James Cumisky | East Quogue Real Estate, West Hampton Real Estate, West Hampton Beach Real Estate


When you’re shopping for a home, it’s essential to find a balance between being respectful of the owner’s privacy and being open enough that you ask the right questions and find out what you need to know about the home.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover all of the etiquette and best practices when it comes to viewing someone’s home that you’re interested in buying.

Basic etiquette

Before we get into the fine details of questions to ask and what areas are okay to explore, let’s take a minute to discuss the basic etiquette of entering someone’s home.

First, make sure you arrive on time and ready to tour the home. Being late will give the seller and their agent the perception that you might not be a serious buyer if you aren’t arriving at the showing on time.

Additionally, when you first enter the home, it’s a good idea to ask if you should take off your shoes. Some homeowners have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy that they extend to guests as well as friends and family. But, at the very least, make sure that your shoes are clean so you don’t track mud around the home.

In terms of cleanliness, make sure you dress appropriately for the showing and that you don’t bring in food or drinks. You don’t want to be dropping crumbs or spilling coffee in a home that is being kept meticulously clean for house showings.

Ask the right questions

As you are viewing the home, it’s appropriate to ask questions that may come up. Feel free to ask about the age of the home and when repairs and renovations were made.

It’s also fine to ask questions about the neighborhood and town if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Traffic and noise levels are pertinent information for any serious buyer. And these are questions that will be vital to understanding the home better and whether it’s a good fit for you at the moment.

Where can you snoop?

It’s a good idea to ask before opening cabinets, closets, and doors the first time. But these are all reasonable things to expect to be able to look inside of when buying a home.

It’s not a good idea, however, to look inside nightstands, dressers, and other compartments that are more private and personal.

If a homeowner or agent asks that you don’t enter a room entirely, such as a bedroom, bathroom, or basement, this is a major red flag that there’s an issue with the room in question. Every room of the home should be in-bounds when it comes to viewing a home that you might someday buy.

At the end of the viewing

Once the viewing is over, it’s best to simply compliment the home, offer your thanks for the tour, and head home to consider your experience.

Avoid making any sharp criticism of the home before leaving, and don’t mention any negotiations or ask questions about the pricing at this point. It’s better to leave on a positive note and have these discussions in private with your family before taking your offers to the seller.