Inspection Basics

Seller's handbook, Inspection Basics

Sellers Guide: How to prepare my house for an open inspection sale?

It is good inspection practice to keep a guest book, placed on a table right at the front entrance. At the minimum this book should have lined columns for visitor’s name, current street address, phone number and possibly email. If you plan to hold open houses and you anticipate many inspections you may consider lining a column for information that pre-qualifies buyers to you. This is so you can find out who are potential keen buyers – those who require your full attention – as opposed to just-looking visitors who are only useful for spreading the word. These pre-qualifier fields could be a “do you need to move houses soon?” field or maybe “are you currently selling a home also?”

Your guest book is a way of monitoring how successful you are at getting quality buyers to inspect. Use it to keep up contact with promising leads and don’t be shy to re-contact people even after a long absence. It is especially important to re-contact people to let them know any ‘attractive’ change to your listing, the most important of which is a price drop!

Have any anticipated documents at hand such as your property flyers, water bills, council rates and the contract of sale. Be neat and punctual for any inspection. You want to inspire confidence in any buyer and set the tone for any future negotiations.

Try not to crowd visitors. Relaxed tours work best, giving the visitor personal space, but you should still be close by enough for any questions. Take your cue from the visitor’s personality style.

Make sure you are not alone for an inspection, both for personal security reasons and to monitor valuables. Whilst it is very rare for there to be theft at inspections, avoid temptation by locking up or hiding anything valuable that can be easily lifted into a pocket. Never give out personal information or any indication of when your house may be left unattended. Keeping a guest book is one of your best security devices.

Choose your open home inspection time

For public liability reasons, quite apart from the obvious marketing advantages of a neat home, tidy away kids toys, extension cords or anything the visitor might trip up on. Loose steps or iffy verandah railings are a must fix! Particularly if you are going to hold an open house, do a safety walk through of your home. Is there any paving on the front path you tend to trip up on yourself? Do you need to put up a mind-your-head notice anywhere under the house? Can you lock off any areas that might not be safe for kids?

Your potential buyer may have different preferences from you, and many people are not thrilled about animals. Because of this you should lock up pets. A cat might be okay to leave wander if puss is a bit aloof but a friendly dog has scared away many a sale. Particularly if your dog is a barker, it is better to arrange a friend’s place for dog sitting rather than lock pooch up. Anyway, it is good to give your best friend the occasional holiday too! Recognize that there are many people who get irritated by the sound of barking or who are allergic to or even fearful of dogs. Deodorize any pet smells and chuck away litter trays.

The Open House Question.

This is a controversial area in real estate. Agents love “Open For Inspections” as they primarily use Home showing is as much theater as mere conveying of informationthem to network sellers, so as to catch people onto their books. However, only five percent of their sales go to someone who first inspected throuShowing your home for sale is as much theatre as mere conveying of an open house, so in a sense agents are using open houses for their own ends rather than the seller’s needs. Also a problem with open houses is that they can attract unmotivated buyers, bargain hunters who have been just casually looking for a long time and also a lot of people who have no intention of buying, such as curious neighbors. Non-serious lookers might divert you from giving full attention to a potential buyer who might be inspecting at the same time as these crowds.

So should you hold an open house considering this low rate of motivated buyers? Despite these disadvantages we at feel that holding a few open houses is a useful tool for sellers to get the word out about their do it yourself house sale. You are more isolated from agent channels of buyers so it is necessary to market push your home a little. As such, open houses can be a great way of generating marketing buzz.

Importantly also, Open For Inspection lists of times and addresses that are in major regional papers give you access to a large city group of buyers who use open houses as an efficient way of visiting many homes all on the one day. Make sure to advertise in these lists before holding any open house.

Selling privately has advantages in Open For Inspections that agents do not have. There is a greater sense of trust and of this being a neighbourhood event, since there is not the formality of a third party agent standing guard. Before holding an open house, do a letterbox drop informing the local community that they are welcome to pop in and just have a look. In a For Sale By Owner you can muster friends and family to support you on such busy days. Many willing helpers gives the place a festive air even before a single visitor has turned up. You yourself will be free to give your full attention to any keen looking buyers that visit during busy times. Your helpers can then hand out flyers and chat to any ‘just-looking’ visitors or neighbours who pop by. Having more people on hand means you can monitor visitors for fielding questions and for your belonging’s security.

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