Director, Residential Agency
What are open house days and are they worth the hassle? Multiple potential purchasers walking through your door at unscheduled times might at first glance seem like an odd concept. In a market where there are more buyers than sellers, what better way than an event where prospective viewers have more freedom to view.
At an Open House Day, potential buyers have a limited window of opportunity in which to see a house and potentially make an offer, whereas normal viewings can be arranged over a period of several weeks or months. There are numerous advantages for the seller too; being able to prepare the house for one set of viewings rather than host regular viewings is certainly time efficient, especially if a property is likely to be popular. With a large number of viewings in just a few hours, it can be much easier to plan and structure around other commitments.
Simon Backhouse, Director at Strutt & Parker Canterbury, says, ‘A buyer can walk into a home on a viewing and take less than 30 seconds to decide if they like it. For those houses with instant kerb appeal, this is a fantastic opportunity to really show it off.’
‘If a prospective buyer immediately likes your house - but there are other couples also walking around the property commenting on how much they also like it - this competitive edge can naturally encourage them to put in an offer sooner. Similarly, if a buyer sees a house they like before an Open House Day is held, it is not uncommon for an early offer to be secured in order to take the house off the market, so as not to risk losing it.”
Open House viewings are increasingly popular, especially in town markets where markets tend to work faster. The concept originates from the US; a tried and tested method across the continent for many years, especially where housing is in short supply and there are plenty of buyers.
Following the huge success of the past few years’ events, national estate agent Strutt & Parker will be holding another National Open House Day this spring, on Saturday 11th May, perfectly timed to reach spring buyers with sunnier days and gardens in bloom. Buyers will be able to view a showcase of homes for sale in any region they pick, creating a more relaxed and fun experience.
The initiative started in 2009 with just one Strutt & Parker office in Kent. This year it involves 35 regional offices. Last year’s event was a huge success with almost 1,000 active buyers viewing and offers of over £61.5 million in total being received. There were 580 properties available for people to view on the day.
Simon says, ‘Its success is down to a few key elements: no fixed appointment times mean it’s flexible and convenient, and as it’s for one day only, there’s also a sense of excitement around the properties. Buyers can retain a level of anonymity that they like – a viewing on an open day is simply an extension of an online search. Choice is a huge draw for buyers too; the ability to view a Georgian townhouse followed by a village thatch, without any expectation. In previous years, people who were just curious about the local market but not seriously considering buying have changed their minds after our National Open House Day. Seeing the properties available turned them from tyre kickers into serious buyers.’
Although 90% of searches start online, nothing replaces seeing a property in real life. Open House Days are a useful marketing tool to get more people through the door. If you would like more information on Strutt & Parker’s next event, please visit www.struttandparker.com/openhouse