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Real Estate Etiquette for Beginners

Ok, so let's say you decide it's time to list your home and buy something bigger and better. First off, you KNOW you're going to use a real estate agent. I mean, come on, that should be a no-brainer by now. Agents know the industry from the inside out and take on the unseen headaches that come with the process, all this so YOU don't have to. Did you realize, however, that there are certain rules and etiquette that go along with the real estate world? No? Well, a lot of people don't know these details. Insert Team Gatlin. We are here to walk you through the ins and outs of buying and selling a home with proper etiquette.

Stick with YOUR Agent - #agentknowsbest You've found an amazing agent. One who knows the market, knows the process, and is ready to do their best for you. Most agents will ask you to sign what is known as an "Agent Agreement". This agreement helps to set expectations and protect both agent and buyer/seller. An agreement of this sort will cover term expectations, termination rights, exclusivity of representation, compensation, and agent duties. Signing this agreement is a great way to protect all parties involved and it ensures that your agent is going for FIGHT for you! Of course, it also means that your agent is your ONLY agent. A rather big faux pas in real estate is when a buyer/seller steps around their contracted agent to ask questions and counsel from another. Please don't ever cross that line, let your agent do their job and do your part by working with them exclusively.

There is nothing wrong with calling or emailing a Realtor who has a listing you are interested in directly. Know this though, listing agents also act as “buyer’s agents”. A Buyer’s Agent, is a Realtor that helps a potential buyer in locating homes to go out and view in person. They may show you some of their own personal listings and they may show you other agent’s listings. If you were to call a Listing Agent directly (before calling a buyer’s agent) and they go out and show you a property, technically, you are now their client. Any other listings you go out and see should now be with that same agent, regardless of who's listings they may be!

Effective Communication - #keepthetalksflowing As you start the journey of purchasing or selling a home, you should expect frequent communication from your real estate agent. A professional agent will generally acknowledge receipt of an e-mail, text message, or phone call within a few hours of receiving the message. Jot down questions or concerns you have, then ask away. I can promise you, if your agent doesn't know right off the bat, they'll research and find an answer for you! There are a lot of details that go into buying and selling a home. Terms that you may run across that you don't understand....ask your agent! Want to know about timing and how the process works....ask your agent! Communication between a client and realtor that is open, direct and constant can be a key to a successful real estate endeavor!

Real Estate is a profession based on reputation. As you research which agent or agency to use please keep in mind that while you are the client, they respond better when a mutual respect is forged. Be courteous of how much time you elicit from your Realtor, remember that they have other clients and families of their own to contend with. Please do not be demanding and demeaning, you'd be surprised at how much that happens in this industry. When you build a relationship as Realtor and client you should begin cultivating that open communication we talked about earlier. Frequent dialogue goes a long way, as does a mutual respect of one another. Know and familiarize cultural differences if that presents itself. Just think of the things you can learn from one another!

A matter of showing respect comes into play whenever you may have a meeting with your realtor to go over paperwork or an appointment to attend a showing. Be respectful of their busy schedule by making sure you’re punctual. Realtors have multiple tasks to complete throughout the day and several clients’ needs to tend to, so you don’t want to make a habit out of wasting their time.

Be Ready to Be Serious - #notimeforgames If you know you aren’t completely ready to buy or sell a home, don’t hire a realtor just yet. A good rule of thumb would be to continue to work on your financing and browse listings on your own until you’re fully prepared to commit. Doing this will help keep a realtor from taking time away from other clients who are interested in making an offer now. If you decide to attend any open houses, be honest in letting the listing agent and seller know you’re still shopping around. Honesty and respect go hand in hand!

Learn Some Real Estate Terms - #bereadytounderstand There's a few words or phrases you'll need to familiarize yourself with. Why? Just trust me, you'll need them! Study up and learn the definitions of a few of the most commonly used ones. Some common terms you're going to run across when you delve into the real estate world:

  • Closing costs

  • Days on market (DOM)

  • Due diligence

  • Escrow holder

  • Homeowner’s association (HOA)

  • As-is

  • Multiple listing service (MLS)


  • Buyer's Agent/Listing Agent

  • Closing

  • Conventional sale

  • Land lease

  • Probate sale

  • Real-estate owned (REO)

  • Rent back

  • Subject to inspection

  • Short sale

  • Pre-qualification

  • Pre-approval

  • Principal

  • Proof of funds

  • Purchase and sale agreement

  • Seller disclosure

  • Termite Report

  • VA loan

  • Fixed rate mortgage

  • Hard money loan

  • Mortgage pre-approval letter

  • Adjustable rate mortgage

  • Debt-to-income ratio

  • Earnest money deposit

  • Equity

  • FHA loan

Long story short, the world of real estate does in fact have a certain amount of proper etiquette. To make your process go smoother, take some time to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs. It doesn't have to be a grinding experience, it can be one of relatively smooth sailing! Find the right agent, stick to them, know your terms, know what you're looking for, and be respectful...that about sums it up!! Team Gatlin has four Realtors ready to tackle anything you need! Give us a call today and let them get the ball rolling for you! Team Gatlin - Leading Edge Real Estate Group Susan Gatlin (256) 424-5378 1423 Huntsville Highway Charlie Sullivan (9310 308-5309 Suites A & B Vivian Fisher (931) 224-1928 Fayetteville, TN 37334 Libby Jump (256) 361-9670

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