Open Houses – They really do work

The best Estate Agents are always looking for different ways to market their clients homes; every home is different and every seller has a different set of circumstances and an individual list of needs. As ‘their agent' we have to recognise the best way to help solve that particular client's problems and, very importantly, achieve them the best possible result in the current market conditions.

What do I mean by the best possible result? It really does depend on the client and various factors such as the timescale and reason for the move. Some sellers have to move very quickly because they have seen their dream home for sale and don't want to lose it or maybe it is because of some financial issues or a marriage break down. Many move for job reasons or maybe it is simply time for a change or a larger property to cope with a growing family. Not all sellers have to move quickly, many are happy to fully test the market and are content with ‘hanging in there' to see what transpires. However, for most sellers the best possible result is ‘the best price possible in the least amount of time with the least amount of fuss and bother'. I'm sure that would sound familiar to most people?

At Webbers we have many ways of helping our clients and customers through our extensive marketing, expertise and knowledge; we can tailor a marketing plan specifically for a particular client and the type of property they have to sell. Market conditions have generally been very favorable in recent times and there have been plenty of good, willing and able buyers around. In a lot of cases more than one buyer chasing one particular property. Now it would be really easy for me as an Estate Agent to go to a particular seller and say to them ‘we have already got a buyer for your home' without really giving much thought about whether they are the best buyer or the one that would pay the most money - but believe me, there are many Estate Agents out there that do adopt that strategy and are content with just another ‘quick sale'. In truth, if that is what the client wants then that is fine but I strongly believe, and it has been my experience over many years, that there aren't that many sellers that have to ‘sell tomorrow' in favour of getting the best price and best buyer.

So, here's a thought. There are a lot of properties out there at present that will sell quickly if they were to come to the market. If that is the case and there are potentially multiple buyers why not give them all a chance to view the property in a controlled and planned way? The solution - organise an OPEN HOUSE.

What is an Open House?

An Open House allows us as Estate Agents to launch the property for sale giving every potential buyer out there an equal opportunity to view the property. We would usually set a date and time for the Open House event, typically a Saturday morning as this tends to be the most convenient time for viewings to take place as people are generally off work as it is the weekend. It is best to condense the time for the Open House down to about 2 hours, so let's say 11am - 1pm for example. The event is then extensively promoted and I would recommend a lead time of a good 10 days to two weeks to allow the event to be fully advertised in the press and online, our data base of buyers canvassed and bespoke invites sent out to suitable potential buyers, a social media campaign to be set advertising the event and so on. We have special ‘Open House' for sale boards erected at the property as well giving the date and times. All of this then should create plenty of enquiries and should attract a good number of viewers to the property at the event. We do not allow any viewings to take place prior to the Open House launch as we want to event itself to be as successful as possible and to be the real start of the planned marketing campaign.

When conducting an Open House we alway make sure the property is sufficiently staffed so we can manage the viewers as they come through the door. Security is of paramount importance so we ensure we note down the name, address and contact details of all of the people entering the property and we also want to know a little more about their buying ability and position to proceed should they like what they see. The idea of an Open House is to get potential buyers viewing at similar times to one another as that will heighten the sense of ‘competition' to secure the property and show that it is a popular choice with people. The more people at an Open House the better!

Once the viewing period has taken place there will (hopefully) be plenty of expressions of interest in the home, hopefully some offers and ideally more than one offer. At this point it is very important for us to discuss with our client the next stage of the process. We could choose to proceed to closing offers quite quickly if lots of interest has been shown or we may opt to keep the property in the market for a bit longer to see what other interest may occur. Either way there will need to be a plan as to what happens next and all interested parties can then be informed accordingly.

If we have picked the right house with the right guide price I would usually expect there to be plenty of early interest and offers and therefore we have regularly moved to a process that allows all offers to be made and considered in the fairest possible way. We only have the one property and can only sell it to one person but as I said at the start of this blog it is about finding who the best buyer is. Of course, at this stage the seller can simply choose an offer to accept if they so wish, it is there property and ultimately their decision. But, when we have multiple offers it does make it very hard to chose the best way forward especially if those offers are from buyers with similar abilities to proceed. At this stage and with these circumstances we would generally recommend bringing bids to a close by way of ‘Best & Final Offers‘ (Informal Tender). A date and time for the best bids to be submitted will be set and official ‘bidding forms' sent out to all interested parties with the ‘rules of play' carefully outlined so all bidders know the terms under which their offers are to be put forward and how they will be considered. The offers are submitted in writing and proof of funding and ability to purchase is always required in every instance. Once we have all of the bids we can sit down with our seller client to discuss the merits of each bid received and decide who ultimately we all feel is the best buyer to move forward with.

Very occasionally there might not really be much interest shown in the property; that can happen. If that is the case the Open House has still been worthwhile because it is an indicator that something is wrong and buyers for whatever reason aren't keen. This is an early warning sign that maybe the asking or guide price has been set a bit too high or there is another issue stopping the interest. Whatever the reason, it is important that this is looked at and a plan of action taken to achieve a more positive response moving forward. So there are always positives to come from an Open House - they do work!

I thought I would finish this blog with some real life examples of our successes in recent months with Open Houses. As you will see all have produced a great outcome for our clients and I am confident we can say, with hand on heart, that we found the BEST BUYER AND ACHIEVED THE BEST PRICE for them at that time in the market. The results show that, typically, the selling price achieved was 10% - 15% higher than the advertised guide and evidence produced by the purchaser to ‘back up' their claim as a worthy buyer always helps the seller make the right choice.

Here are some examples

4 Orchard Close was placed on the market with a guide price of ‘offers in excess of £155,000'. We had 22 viewings and sold the property for nearly 15% more than the guide price. image 3 Weld Park Avenue, Ilfracombe - 3 bedroom terraced house

3 Weld Park Avenue was placed on the market with a guide price of ‘offers in excess of £140,000'. We had 24 viewings and have sold the property for just over 10% more than the guide price. image Mountsea, Mortehoe - 3 bedroom detached bungalow on a 1/2 acre plot

Mountsea was placed on the market with a guide price of ‘offers in excess of £300,000'. We had 16 viewings and have sold the property for nearly 15% more than the guide price.

Open Houses are an innovative way of marketing your home. If you are interested in finding out more please contact me on 01271 869119 or lee.hussell@webbers.co.uk or visit us at www.webbers.co.uk