Searching for a home to rent or buy? Most likely you or you and your realtor will be visiting homes that are listed for rent or for sale. Are there “showing rules” when entering and viewing a home? Well, yes……kind of. Etiquette is a code of  proper and polite behavior. Rules are a set of explicit or understood regulations or guidelines. I believe when showing a home there is a bit of both.

You are at the 5th house on your showing tour and you must use the bathroom. Should you? Always ask. Many vacant homes may have the water shut off and you do not want to go there! If the home is occupied, you may not want to take the liberty of using the facilities. If it is an emergency, you have no other choice (as long as water is turned on). Best plan of action is to schedule in a few pit stops at restaurants or gas stations along the way.

Can you bring coffee or a snack into the house with you? Coffee or a drink is OK for the most part. Plan to have a lid on it or bring your beverage in a “to go” thermos. Be careful as you do not want to spill drinks on a white carpet. If you can go without it for the duration of the showing, I would suggest that. Snacks and food is not OK unless the seller has left out cookies or such. If they have, eat over a napkin in the kitchen only.

Can you peak in closets and open drawers? Absolutely, but don’t rifle around or touch anything. Buying a home is probably the biggest purchase you’re ever going to make, and you need to check out everything which includes closets and drawers.

Can you take photos? With smartphones being practically an appendage for many buyers, snapping pics to share with friends and family is so easy. But hold your trigger finger, especially if you’re planning to share the images online. Always ask permission. Many home sellers do not want their valuables or personal items photographed.

Can you sit down on the furniture? Not the best idea or practice. It is not your furniture and you are not buying the furniture. Plus, many homes are staged and that comfy looking bed may be cardboard boxes covered with bedding. You could take a bad spill if you sat on that! If you have a health issue or broken ankle, ask if you can take a short rest, preferably on a kitchen chair or unupholstered bench.

Be on your best behavior. Treat your visit into the home as if someone was visiting your home. How would you want people to act in your home? Also, turn off all lights that you turned on upon entering the house. Lock all doors including sliding doors and back doors if you unlocked them. Do not adjust or touch the temperature on the thermostat. If you had to disarm an alarm upon entering the home, make sure you rearm it upon leaving. If there are any issues or problems during the showing, make sure you have the owner’s or agent’s contact number to call.