The pros and cons of open days.

There is a trend towards having open days amongst estate agents. Sometimes it’s used as a sales tactic by an agent to persuade a would-be seller that they’re the agent to use.   But are they good, or are they bad?

Unfortunately, this isn’t a yes or no answer.  In the Bournemouth area, for 80% of properties I go and see, having an open day is an unsuitable method for conducting viewings.  In general, the English buying public are a fairly reserved bunch.  The idea of going round to a house with a load of unknown people is a rather unpleasant, daunting prospect.  There’s never a benefit to putting off a potentially ideal buyer at step number one.

From an estate agency perspective, I want to know who is going to turn up, when they’re going to turn up and what their buying position is.  Qualification of a buyer pre-viewing is a really important part of the sales process.  Imagine the marketing of your property is generating entirely unsuitable applicant enquiries (I see this happening a lot), how valuable is the feedback they provide about your house post viewing?  Not valuable at all.  The value if that is happening is finding out that the marketing isn’t working quite right, but this isn’t ever a situation you’ll be able to find out with an open day process as buyers are rarely qualified.

Yeah, but it’s really convenient having an open day, right?  Of course.  But what price do you put on convenience?  And what if it doesn’t actually sell from the open day?  What do you do then?  Go back to conventional marketing?  That doesn’t work as every buyer will now be aware it hasn’t sold via the open day and they’ll consciously know the market has already said no to the price you’re asking.

So if open days are entirely unsuitable in this area for 80% of properties, who are they suitable for?

  • Desperate sellers who are open to taking an offer.
  • Empty property that is being sold via tender.
  • Auction property.

So what if you have a great house and want the convenience of an open house, but without the potential negatives associated with it?  This is an easy one.  If your house is generating sufficient interest for an open house to be considered (LOTS), then just book viewings on a single day (or choice of one morning and one afternoon/evening).  We give 15 minute viewing slots to pre-qualified buyers on a choice of two days.  You get all the convenience of an open house with none of the risk or downsides.

Simon Ward

If you’ve got questions as to whether you feel an open house would be suitable to your property sale, please do ask [email protected]