Over the years we have seen many things that have turned some prospective buyers off during an open for inspection – first impressions certainly count. Here's a list of our top 10 no-no’s when it comes to preparing for an open home…
Make sure your agent has a full set of keys
There is nothing worse than turning up to an open home, only to find that the agent can’t access the property in its entirety. Many sellers, or tenants prefer to hide a spare set of keys for the agent to use each time they inspect the property - this works in theory, however there have been many instances where the person in charge of leaving the keys out has forgotten to do so. Issues can also arise when the agent is only provided with (1) one single key, only to arrive and find out that the dead lock that is “Never Locked” has been locked by mistake. This will not only waste time, but will also create a poor first impression!
2.Not vacating the property during the private inspection or open home
When it comes to selling a tenanted property, the tenant(s) are encouraged to vacate the property for ~45 minutes during the inspection, however this in not enforceable. When the owner is occupying the property they may think that they are helping by talking to prospective purchasers, however it is our experience that this can do more damage than good and can make a prospective purchaser feel uncomfortable and ultimately eliminates them from sharing their true thoughts, feedback and objections with the agent in fear of offending the seller. This feedback is valuable in the agent establishing the motivation of the prospective purchaser and offers the agent a way to implement their skills in negotiation to overcome the objection(s).
3. Having a shower just prior to the inspection
After frantically running around all morning preparing the property for prospective buyers to walk through the door, the vendor ‘without thinking' may decide to take a “quick shower” without realising that it will leave a wet, or damp bathroom with a foggy mirror, wet shower mat and water running down the shower screen. Avoid using the shower or bath ‘prior’ to the open home!
4. You might not smell your pets, but others can
Although pet lovers ourselves, some prospective purchasers may not be and/or could have an allergic reaction upon entry to your home. Avoid the first impression of your home being “these owners must have an inside dog”, due to visible pet hair on the furniture – this can result in a prospective purchaser walking around sneezing throughout the inspection making a scene, or even walk out completely. Ensure all “land mines” are collected from the outdoor areas and that any kitty litter trays are disposed of prior to all inspections.
5. A dirty kitchen or evidence of last night’s take away
Many sellers opt for take away the night before an open home to minimise the mess in preparing dinner, however many make the mistake of leaving the empty pizza box in the kitchen or leaving an empty wine bottle and/or glasses sitting in the dish drainer.
6. Showing the property at the wrong time of day because it suits you best
When selling a property, you need to be as accommodating as possible with regards to inspection times - this is especially important when it comes to booking in for an open home. If you have a north facing back yard that fills your home with natural light, this is the time you need to be running your open home. This may disrupt a child’s sleeping routine, however showing a property at an incorrect time (i.e. not showcasing the best features of the property) could also cost you tens of thousands of dollars in your final sale price, what would you prefer?
7. Messy gardens or untidy lawns
Keeping the inside of your property clean for an open home is certainly important, however the front and rear yard(s) are just as important. The front yard and/or facade is often the first thing a prospective purchaser will see when walking up to your home. Having last week's rolled up newspaper on the front step or footpath is not the lasting first impression you want to leave for your prospective purchaser - if you’re stuck for time, consider employing a lawn and garden maintenance company to take care of the lawns for you so they look nice and fresh come each inspection.
8. Sending friends of family members to your open home to make comments about how good the property is or to gather “overheard feedback”
This happens more than often than you might think… Traditionally, a group will walk up to the front door and when asked for their contact details upon entry, they will say “nar, its okay – I’m just a friend of the owner”! For starters, they may be a friend, however it is unlikely that the selling agent is aware of this connection, secondly refusing to leave details can also set a precedent for other prospective purchasers being that they too aren’t required to leave their details upon entry. It is important for your agent to receive these details upon entry so that the agent can make follow up. Lastly it is often hard for a friend of family member to not get defensive if a negative comment is made by a prospective purchaser – in this scenario, this feedback gets back to the owner and is often taken out of context.
9. Leaving your car parked in the driveway during the inspection
You may plan to take the kids or dog for a walk during your open home – this is a great option, just don’t leave the car behind! Make the effort in parking your car down the road or take it with you if possible. Having the driveway / the off street parking open and available can give prospective purchasers a sense of space – even more so if you have a tighter single driveway, as it will also help to ensure buyers are not forced to walk on the wet grass or garden beds to access your property.
10. Leaving appliances running during the inspection
Yes, it's great that your property comes with a dishwasher, however it doesn’t need to be running during the open home. This is also applicable to running a clothes drier or washing machine during the open home. It’s best to ensure that the full-cycle has been completed long before the start of the inspection, otherwise if you think you might be cutting it fine - play it safe and wait until the open home has been completed.