Would You Let a Buyer Sleep Over?

Would you allow a potential buyer to spend the night in your home if they asked? Would you as a buyer ask the owner to spend a night in their home? Just as cars are taken for test drives, so to are some homes. While not especially common, requests are made and some are met.

would-you-let-a-buyer-sleep-overRaquel Gillett, an officer at a bank in Irvine, Calif., decided to test the waters before buying a Mediterranean-style home for more than $700,000 in Toll Brothers’ master-planned Parkview community in October. Ms. Gillet took advantage of the sales manager’s offer to introduce prospective buyers to residents for an inside view of what it was like to live there. She attended a pool party where she met her potential neighbors. “I think the most important thing to me was getting to know them,” she says. “It gave us a comfort level with each other when we were going to be on the same block.”

For individual homes on the market, the opportunity to test out a home or a neighborhood in advance remains rare. Carol Bird, Malibu, Calif.-based real-estate agent says that in her 25 years in the business, she has fielded only a couple of requests from clients asking to spend significant time alone in a home before buying. One, she said, wanted to get a sense of traffic noise at different times of day. He ended up purchasing. The second wanted to try out a home’s numerous high-tech features, unusual at the time. He decided not to buy.

The major issue here is liability; what happens in the event of injury, damage, theft, etc? From a legal standpoint, the potential pitfalls would seem to far outweigh the potential upsides. In fact, many agents recommend against this since it allows a buyer unfettered access to the home for far too long; while it can reveal positive features, most agree that the likelihood is that it will be more of a negative experience as flaws or issues with the home may be noted. Not to mention the odd notion of complete strangers in your home…..

If asked, the decision obviously rests with the seller but we see no good reason for an owner to do this. Real estate contracts in GA are strongly “pro buyer” and if written correctly there is ample time for thorough due diligence to be performed. If something doesn’t seem right, terminate and move on.

The full WSJ article can be seen here

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