The message that a well-presented home fetches a higher sale price is clearly finding an audience across Melbourne, so our editor Lisa Davis decided that the time is ripe to eulogise the terrible open, by listing the top-five sure-fire ways to ruin an open for inspection.
1. Take a shower, or better yet, still be in bed, during the open.
This one should probably be called “forget to tell the tenants you changed the inspection time” or “don’t encourage reluctant tenants to help with the sale process”; but there’s nothing quite like the frustrated, apologetic look on a real estate agent’s face when they have to tell prospective buyers that they can’t actually show them the bathroom because “the tenant’s in the shower”.
I’ve seen that face multiple times, but the reddest one involved a crowd of more than a dozen or so homehunters silently bearing witness to a young man clad only in his boxer shorts, hammering on his flatmate’s locked door, yelling “Mate! Wake up! We forgot about the inspection!”
2. Don’t vacuum for two years.
Again, this one was a rental. It was bucketing down with rain that day and the agent requested everyone remove their shoes so as not to trek rain and mud through the dwelling.
This would have been a normal, reasonable request, particularly since the property was only a couple of years old, except that the tenants clearly didn’t understand about vacuuming.
I endured my socks sticking to the crunchy, crusty, gluey carpet for the entirety of the lower level, but absolutely refused to go upstairs, much to the relief of my partner, who had taken one look at the place and shaken their head.
We made straight for the exit and the real estate agent merely nodded at us, and every other potential buyer as we all left, as though she didn’t blame us one bit.
Did we possibly miss out on a bargain? Could we have just replaced the carpet? Maybe.
Have we regretted it? No.
3. Keep your aggressive dog at home during the inspection.
Because nothing says “please feel free to imagine yourself in this home” like the soothing sounds of incessant growls and barks while the dog strains on its chain as if it expects it to give at any moment.
4. Have … interesting neighbours.
There’s not much you can do to manage this one. It’s hardly your fault if the neighbours decide to have rowdy, drunken parties any time you have an inspection, or if they choose to stand in the street and yell at anyone they suspect of being a developer.
But the incident that sticks in my head most was the time a young man put on a martial arts demonstration in the driveway of a house across the road from the one being sold. He shadow boxed hostilely at anyone who passed him on their way into the property. I think he yelled “hi-ya!” a few times as well.
That house passed in at auction, for some odd reason.
5. Forget to hide private belongings away.
I once visited a house for sale that was home to quite the collection of “adult” videos. These had been left stacked in neat piles next to the lounge room television. Many, many neat piles.
Interestingly, the residents of this home also collected vintage porcelain dolls. They nearly filled the entire spare room, each one propped up on a little stand and staring at us all with their dead, glassy eyes.
I am never going to forget that house.
I did not buy it.