Friday
December 19, 2014

New Way to Sell a Home: Arrange a Sleepover

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New Way to Sell a Home: Arrange a Sleepover

Some home buyers are making an unusual request: They’re asking to spend the night at a home before they make an offer on it.

HGTV’s “Sleep On It,” which follows potential buyers as they stay overnight in two homes with the sellers’ approval before deciding which one to buy, hasn’t seemed to spark a national trend. But it has prompted such proposals to surface more often, real estate professionals say.

The sleepovers can help buyers gain a better perspective on what it actually would feel like to live at the home, whether the kitchen is the right size, the noisy neighbors are too distracting, or the water pressure just isn’t right.

Corlie Ohl, a real estate professional at Citi Habitats in New York City, recalls a client who requested to take a shower in an $865,000 apartment he was considering to buy. He wanted to make sure the place had adequate water pressure.

"It's the strangest request I've ever experienced in my life for someone who wanted to purchase an apartment," Ohl says. “The seller said, ‘Yeah, I guess, as long as he brings his own towel.’”

Nick Jabbour, a real estate agent in New York City, says that in 10 years of business, he’s only had three clients request sleepovers in listings. One buyer paid $1,000 so that the owner could stay in a hotel, as well as a $1,000 security deposit in order to test out the home for one night. He was concerned about possible nearby noise, but after one night there, he ended up buying the $2.5 million Wall Street apartment.

Contracts are a good idea for any buyer sleepovers to protect both parties from liabilities, such as loss of personal belongings, say real estate professionals. A couple in Boulder, Colo., were staying at a condo when they decided to check out the condo’s parking area at night. But, “as they exited the elevator, they were abruptly confronted by two police officers, weapons drawn,” says real estate professional Bob Gordon. The neighbors had thought they were burglars.

But the incident prompted the couple to put in an offer immediately on the home, “knowing the neighbors would be concerned enough to call police," Gordon says.

Source: “When Homebuyers Insist on Staying the Night,” U.S. News (Feb. 3, 2014)

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