Should you walk right in to a property inspection? Is it ok to open doors and cupboards? Should you ask questions?
Before you attend a property inspection, brush up on proper open home etiquette with this quick and easy guide.
Attending a fair share of property inspections is essential in the search for your first or next home. It provides you with the opportunity to see the home first hand, understanding what you love and any potential issues.
A certain amount of poking and prodding is to be expected but there are basic rules that everyone should follow when attending an open home.
Definite dos during a property inspection
Walk right in
Most real estate agents will be positioned at or near the front door to welcome all visitors to an inspection. However, sometimes they get busy walking prospective buyers through the home.
If the inspection has been advertised online and there’s an open for inspection sign out front, feel free to walk right in. There is no need to ring the doorbell or knock. Just remember to wipe your feet before entering, especially if it’s raining.
The purpose of attending a property inspection is to get to know the house, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. The agents are there to help. Some questions you should definitely ask include:
- Why is the owner selling?
- How long has the property been on the market?
- Are there any known issues with the home or property?
Check for breaks, leaks and squeaks
One of the main purposes of attending an inspection is to identify any potential issue with the house. In your search, it’s ok to do things like open cupboards, check the water pressure, and measure spaces. Just make sure you’re polite about it and always ask first.
If you come across any areas of the home that are closed off, you should ask for permission from the agent before entering.
Take photos or video, with permission
While most real estate sites allow agents to upload photos, floor plans and videos of the property, you may want to take a few extra snaps when you’re walking through. That’s totally fine, but you must ask for permission first.
When you’re speaking to the agent, ask them if it’s ok if you take a few photos or a video as you walk through. You should also be mindful of the owner’s possessions. There’s no need to photograph personal items.
Bring the family
If you’re searching for a space that suits the entire family, it’s important to bring the kids along. Their input can be invaluable when it comes to deciding on the perfect home. Have a chat with them beforehand, reminding them to be respectful of other people and the property.
Definite don’ts during a property inspection
Park in the driveway
Even if your parking options are limited, you should never park in the driveway at a property inspection. Not only is it impolite to the owners of the home, but it can block the view of the home for other prospective buyers.
Bring drinks or enter barefoot
Most property inspections are held on the weekend to allow prospective buyers to fit it into their schedules. Weekend casual dress code is definitely fine, but don’t get too relaxed. Remember that you’re still walking through someone else’s home.
You should never rock up without shoes, and you should never enter with food or drink that may spill and cause a mess.
Monopolise the agent’s time
Asking questions is a-ok when inspecting a home (see above), but don’t monopolise the agent’s time. Be mindful that the agent will need to attend to other people as well.
Ask any questions, build a bit of a rapport and then move on. Chances are they will have a card and a property flyer with further information about the home available for you to take with you. You can follow up by calling the agent after the inspection if you have any further questions.
Snoop through personal belongings
As mentioned, a certain amount of poking and prodding is acceptable when you’re walking through an open home, but you should never cross the line into snooping.
There is no reason to touch or go through anyone’s personal belongings. Don’t open dresser drawers. Don’t look through the medicine cabinet. Don’t rifle through closets or peek under the bed. And if you come across any closed doors, make sure you ask before entering them.
Loudly criticise the property
There’s a good chance that you’re going to see a few duds in your search for the right property. It’s important to remember not to speak openly and loudly about how much you dislike a property during a property inspection.
Not only is it disrespectful to the agent and all the other people inspecting the home, but neighbours or friends might be present. Your comments could easily make it back to the seller.
It’s best to wait for the ride home before you vent. If you do come across any issues while inspecting a property you’re interested in, make a list of any concerns and approach the agent after the inspection to discuss them privately.