Selling Your Home Privately: Open House Inspections

Selling Your Home Privately: Open House Inspections


You know your own home better than anyone else. Which makes you better equipped than any real estate agent to display the key features of your home and to discuss the joys and pleasures of living there. You are also better placed to talk with interested buyers about the neighbourhood and its history, as well as to make recommendations on schools, shops, local service providers and even restaurants.

Remember, the buyer of your home is moving into a new place where they will want to feel welcomed. The more inviting you can make you can make your community and the surrounding environs, the more likely your property will go to the top of their preference list.

When selling your own property you will retain control of the viewings and inspections. Thus you can arrange viewings to suit your schedule, always giving yourself plenty of time to tidy up and put things away. No more frantic cleanups when an agent springs a last-minute inspection on you. With you in control of your marketing campaign, you can plan your Open House to showcase your home to the widest possible market while remaining available for private appointments at other times as required.

Although I do not personally recommend an Open House (my personal preference is to hold “By Appointment Only” viewings), it is a magnet for buyers as it allows people to inspect the property without obligation. Be aware that most people attending an open house have a list of other Open Houses in their area of interest, so your property has to stand out from the competition!

It takes careful planning and preparation to be an instant success (as outlined previously) – and if your home is clean, clutter-free and classy you are already in front of the field.

Whenever you arrange an inspection, be sure to get the name and contact number of the prospective buyers. This way you can contact them should anything cause you to delay or cancel the inspection. Also, for your own security it is best to have another family member or friend present at the time of inspection.

I reinforce some of the earlier suggestions to help you manage the inspection process, and make you aware of some other suggestions too:

* Ensure your house smells clean and fresh.

* Moved any pets outside, including their food and food bowls.

 * Open all drapes and blinds to let as much natural light in as possible.

 * If it’s a nice sunny day, open a couple of windows to let some fresh air flow through the house. If it’s a wintery day, have the fireplace going (the aroma of a fire burning makes a house appear cosy and pleasant).

* Add additional pleasant smells such as freshly brewed coffee, flowers or candles.

* Turn lights on in hallways, bathrooms and other areas where the natural light does not shine.

* Always have a friend or family member present during the inspection.

* Place clean towels and unused soap bars in bathrooms and toilets. If possible, store away personal items such as toothbrushes and cosmetics.

* If in doubt, do not rush into an inspection or a sale.


Have a brochure, fact sheet or flyer handy with details on the property. Include a link to your own website where they can get further details. Hand this to every person who comes for an inspection.

These are my reasons for preferring “By Appointment Only” viewings: An “Open House” can be an excellent way to showcase your property to a large number of prospective buyers when it is at its best. However, be advised that these can be hard to manage and can have additional security concerns (be sure to lock away all valuables). Never, ever conduct an Open House on your own. In fact, it is best to have 4-5 adults on hand to help manage people flows, collect contact details, answer questions, showcase particular features or just provide that extra sense of security.

Here are some suggestions on how to manage an Open House:

  • ALWAYS conduct an Open House with friends and other family members present.

  • employ all the tips given previously on how to increase natural light and introduce fresh smells into the house.

  • position a friend or family member at the entrance to collect name and contact details, answer questions, and suggest a route through the house.

  • hand out your brochure, fact sheet or flyer to each adult as they enter the house (chances are they are going to several inspections that day, so your material will make it easier for them to recall the details of your property).

  • balloons or treats for children at the entrance will make the inspection experience more pleasant for their parents!

  • allow people to wander through the property at their own pace.

  • station a couple of family members or friends in key areas to point out important features (e.g. “this spa tub was installed only six months ago) and to encourage questions.

  • be cheery, engaging and openly respond to any questions.

  • thank each person individually for coming.

Timing – Saturday afternoons are best, with more buyers out looking

Visibility – Open House signs at busy intersections nearby, with directional arrows showing the way, balloons on mailbox and Open House sign in front yard

Availability – make sure your mobile phone number is on promotional materials. Introduce your-self to every person/group attending your Open House, let them know you are available to answer any questions, then leave them alone to appreciate your home – but don’t let them leave without a pamphlet and your contact details! Also, compile a list of visitor’s names and contact details for follow-up.

Accessibility – remove all cars from your driveway and request neighbours not to park in front of your property during Open House times.

Security – lock away small valuables; arrange to have ‘a prospective purchaser’ look-alike wandering around the house to keep a discreet eye on all visitors. Limit the number of people allowed inside at the one time as it is less cluttered and more relaxing for inspection – and easier to monitor visitor behavior.

Professionalism – adhere to specific times for your Open House and make an appointment for anyone attending before or after those times. Tell prospective purchasers you are looking for written offers from qualified purchasers and will not be negotiating the sale at the open.

Be Available to Respond to Every Inquiry

With hundreds of rival properties on the market alongside your property, the prize of a successful sale will always go to those willing to put in the work. A prospective purchaser will not chase you if you don’t answer your phone or emails or if you don’t respond promptly to phone or email messages.

Always have your mobile phone with you and always answer with courteous professionalism. Respond promptly to all emails or messages, providing whatever information is required in a timely manner. Never leave until tomorrow what you can do today – it may cost you the sale!

While Open House times provide an orderly system for showing people through your home, be aware that some people won’t be able to make those times. Always be willing to make appoint-ments for other times and be sensible about adapting those essential principles of preparation for Open House Inspections in terms of timing, promotion, visibility, availability, accessibility, security and professionalism. Remember, you only want to sell your property once and this one request for inspection may be that one buyer you are seeking.

Always keep a handful of pamphlets or brochures with you and look for opportunities to give them out or place them in high visibility locations, such as supermarket or school notice boards, shop windows or professional waiting rooms, like doctors surgeries and dentists surgeries.

Finally, have a “can do” approach to all inquiries. If you don’t have the answer, assure them you can get it …. then promptly do so!


Please read more in the next article……

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