What is an Open House?
For a period of time on a set day the vendor opens their home for those few hours to allow potential purchasers to come and have a look at their property, without the need for making a specific appointment.
The Estate Agent will generally have knowledge on those booked to arrive during that time period and will be on hand to gather information on those that turn up out of the blue.
Where did it come from?
Real Estate Agents in America have been using this method and introduced it to the UK, Open Houses have been in the UK for sometime, but have not really been that prolific. More and more we are now seeing them appear on property portals and social media for Estate Agents.
Are there Advantages?
Your home is only open for a few hours during that day and if the agent has done a good job, you should have a large footfall coming into your property.
The advantage of having multiple people in your home, is that each purchaser will see other potential purchasers also looking to buy and this does generate offers – well no one like to miss out on something.
It may be that all you have to do is this one open day before you are sold and that means not having to worry about the state of your property every 5 minutes, just in case the agent calls with a viewing. Time Saving can be a benefit when we are trying to slot home selling into our daily lives.
Your home might not receive an offer from the open day, but you will have had a chance to assess the interest that your property has gathered, this can allow you to adjust all your marketing material to ensure the next one is a success.
Are there Disadvantages?
As with every coin there are two sides:
Some buyers prefer to have one on one contact and may not turn up to your open day.
Your door may have just been opened to time wasters who just want to have a nose around your home.
You may feel that security is an issue with a plethora of people prying into your cupboards and wardrobes.
Your competition may come and have a look around your home and ensure that their property is in a prime position to sell before yours.
Not every applicant who turns up to view will have had their details taken by the agent, therefore there can be no knowing just who they are.
If you are at the property whilst the open day occurs (I don’t recommend you are) then the sheer number of people coming in can be quite overwhelming.
#1 – Curb Appeal – If the outside doesn’t look appealing, then the purchasers will just drive on by – Take a look from the outside, does it need a clean up? A mowing of the lawn? Maybe a weeding session? Make it entice the buyers to stop and come in.
#2 – Declutter & Depersonalize – It is amazing how much this changes the home for you whilst you are doing this and the new sense of pride it brings to your home. Obviously the first time a purchaser sees it, it will be in its ‘New Light’.
#3 – Do Those Repairs – Any work that a purchaser sees, can often result in a reduced offer, so they needs to be attended to before the Open House goes ahead, right the way down to changing broken light bulbs.
#4 – Clean Up – You will be surprised at how much you miss when you are cleaning and where purchasers check whilst viewing. Either hire professional cleaners or rope some friends and family in to help . Make it shine, make it stand out.
#5 – Smells – Get rid of those bad odours that tend to linger as they can destroy any chance of selling your home and replace them with smells that sell !
#6 – Security – Hide your small valuables somewhere safe (someone might be spotted carrying a 60″ screen TV but not a ring) and remove any letters containing personal information to stop identity fraud.
#7 – Leave the House – Let your agent get on with the job they have been employed for.
My Thoughts: I don’t really like Open Houses !
When I worked as an Estate Agent instead of these I always arranged ‘Block Viewings’ (booking one viewing after the other over a space of a few hours) that way I knew exactly who was visiting the property (Name, Address, Telephone Numbers and Financial details), whilst spending quality one on one time with that buyer and could do cross overs where viewers would see other viewers at the property. For those that couldn’t make it during the time I would hold another set of block viewings later that day.
This normally resulted in multiple offers and allowed the vendor to choose a buyer that met their moving needs.
If you decide to go ahead with an Open House, I am sure that your Estate Agent will explain exactly how this works, don’t be afraid to ask questions, after all it is you that need to be comfortable with the process.