Are you committing these open home Covid crimes?

5 etiquette (& safety) fails at property inspections that you can learn from

Whether you’re buying or renting, choosing a new home can be one of the toughest decisions to make. 

And it’s a decision that can certainly have you on edge during an open inspection in 2020, with new measures like physical distancing and sanitisation that were unheard of not too long ago. 

Not only are you entering someone else’s home and having to make a quick assessment of it in a relatively short amount of time – you’re also having to consider how to keep yourself and others Covid-safe by doing the right thing. And we all know that when we focus on one thing, it’s easy to slip up and forget another.

Needless to say, the NSW government’s return to open homes in May this year has seen a very positive bounce back in buyer and renter activity, with many people flocking to opens in recent months. But compared with Victoria’s second wave of Covid-19 outbreaks and return to stage 3 lockdowns this week, the headlines are a powerful reminder of just how vital it is to take the ongoing threat of coronavirus seriously, especially in public.

So, we’ve taken tips from the health experts to create a short list that you can tick before entering an open home to buy or rent.

1. Look with your eyes… not your hands!

Believe us, we get it – the temptation is real to open that kitchen pantry to inspect inside, to check the electrical box or to find out how stable the hand rail is. These are all necessary in your decision about the home, and after all, it’s only human to use our sense of touch to assess our surroundings. But if it’s at the cost of contracting germs from the previous person or spreading your own to the next, it’s not a risk worth taking at all. Especially when there’s a perfectly practical alternative – asking the agent in attendance to do it for you. This limits surface contact within the home to just one person, who will be prepared to sanitise regularly… it’s no hassle, so just ask!

2. Give others space.

While a 1.5m distance is the current minimum standard for safety precautions, it’s only common etiquette to wait your turn before entering a room. Be patient, and where there’s a crowd, move to the room that no one else is in and inspect this first. You won’t miss out if you’re already at the property… everyone will move through eventually!

3. Don’t bring the whole family…

We know that it’s a dilemma for most parents, but bringing the kids and other additions to an open house is simply a luxury that we had in a pre-Covid world. Extra bodies are only going to crowd the property unnecessarily and disrupt the flow of the open for other people inspecting, who may have to queue outside in order to limit numbers. Keep who’s joining you at the open to a minimum; if you want to pass on details of the home to relatives or that friend who’s a carpenter, you can always seek the agent’s permission to take photos or videos. Plus, if you’re seriously considering the property but need a second opinion, you can always request a private inspection to view it again with whoever you need to. 

4. Save food or drinks for the trip home. 

The inspection might be straight after the soccer game, but the sausage roll crumbs can stay in the car! Down the coffee before arriving at the property and eat your fill on the road; nobody wants sticky fingers touching the sign-in pen, or leaky drinks contaminating the floor. And not just because of the risk of viruses spreading, either. 

5. Touched a pamphlet or brochure? Keep it!

If the pile of property flyers on the ‘please take one’ table is catching your eye, go ahead and grab one! Just don’t put it back. You might be thinking that you’ve thoroughly sanitised or are seeking to reduce waste, but you’ll still be increasing the risk of person-to-person contact by handling something that someone else will touch after you’ve used it. Agents will be prepared with more than enough information packs to go around for everyone – so even if you’ve read it all, put it in your pocket and save it for home.

Happy house hunting!

Have a question or need more info? Get in contact with your local Prudential Real Estate office:

Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 |

Prudential Real Estate Liverpool | (02) 9822 5999 |

Prudential Real Estate Macquarie Fields |  (02) 9605 5333 |

Prudential Real Estate Narellan | (02) 4624 4400 |

For a list of all current open homes at Prudential Real Estate, head to our webpage here.