Well-mannered Real Estate Agent

In the age of reality TV shows where EVERYONE has lost their sense of propriety, teen singing sensations glorifying their misdemeanors, and etiquette being thrown out the window with real manners and ethics, it’s no surprise that the sense of entitlement and disregard has crept over into the real estate industry as well. As a seasoned and highly educated realtor in the Pittsburgh region, I've come to know a lot of the agents and hundreds of clients. Pittsburgh is a diverse and vibrant town, but it's easy to run into the same circles again and again. That said, realtors can easily create a less-than-desirable reputation for themselves when they don't play nicely with other agents, and home buyers can definitely decrease the odds of finding a wonderful home when they aren't on their best behavior during the hunt. Sometimes, it all comes down to service and knowledge. If the agent has the knowledge, then you're in better hands than many, but if your agent has charm and behaves with professionalism, then you've hit the jackpot and greatly increased the probability that sellers and other agents will work with you on a mutually-beneficial outcome. Here are five tips when home-hunting:

  1. Creep. When I say "creep," I don't mean the TLC song from the 90's, nor do I mean the kind that hits on you in a bar when his girlfriend isn't looking. I’m talking about the way that home buyers will rummage through drawers, cabinets, and closets that have nothing to do with the buying process or decision. If you're creeping around someone's house, beware that they could later find out that things aren't as they left them, and this will deter them from ever working with you in a cheerful way in the future. No one likes a nosy snoop. It's simply not nice. Respect others' privacy.
  2. If you accidentally run into the seller in the house, on the premise, or in the street, do not, I repeat, DO NOT issue attitude, unkind words, or suggestions for their selling success. If they inquire about your honest feedback, tell them that you loved the space and that you'll think it over and share with your realtor if you come up with any constructive criticism; allow the agents to do what they do best, and that’s act as experienced liaison. Keep things light, sweet, cordial, and move along. There shouldn't be any cultivation of a personal relationship if it can be helped because it complicates the negotiation process later.
  3. I suggest that we use a modicum of common sense when placing an offer, but if you're really determined to low-ball an offer, then you better have very valid reason as to why you're doing so, because there's a huge chance that you'll offend the seller.
  4. If you're placing an offer and you're giving as much as you can and as is fair, it doesn't hurt to write a letter explaining how wonderful the house is and how you can see yourself (and your family, if applicable) living there and loving it as much as the seller does.
  5. Even after the closing, a thank you note is a great idea. The sale of a house is a very emotional process, and a little bit of love goes a long way. Who knows, you might be doing business together soon, or with someone they know.

So, when it comes to real estate purchasing (and selling), don't leave your manners on the doorstep; wear them proudly like a buyer's badge of honor!