Allowing the public access to your property in a bid to sell it quickly may sound like a reasonably sound course of action – but it pays to be aware of the pitfalls before you declare open house.
Buyer Solutions managing director Janet Spencer says “there are definitely pros and cons when it comes to open for inspections”.
Ms Spencer, who has worked as both a real estate agent and a buyers’ agent in a 25-year property industry career, says on the positive side of the ledger the open-for-inspections approach allows large groups of people through your home in a relatively short timeframe, maximising a property’s exposure to potential buyers.
“I guess the positive is that you are at home for 30 minutes to show 30 to 40 groups and potential buyers through at the same time,’’ says Ms Spencer, who is the Victorian representative of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA).
“You don’t have to make 30 separate appointments (for potential buyers to visit). It’s a time management tool. A con – non-positive – is that during a busy viewing the potential buyer doesn’t have as much time as they would have had at a private viewing.
“Also the selling agent is not going to be able to have a good lengthy discussion about the property with each potential buyer.’’
Short timeframes and restrictions can also limit the appeal of an open-for-inspection tour for buyers.
Ms Spencer recalls one open for inspection she was involved in where potential buyers could not take photos of a property’s interior because the tenant had his or her belongings on display.
The buyers’ agent advises sellers to take precautions such as storing valuables in a safe place before agreeing to open their home to strangers.
“People should not leave their jewellery and perfume bottles out,” she says.
“Remove the temptation. Make sure they are all safely locked away.”
Ms Spencer adds that in another security precaution many agents ask for addresses and photo identification before allowing people into a house they have open for inspection.
She points out that it is “common practice” for agents to ask for names and addresses at inspections while the requirement for photo ID is “an emerging trend”.
“If you don’t provide one or the other you can be refused entry,” she says.
“All of this done, of course, to safeguard the interests of the vendor.”
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