If you have chosen to remain in your rental home while it is for sale, you will have to accommodate potential buyers who want to view the property. Preparing your home for an inspection can be stressful and overwhelming, but it does get easier each time. You really only have to focus on three things: Cleanliness, Security and Availability.
My Landlord Is Selling: Inspections/Viewings
Being a tenant in a house that's for sale can be disruptive and stressful, but it's easier if you know what's required of you.
If you don't follow a cleaning routine or keep your home 'company ready' at all times, the few hours leading up to a viewing can be hectic. The first few times usually involve a whirlwind of activity, as you aim for the impression of being a domestic god/goddess. Don't stress - after a few viewings your good intentions fall by the wayside and it becomes easier. If you're domestically-challenged, the easiest way to prepare for an inspection is:
- Focus completely on one room at a time. Make the bed, straighten cushions, pick things up off the floor, and run a duster over surfaces. Any easily-concealed valuables should be placed out of sight. Don't just throw everything into cupboards - sometimes they look in there!
- Allocate more time to bathroom areas. Wipe down the basin, bath and any fixtures. Remove soap scum from glass shower surrounds. Hang towels neatly. If you have an open laundry basket in the bathroom, ensure that underwear isn't visible.
- Blitz the kitchen. Wash dishes if needed. Wipe down the sink, stove and counter tops. Check for food splatter around cooking areas. Wipe appliances over if necessary.
- Walls & floors. Remove any cobwebs. Do a run through with the broom or vacuum cleaner. Shake and vacuum floor mats. Mop floors if needed.
- Yard & gardens. Try to keep the lawn mowed, and garden beds weeded.
- Air freshener can be a nice touch.
If you are concerned about security and safety while your home is advertised for sale, please read My Landlord Is Selling: What To Expect.
The agent responsible for the selling should make inspection appointments for a set time, with a reasonable amount of notice. If you want to be present while buyers are shown through the house, discuss with the agent what times are suitable for you. If you are comfortable allowing the agent and potential buyers into your home while you're not there, let the agent know but make sure they still inform you of when they will be there. The tenancy act relevant to your area should detail the maximum number of viewings permitted per week, so check that both you and the agent are complying with the legislation.
Being Present For Viewings
Very little is required of you if you choose to be home during a viewing. Just go about your normal activities. Though if you like to dress in spiked leather and swing from the chandelier, I suggest waiting until after potential buyers have left - they may be concerned about the weight capacity of the ceilingware.
Most of the people who inspect the property will realise that it is your home, and will be respectful of that. If there is a room that you are not comfortable with strangers being in, it's easy to create a 'pyschological barrier'. For example, when the agent brings viewers through the house I rent, I usually stay in the lounge room to remain out of the way. So far, not a single person has stepped into the room - they just politely acknowledge me, poke their head in for a quick glance, and continue through the rest of the house. They freely inspect everywhere else - opening built-in wardrobes, etc - but they try hard to not intrude or offend, and only make conversation with the agent. I'm not suggesting that you run ahead of buyers into each room and pose like a deranged ninja, but this can be effective in a particular area of the house if needed.
Don't hesitate to discuss a few ground rules with the agent. If you prefer that children are not brought into the house, or you don't want people to approach your pets for example, inform the agent of that. It takes very little effort for them to make their clients aware of your wishes. The agent should be understanding and happy to oblige.
Remember that it is not your job to sell the house or showcase its best features. That's what the agent gets paid to do. As long as the property is presentable and you're courteous to potential buyers, there isn't much more that can be asked of you.
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