Open House Vs Private Inspection

One of the most important things that you can do when it comes to selling your home, is to find the best qualified real estate agent to meet your needs in order to get the best possible result for you.

This can also include their opinion on the inspection process.  This can seem like a daunting task to some, but it is an integral part of the process for both buyers and sellers.  It means preparing to present your home for sale in the best possible light. This can mean hours of work and improvements to maximise the price you may achieve for your property.  It means basically inviting strangers to come and take a wander through your home. Expect buyers to be critical of your most prized possession, to open up cupboards, drawers, and other intimate areas of your daily life. This can be intimidating to sellers, to say the least.

It’s important to remember that there are two types of property inspections – Open Homes or Private Inspections. Both of these offer numerous benefits but may have different outcomes depending on how the inspection process is managed.

Advantages of Open Inspections

Open House – Anne Harris Realty

In an Open Inspection, a specific time and date is set for potential buyers to drop by and walk through the property for a viewing. This event is publicly advertised, and usually held on weekends to maximise the number of people who may attend the inspection. This may include several types of buyers:

  • Those who live in the same neighbourhood and are interested in buying
  • Individuals who may be thinking about buying in the future but are not interested in the commitment of a private inspection
  • Buyers who are not yet sure what they’re looking for but are willing to view a variety of properties to find out
  • Friends and relatives of potential buyers

The latter three types of buyers may not take the initiative to arrange a private inspection at this point in their property search, so you can only reach out to them with an open inspection. Open Homes can be a practical way to show a large number of prospective buyers through the home at the same time, rather than arranging separate inspection times.  The seller is prepared and has time to present the home. This can be particularly beneficial to sellers who live busy lives, work long hours or who have children.

A distinct advantage is that, if a visitor shows some interest in the property, it can create a sense of urgency among the other buyers, and a “fear of missing out”, which may mean buyers may come forward earlier, rather than sitting back and taking too long to think about it. 

Disadvantages of Open Inspections

The downside to this type of inspection is that it opens up your doors to any shady individual who may be staking out your house or have intentions to steal your property. Although it’s not common, there have been some reported cases.  Again, this is where a trusted and reputable real estate agent is so valuable. Request the agent check visitors’ ID and record their name and phone number in a visitor book at the point of entry. This may deter less desirable individuals as well as being a contact point to go back and contact interested buyers.  Of course, as a safety precaution, you should lock up any valuable items. 

The main disadvantage associated with an open inspection is that it doesn’t give the opportunity for a face-to-face chat with each prospective buyer. If there’s a large crowd in the home, it’s difficult for your agent to qualify the ones who are serious, and some buyers may fall through the cracks. A personal discussion between a potential buyer and knowledgeable real estate agent can provide an opportunity for the agent to personalise the advantages or your particular property to the buyer. 

Another issue that may arise is that when a crowd is too large, it can deter some shy buyers.  They may be reluctant to ask questions, and be less inclined to spend time at the inspection. Buyers may also be put off if they hear negative remarks from other visitors. The reverse can be true if there are too few people. This can make the buyers who do show up think that there is something wrong with the property. Finally, there are always just the “sticky beaks”! This can make the open inspection a waste of time and money.

Advantages of a Private Inspection

In this case, buyers can be screened ahead of time to ensure that they are serious and genuine. The agent will qualify them, to prove that they can afford your property before arranging an inspection. This also is beneficial to the buyer, who will have plenty of time to ask questions and build a rapport with your estate agent.

If there is bad weather or something comes up at the last minute, a private inspection can be rescheduled for another day. By contrast, open inspections, are advertised to a wide audience making cancellation less likely. The agent may find themselves sitting in an empty home as a consequence, which is disappointing to both the agent and the seller.

Disadvantages of Private Inspections

In some cases, sellers will get lucky and find an interested buyer after only a couple of private inspections. However, if time goes on, the seller will become disillusioned and tire of keeping the house well presented over a longer period of time. This can be time-consuming, emotionally draining and invasive, and cause the seller to re-think the process and take the home off the market. 

If the seller leads a very busy lifestyle, it may be more difficult to schedule the more spontaneous private inspections around their schedule, and consequently a buyer could be lost.


In the end, it’s best to choose an inspection method that best suits your needs. A real estate agent may push for Open Houses, because this requires less time on their part. Bear in mind that agents will be trying to sell other homes as well as your own, so open inspections may be more beneficial for them. Agents will also benefit from having a steady stream of visitors to add to their client bases.

Be sure to put your needs before the convenience of your real estate agent. Choose what is most convenient for you, rather than something you have been pressured into by your agent.  Make sure you discuss the pros and cons with your agent and be comfortable with the process.

To book a suitable time to meet and discuss how we can assist, contact the number below.

Anne Harris - Realtor and Consultant

Anne Harris Real Estate Sales and Marketing

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