Who is wandering through your home?
Opening your home for public inspection is one of the worst mistakes you can make when selling your home.
It is always a financial mistake, but it can also be your worst emotional mistake.
Do you ever leave your front door open and allow strangers to wander through your home? Of course not, it would be madness. Anyone might come through.
This is exactly what happens when your agent holds your home open for inspection. Anyone is invited to just march up to your front door and wander through your home. They walk through your lounge room, they go into your bedrooms and they open cupboards. Total strangers intruding into the heart of your personal world. This is very dangerous.
Your local video store will not rent a $10 movie without identification, yet all over Australia, anyone can walk into any family home and agents barely notice. Agents will even tell complete strangers how alarm systems operate. Just because your home is for sale, it doesn’t mean you have to place your safety at risk. It is your home. You have a right to know who enters it.
When selling the only people who should inspect your home are people who are likely to buy it. You want buyers, not burglars. And the only way to know if a person is a buyer or a burglar is to identify them before they enter your home. It is very hard to do this with a sign on the street saying ‘Open for Inspection’. Ask at your local Police Station or ask your insurance company. They know the dangers, that is why your home is usually not insured when open for inspection.
After the Inspection
The biggest point which agents and most homeowners ignore is the danger after inspection. Some agents say they have been doing open inspections for years and they have ‘ never had a problem’. These agents miss a fairly obvious point; your home will rarely be robbed during the open inspection. Thieves do not load your possessions into a van while the open inspection is taking place. They come back later.
There are two questions to ask before anyone comes into your home; “Who are you?” and “What do you want?” It is better to be blunt now than sorry later. The best agents will qualify all buyers on your behalf. They will sort ‘prospects’ from ‘suspects’. The best agents will respect your privacy and your safety. This is the way it should be.
Inconvenient and Impersonal
Open inspections restrict the chances of a sale and greatly reduce the chance of obtaining the best price. If you are a homebuyer, what would you rather do – meet an estate agent who shows you homes at a time convenient for you or would you prefer to drive around inspecting open houses at a time set by the agent? Homebuyers prefer to meet helpful agents. They are fed up with agents who do not return calls, who tell them to “inspect at certain hours” and who have a couldn’t care less attitude.
Open inspections force buyers to look at other homes which are in competition with your home. If your home is similar to others in your area and you allow an open inspection, you are going to be offered a price on par with the lowest price being asked by the sellers of a similar property. The buyers can also make negative comments within earshot of other buyers. One buyer who dislikes your home can influence other buyers. The next time you are at an open house, you will most likely see this take place. Buyers love the convenience of seeing properties at a time that suits them. Sellers love the prices they obtain when they avoid open homes. Both are happy. The agents are happy because they sell more homes, which normally happens when they do what is best for sellers and buyers.