I've been dealing with more and more occupied homes, from listings and showings. People trying to do short sales, or tenants finding themselves caught in the middle. I currently have a home listed with an occupant/tenant, and I have experienced some interesting things. What's amazing is, I have found myself in the position of turning away potential buyers (and their agents) to protect the privacy rights of the home's occupants.
I have come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with an occupied home is with common courtesy. Here are 7 things to remember when viewing an occupied home:
1. Give as much notice as possible. 24 hours is a minimum for tenants.
2. When making an appointment, discuss times that would work best for them for future appointments. Don't show the home before 10:00AM or after 7:00PM, if possible.
3. Don't knock on the door and disturb the tenants because "Well, we'll just ask because we are here". This attitude puts an occupant in the awkward position of saying "No".
4. The house is someone's home, with their personal possessions. Be sure to keep "touching" to a respectful minimum. Looking in closets and rooms is expected, opening drawers and medicine cabinets would be unacceptable.
5. Occupants are going through a stressful time by having to leave their home. Understand if they seem impatient or short when you are requesting to view or show their home. Take a moment to listen to their concerns or frustrations.
6. Realtors, appraisers, etc...leave your business card with a kind comment on the back if possible, to let occupants know you did show the home and appreciated their efforts.
7. If you know you will be unable to show the home, call the occupants and let them know the showing was cancelled. This will go a long way in future appointments.
A little common courtesy is not much to give to someone who is allowing us to walk through their home, unsupervised and to strangers.