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Proper Protocol for Open Inspections

By Claire Briggs
Visiting homes for sale as part of an open inspection is a normal part of the buying process. However, if you’ve never been to an open inspection before, you may have a number of questions regarding protocol.
Fortunately, like most things in life, a little common sense and politeness go a long way. At the same time, it’s important to use an open inspection to your full advantage.

Focus on the property

Shaking hands and saying hello is expected, but an open inspection serves a very specific purpose, and socialising isn’t it. The home owner is hoping to attract serious buyers and you’re looking to see if the property for sale is one you’d be interested in. Keep this in mind during the inspection. It can be easy to get bogged down in glad-handing and free hors d’oeuvres, but you’re there with a job to do.

Be respectful

An open inspection is your chance to investigate a property, and while you should take full advantage of this, it’s important not to overstep. In general, stay out of any rooms that have been closed. If you’re unsure if a specific room can’t be seen, speak to the host of the event. Also, when checking to see if closets, drawers and pantries have enough storage room for you needs, don’t rummage through other people’s belongings. An open inspection isn’t a yard sale, after all.

Don’t interrogate

It’s a great idea to ask questions about the property and the surrounding neighbourhood, but you should do so politely. Turning a chat about local schools into a verbal confrontation about the home seller’s motivations for leaving the area might not play out well for you. However, obtaining as much information as you can about the suburb is wise – provided you do so politely.

Think big picture

The most important part of an open inspection is you. This could be your future home, after all. Therefore, take the time to check out the property for sale and make note of what you do and don’t like. However, instead of getting bogged down in tiny details, try to get a sense of the property as a whole. Little things can be fixed, be it wallpaper you’re not a fan of or a lighting fixture that needs to be replaced. What you want to be on the lookout for are major issues, such as the foundation, the roof and how the plumbing performs. While it’s essential that you have the home inspected by a professional before purchasing, use your visit to an open inspection to narrow down your search by keeping the big issues in mind.

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