The UK has been enjoying a property boom in recent months. This boom is partly due to the stamp duty holiday introduced during the pandemic and partly due to COVID causing a surge in remote working, which meant people no longer had to live within commuting distance of their work and those living in cities could up sticks and move to the coast or the countryside.
Although, obviously, physical viewings of properties were put on hold during lockdowns, virtual viewings helped potential buyers have a good look at properties for sale. Virtual viewings, 3D walk-throughs and 360° virtual tours are still popular but nothing beats seeing a house in person and open days are a popular marketing method for estate agents in Essex and all over the UK.
These days, property open days are more likely to be a series of pre-arranged back-to-back viewings by appointment, rather than just allowing members of the general public to rock up at the vendor’s home and walk around at their leisure.
Are property open days a good idea though and what advantages and disadvantages are there for the vendor and/or the buyer?
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of a property open day.
Pros of an open day
Convenience – There’s no doubt about it. Having potential buyers booked in to view your house all through the week at random times day and night is a pain in the neck. You can of course let the estate agent undertake all the viewings when you’re at work so you don’t actually have to be there but you still need to keep your home clean and tidy and looking its best all the time, instead of just one day. (We’re not implying you live like a slob but most people don’t live in showroom conditions 24/7.)
An open day allows all the viewings to be done in one day, meaning you only have to do one big clean and tidy up in preparation. When the day’s over, you can go back to leaving your shoes lying around in the middle of the floor, mugs in the sink and the carpet unvacuumed.
It’s a fast way to get an offer – If you go down the usual route of having viewings at a time that suits the buyer, it can take a while to get an offer as you may only get one or two viewings a week. An open day brings a lot of people through your door in a short space of time, meaning more potential for an offer immediately after the open day.
It can create a bidding war – A property open day can create a sense of urgency in potential buyers. They see other people looking at the house and know that if they want it, they’d better get an offer in quickly. Not only that, they’re aware that the offer they make will have to be a good one, in case other people viewing the property have made a better offer. You snooze, you lose!
Cons of an open day
It can be off-putting to buyers – Us British are a reserved bunch. We’d rather look around a house by ourselves, not with a bunch of other people. Of course, in this COVID world, an open day is unlikely to be crowded – as we said earlier, it’s more likely to consist of back-to-back appointments but this can still be off-putting to buyers. Buyers with a ten minute appointment, aware there’s other people outside waiting to come in may feel rushed and pressurised to get around the house quickly without looking at it properly.
Open days can also be off-putting to buyers who don’t want to treat house buying like a competition and have no inclination to get into a bidding war.
Because of this, they may decide to give properties with an open day a miss.
It’s not always convenient – An open day may be convenient for the homeowner who only has to tidy up once but it may not be convenient for the potential buyer who doesn’t get a say in when they can view the property.
It can cause buyer’s remorse – A buyer who feels under pressure to make an offer can often get swept up in the excitement of an open day and the sense of competition, only to change their minds when they come back down to earth and have taken time to reflect further.
So, is a property open day for you? Your estate agent will know how successful open days are in your area and will be able to tell you the numbers of viewings and offers on a similar property to yours.
They’ll know the market and which method of marketing works best and, after all, the quicker they make a sale, the quicker they make their commission but, at the end of the day, the choice of whether to have an open day or not is up to you.