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Open Home – why would you?

Posted by Rebecca K on 04/11/2016
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I often get asked why I don’t do open homes anymore, however only by other agents!

I have addressed it in one of my previous blog posts here along with a bunch of other observations around buyer behaviour and how we as Real Estate professionals should be listening to the buyers and adapt to what they want to best serve them and in turn do what is best for our vendors.

Here are five fundamental reasons why I don’t believe open homes are the way to go:

  1. It is not where you will find the eventual buyer. My research over an 18 month period backs this statement up very well. From mid-2014 to the end of 2015 a staggering 95% of eventual buyers viewed the property at a private viewing, not open homes, which we did run at the time. 
  2. To run an even remotely successful open home, in terms of getting people to attend, you will likely have to put an ad in the property press or agency magazine – that is expensive. It is not unusual for me to run an entire digital marketing campaign for the duration of a listing for less than it will cost to take out just one advert in one of the magazines. An ad will have a maximum lifespan of 7 days but realistically more like 3-4 days.
  3. At an open home, it is impossible for the agent to help overcome all possible buying objections as the agent will usually be busy taking details of people attending, usually the neighbour. That, in turn, means you are running a risk that a potential buyer is walking away having made a wrong assumption about the property due to them not being able to get the agents attention.
  4. Buyers don’t want to wait to Sunday, if the 95% of buyers who see the property online first (according to my research) see the property online today, decide they like it and want to view, they will not wait for Sunday, they will want to view tomorrow, so why not let them, strike while the iron is hot, make hay while the sun shines and all that.
  5. Most vendors don’t actually like Open Homes, in my experience. Open Homes have become a comfort blanket, a good excuse if you haven’t had any viewings during the week the answer from the agent is likely to be – oh well, we have the open home on Sunday, let’s see how that goes. In my opinion we are much better to strip it all bare, if you are not getting any viewings there is probably a good reason for that, perhaps the property is being advertised in a wrong way or to the wrong audience or most likely the buyers simply think it is not good value for money which is the major driver for almost every buyer.

It is easy to say Open Homes are great because buyers get to see others are interested in the property and that helps create competition. Firstly, not really! Secondly if I have multiple viewings on the same property I organise them in such a way that they overlap, yet I still have time to spend with each buyer and make sure they walk away with all the information + each buyer knows I don’t do Open Homes and therefore knows that the other group has had to book an appointment to view, by virtue of that they are already stronger competition than someone you run into at an Open Home where they have had to make no commitment to view.

Since I started to do NO open homes and abandoned paper advertising I have tripled my business, my rate of conversion from viewings to sales has skyrocketed and my vendors love it.

For me, the question is not should you have an open home, but, why would you have an open home?

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