An open home, or an open-for-inspection (OFI), occurs when a property that is on the market is available to potential buyers at a nominated time and date. Visitors to the property can walk through and around the home. Visitors are asked to register their details and give comment so agents can provide market feedback to the property owner.
While buyers may have had their first look at a property online, it is the open home or OFI where they can get their first real feel for a property and its surroundings; and there is an expectation from house hunters that an open home or OFI is part of the marketing strategy.
The property owner and marketing agent should work closely in planning open home strategies.
Successful open houses begin with thoughtful preparation.
Timing is important. Don’t schedule it on a day when a local community or significant sporting event is being held, for example. Avoid holidays that are renowned for people leaving town. All well and good, if it’s a holiday that brings people in!
Discuss advertising and promotion for the open home with the agent. Property owners can assist here by sharing news through social media. Let all the neighbours know. There are generally local council rules and regulations around signage, which the agent will be familiar with. The agent may suggest balloons or colourful flags to draw attention to the property.
When it comes to managing the open home, maximise the potential of the property inside and out to attract good buyers. Be ready at least a half hour before the open home commences. Hand the property over to the real estate team and leave.
Not everyone who comes to an open home is a potential buyer. There are bound to be curious neighbours and passers-by. You never know if they know someone who is ready to buy a home.
Potential buyers will often go along to an open home rather than phoning and asking for an agent, possibly because they don’t feel as committed.
If the shoe is on the other foot and you are going to an open home as a buyer, your strategies might include:
- Carefully planning your visits to maximise your time at each property;
- Taking notes and photos on your smartphone or iPad;
- Drawing up wants and needs as headings to make notes against;
- Comparing properties that are priced above and below your ideal budget;
- Asking questions of the real estate team;
- Giving honest comment to the real estate team so the property owner gets valuable market feedback; and
- Registering your contact details so the real estate team can keep you informed about the property you viewed and others that are similar.