our easy-to-customize Canva templates in The Template Shop!
  • Move your car. Make it easy for buyers to park and get in. If your potential buyer has to circle the block or drive up and down the street to look for parking, they may just skip taking the tour of your home. No one likes parking problems, and having them is a sure way to get a buyer off to a bad start.
  • Be patient. Of course, you want to know what buyers thought of your home, but that feedback may not get back to you the moment they leave your house. Give the agents a day or two to gather feedback. Sometimes buyers need to process what they’ve seen and think things over before making an offer. Trust me, if they love your house, you’ll hear from them!
  • Accept feedback with an open mind (and don’t shoot the messenger). It can be really hard to hear criticisms of a home that you’ve loved and worked hard to prepare for the market. But try to keep an open mind about the information you receive. Remember — this is a business transaction. Keep it professional and do what it takes to get it sold. If buyers hate the neighborhood or floorplan, that’s obviously something you can’t change. But if you’re consistently hearing that the house looks “dated” or that the carpet is worn out, it may be time to seriously consider some improvements — or price reductions. Talk to your realtor about what steps they recommend to bring you in line with what buyers in your market are looking for (they’re experts in this field and want to get your home sold, too!).

Have you experienced bad home seller etiquette? Have you committed bad home seller etiquette?? Tell us about it in the comments! If you’re planning to sell a home soon, let Three Bears Home Staging walk you through the preparation process. Our consultations and home staging services have helped hundreds of home owners sell their properties faster and for more money (and with fabulous manners) — we can help you, too!

*** Hey, real estate agents — looking for a way to easily convey this information to your clients? Download our Home Seller Etiquette template! Easily customize this flyer in Canva with your own logo/branding/photo/colors/wording, then print and include in your listing packet! ***

home seller etiquette template
Home Seller Etiquette | Template for Canva

About Vannessa Rhoades
About Vannessa Rhoades

Vannessa Rhoades is the author of Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging: Second Edition and founder of Three Bears Home Staging®. She is an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager™ and Certified Expert E-Designer™ and has staged and consulted on hundreds of properties in person throughout the Houston metro area and virtually across the country.

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