Is open house a good way of selling?

Open house viewings are on the increase and have recently become a popular method for many Southend estate agents to show buyers available properties. The term ‘open house’ is used when more than one possible buyer looks around a property for sale in Southend at the same time. Not only does this save time for the vendor, compared to arranging several separate viewing appointments, but it also creates a healthy level of competition among potential buyers.

The number of people who arrive to view at an open house is very much determined by factors such as the property’s location and price. Generating interest among buyers who are keen to view the same property it not usually difficult. Currently in London, an average of 150 people arrives for each open house viewing and they have only 15 minutes to view the property. They must instantly decide whether or not to make an offer and try to become the future owners. This would only work in areas where there was a high demand for properties which is not always the case outside of the capital.

Originating from the United States and Australia, the open house viewing process works well where there are many interested buyers and agents struggle to schedule individual viewing appointments into busy diaries. However, this new method of selling also works well for vendors and agents. There can be a sense of urgency among buyers who see competitors face-to-face and properties often sell for more than the original asking price. It can also mean other buyers, knowing an open house day is looming, will place an offer above the asking price to pre-empt the whole process. It may be accepted by the seller, so the sale is agreed even more quickly and everybody wins.

The downside of open house selling is clearly the pressure on buyers to make an instant decision, often with no opportunity for a second viewing or the chance to go home and “think about it”. For many potential buyers, the intensity of the open house process is simply too intimidating.

Other weaknesses in the process are: ‘Did the viewing reach the whole market? Did it attain the highest price? What does a one-day sales window actually achieve? Maybe some purchasers could not make the open house viewing on the appointed day? Did the buyers in the best buying position get to see it?

If you are putting your home on the market think about these points before deciding that open house is the sales method for you. A more traditional, private viewing system may take longer, but depending on the type of property you are selling, can be better for all involved. Take the advice of a trusted estate agent in Southend who will know the local market and advise you accordingly on the best selling process for your property.

Marcus James is Lettings Manager at Pace, an independent Southend on Sea Letting Agent. He deals with every aspect of the property letting process, providing expert and candid advice together with tailor-made marketing plans for each property he lists for rental.

Marcus prides himself on ensuring our landlord clients get the best return in the right timeframe for their investments by conducting rental appraisals, letting viewings and oversees the running of the lettings department.