AS Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern commented while visiting a family in Samoa this year, there is nowhere more sacred than your home.
Welcoming visitors is one thing, opening it up to complete strangers is another situation entirely.
When you’re selling a property you get to decide how the open home process is run. If you’re working with a real estate agent, this will be part of the marketing plan which you agree upon with them before you sign the agency agreement. The real estate agent will advise you on the timing and frequency of open homes, or any other viewings. If there is anything you are uncertain about, talk to the agent and make your feelings clear. There’s no law that you have to have open homes – you may decide that you’d rather have viewings by appointment only.
“Bear in mind, though, that in order to sell your home, people will have to see it,” Real Estate Authority (REA) chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said.
“You may have to be flexible on when viewings are held, even if they are not particularly convenient.”
If you are selling privately, you have full responsibility for running any viewings. This can be time-consuming and has the potential to be distressing if you’re not braced to hear other peoples’ criticisms of your property. Some private sellers get a friend to help out for this reason.
When it came to the marketing and selling process of your home, it was a good idea to look at things from the perspective of the real estate agent and any prospective purchaser, Mr Lampen-Smith said.
“Open homes often attract people who are just browsing to see what’s around, or neighbours who have always wanted to see what that house at number 10 is like. The agent will report back to you after the open home to let you know the level of interest – if they have kept an electronic or paper record of visitors, it will give you an indication of how many visitors were sticky beaks from down the street.”
In an ideal world, people would treat your home with respect when viewing it, he said.
“If you suspect they will need reminding, request that the agent asks visitors to remove any wet weather gear or shoes before entering. Most people go on a major cleaning, tidying and de-cluttering mission before putting a property on the market, which will make it much easier to prepare it for an open home. It’s a good idea to clear away any valuables or personal items (if time is short, dump them all in a washing basket which you can pick up and take with you) and use your own commonsense about what you want strangers to see.”
Don’t shove things into cupboards or wardrobes – prospective buyers will be keen to gauge storage capacity. Remember that families with small children could be going through your property and delicate ornaments or family heirlooms might be better out of harm’s way.
“Selling a property can be a stressful time, but you’ll make it much easier on yourself if you work out a plan of attack, including getting the advice of professionals along the way,” Mr Lampen-Smith said.
“Present your home well and it’s more likely to attract another set of owners.”
For independent advice on buying or selling property, go to settled.govt.nz