Seven Ways To Ruin Your Listing Tour

 

The Internet is a great tool for looking at homes for sale, but sooner or later, you're going to have to get offline and tour listings in person. That means you'll have to find a real estate agent to get you past the lockboxes. Sounds simple? Not really. Here are six ways you could turn your house-hunting trip into an epic fail.

 

Calling the listing agent -- Listing agents represent the seller, not you. Some states allow an agent to serve both you and the seller if you're willing to sign a disclosure to that effect. Depending on what kind of agreement you sign, the listing agent can't advise you anyway and could be obliged to report back to the seller every word you said.

Listing agents also want to sell their own listings, or their broker's listings, so you may not get the full picture of what's for sale. You may not get to see their competitors' listings until they've exhausted showing you the in-house listings first.

Taking your kids along -- Kids get cranky, they're distracting, they have to be fed, they wet their pants, and they break stuff. And letting them "pick their rooms" when you haven't even made an offer is just stupid. It confuses them and opens you up to a lot of miserable "But Daddy, …" questions later. Which you deserve.

Taking a slew of relatives - It's okay to take Mom and Dad to see homes, especially if they're coughing up the down payment for you. But be an adult and do the first-viewings without them. You can select your own home, can't you? On the second pass, you can show them the ones you're most interested in, and invite them to weigh in with their opinions.

Keep in mind that the more people you bring along, the more opinions you'll have to listen to. There's no way to please everyone, so matter which house you pick, you'll offend someone that you didn't choose their favorite.

Staying on your phone -- Millennials were born with cellphones in their hands, but you miss a lot when you're paying more attention to a screen than in screening houses. Texting means you're distracted, and making the most important purchase of your life is not the time to Instagram your friends. Taking pictures makes you look like you're casing the joint for a robbery, so save the selfies for when your offer is accepted.

Eliminating ugly homes too fast -- Fixer-uppers can be treasures, or don't you watch any HGTV? Don't diss homes because the paint or wallpaper's outdated -- that can be easily changed. The beauty of ugly homes is that the price is usually low enough that you can afford to make your own updates. A little DIY could be good for you. Just think of the bragging rights you'll have as your friends ooh and aaah over the changes you made.

Not trusting your REALTOR® -- If you don't trust your agent, you picked the wrong one. You do stupid things like take your own car while viewing listings, missing out on valuable information your agent can share about the area, the home, and other homes for sale or that have recently sold. You'll also learn more about how your agent does business. Take notes. If you want to talk privately, simply ask the agent for a few minutes alone.