Open inspection or by appointment?
by John McGrath
When selling your home, you’ll have to decide whether you would like to open it to the general public for inspection or let your agent arrange buyers to inspect the home by appointment. I don't necessarily think one way is better than the other, but when I'm buying I really love the flexibility of open homes.
A lot of properties I've bought have been from a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to an open home. I've been browsing the property section of Saturday's paper over breakfast when a property has caught my eye. I’ve thought to myself, ‘Wow, that looks great. I'm going to check that out at midday.’.
Open inspections are convenient and allow buyers to be spontaneous. I believe for many if they had to ring up an agent and make a specific appointment to go and see it, their excitement could have waned and some would probably never have bothered to inspect the property.
Because there are several (maybe dozens) of buyers congregated at an open home, it can create a bit of excitement amongst them. It gets their competitive juices flowing, and that's good for the selling price. It is also easier to clean up the home for twice-weekly opens than keeping it clean all the time in case the agent calls and wants to bring a buyer around.
However, inspection by appointment does have its place. If your property isn't highly attractive from outside, but a gem on the inside, inspections by appointment may be the better option. It's less likely buyers with an appointment will drive by and reject your home from the street without inspecting it, and during the inspection the agent will be able to emphasise the best features. Inspection by appointment can also be good for small homes because too many people at one time can make the home seem smaller.
Choosing between open inspections and private appointments is a decision you should make in consultation with your agent, as they will be able to present the pros and cons of each option in your marketplace.
While we’re on the subject, here’s a few general tips in relation to inspections…
While it is tempting to hang around and have a stickybeak at the people who might be moving into your home, it is best to leave your home while the inspections are on. Buyers generally feel more comfortable when the owners aren't around. They can talk freely amongst themselves. A good agent will always give you an update on buyer feedback after each inspection.
Don't forget, dozens of strangers will be roaming through your property on each inspection day and there is a risk of theft. While your agent and their assistants will be conscious of the security of your property and possessions, they don't have eyes in the backs of their heads. So it's sensible for you to take a few simple precautions. Lock away or remove all your valuables, especially small items such as jewellery, wallets and camera equipment. It's also prudent to check if your insurance policy covers you for home inspections.
On the day of an inspection, give your buyers a positive impression by creating an inviting ambience. For me, presentation goes right down to the music you play at the inspection. Some people go to the extent of buying fresh flowers, brewing a pot of coffee or baking or buying fresh bread. It all goes towards creating an ambience and suggesting a certain lifestyle and I think there's a place for it all.
But treat your buyers with respect. You don't want to try to hoodwink them or trick them because buyers are more sophisticated than ever. But there's nothing wrong with adding a little bit of theatre to the process to enhance their experience!
Published: Friday, June 01, 2012blog comments powered by Disqus