Property inspections are arguably, the most important steps in the sale process. The agent must personally inspect the subject property under the Act. Under this topic we are concerned with inspections by the buyer.
Compared with urban inspections, rural inspections can be onerous and time consuming. Often the inspection will take up your whole day if the sale property is far out. On the other hand, nearby hobby farms are nearly as quick and convenient as arranging an inspection of a house in town.

1. Initial contact with the buyer - qualifying
Where the inspection is time consuming the agent must properly qualify the buyer before agreeing to the inspection. It will pay you to spend an extra 10-15 minutes with a buyer in the office to learn that the subject property is not suitable for his/her needs than finding this out after a 30 minute drive to the property!
If the buyer appears to be qualified to buy the subject property, then you can offer to drive them to the property or they may prefer to make their own way and meet you there. Always insist on being with them when they inspect. Never let the buyer inspect alone, even if this is acceptable to the owner. It is unprofessional and the owner may wonder why he/she is paying you commission when they have to show the buyer around and answer their questions.
The time of inspection must be convenient for the seller. It is not possible to have an open house for large rural properties well out of town but instead, ad hoc inspections after arranging the time with owner. The owner may only allow inspection the next day allowing them time to clean up.

2. Driving out with buyer
Although the farm may be 30 minutes out of town this makes the buyer a “captive audience” for the agent. Make sure your car is clean and presentable. One problem with rural inspections is that cars get dirty and muddy quickly. Therefore, the rural agent will have to have his/her car cleaned more regularly than the urban agent. This is an extra cost that the rural agent must suffer! It should be a late model car as image is important at this juncture of the sale process.
Driving out is a good chance to get to know the personality and needs of the buyer. However, do not try the “hard sell” on the way out. Instead, only “get to know” the buyer. Always ask about family, friends (you’re bound to find a mutual acquaintance in a country town!), likes and dislikes such as the kind of music they listen to. Find common interests, you are bound to find a mutual item of interest which will relax the propsect and allow you to strike up good rapport well before the inspection.

3. Inspection


The seller should be urged to present a clean and tidy property. A clean and tidy property is a sign of good management. The state of the homestead is not as critical as for a house in town but it should be neat and tidy.
The seller should not have rubbish, old machinery and dead animals lying around. The sale is a chance for the seller to carry out all those repair and cleanup odd jobs they have been promising themselves for years! Now is the time to mend or replace leaky tanks.
Good impressions are created by a neat machinery and toolshed. In the toolshed have the tools neatly put away and a clean floor. This also makes the shed appear larger.
It is helpful to have a plan of the farm to allow easy navigation and help the buyer orientate him/herself. Make sure the seller is not with you during inspection as you do not want a dispute or argument if the buyer makes some disparaging remark about the farm. You can answer objections better yourself (because you are a professional) without the seller being present.
During inspection show the buyer as much of the property as possible. Do not just show the positive feature as this will be counterproductive. Be honest and describe poor country accurately. However, do not make value judgements about the current management as you are working on behalf of the seller. However, you can suggest to the buyer alternative uses such as “the back country although rough, is good for relief grazing and shade and shelter”.
If possible complete the qualification at the farm.This will be covered later.

4. Driving back

You will now have a very good idea of whether or not the buyer is genuine and interested. If he/she appears to be interested then you can discuss price and “sell” the property. If the buyer considers the price too high then ask them to make an offer because this will keep the sale process alive and the seller may accept the offer. Either way, the agent acts as a catalyst to the sale encouraging a conclusion.
If the buyer clearly does not like or want the property ascertain the reasons why. They may be wrong or easily rectifiable. For example, the buyer may be concerned that the school is too far away without realising that there is a school closer in the next town.
If the property is not suitable then you can suggest a more suitable property you have listed or know is for sale. The fact the buyer does not want the subject property does not bring your role as an agent to an end.
If you cannot satisfy the buyer, make sure he/she has your card and sales brochure in case they change their mind. Make sure you have their details as a more suitable listing may be obtained at a later date.