One of the great things about being a real estate agent is the flexibility. If your client can’t meet for lunch, you can see them at a coffee shop after dinner. You can meet them at a park, your office—even their own home.
It’s a daunting prospect: you show up, CMA in hand, and walk into the house of a relative stranger. Their lives involve different rituals and habits than yours. Some people like a lived-in home, others keep their possessions spotless. How can you be prepared ahead of time to be a welcome guest in your client’s home?
It starts with a very simple, common-sense idea: if you wouldn’t want them to do it in your house, don’t do it in theirs. Ignorance of personal in-home customs can be forgiven, so long as you display a desire to follow good manners.
Keep these simple ideas in mind, and you’ll be on your way to a successful in-home client meeting!
1. Bring a small gift.
Even if you just have time to stop for a cup of coffee for both you and the client, come with something in hand to give them. It shows that you are grateful for the invitation into their home.
2. Take your shoes off.
Yes, many people leave their shoes on when walking around their own house, but the chances of really offending someone—or marking up their beautiful, clean home—are too much to assume. Kick off your shoes when you first get inside and leave them close to the door. You can always put them back on if your host insists. And don’t forget to wear some nice socks!
3. Leave your pets in the car.
Your dog may come along with you to every client meeting, but Poochy can’t come inside. Without explicit permission, leave your pets in a shaded area with some air flow and go out to check on them periodically. Better yet, leave your pets at home when you’re meeting a client at their house.
4. Ask to sit down
If it looks like really nice furniture, ask if you can sit down. Don’t assume that every chair and couch is for plopping down. Your client will likely offer you a seat, and if they don’t, make a point of asking.
5. Ask for a glass of water
If you’re thirsty it’s perfectly okay to ask for water, but never ask for food. Water costs next to nothing to provide, while preparing a snack requires effort and resources. When offered food, however, feel free to eat! Avoid bad table manners but enjoy yourself. Your client will appreciate seeing their hospitality accepted so graciously.
6. Don’t take phone calls.
If you must answer an important call, excuse yourself and go out to your car. Otherwise, remember to put your phone on silent before you even knock on the door.
7. Lend a hand in cleaning up.
There’s no need to play maid, but if your host starts bussing away the plates and glasses, offer to help out. Doing the dishes is much faster with two people, and you forge invaluable connections with people when you work side by side with them. (If your host insists you stay where you are, don’t try to overrule them!)
8. Say please and thank you.
They might be your client, but you’re still their guest!
What other tips would you share with your fellow real estate professionals on how to conduct yourself in a client’s home? Tell us in the comments, and feel free to share what you like to bring along, too!