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Goodbye Open Homes

Posted by Susa Guhl on 03/11/2017
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Why don’t we do open homes?

  • First, and quite interestingly, this question is mostly asked by other real estate agents, and the reason for this may come as something of a surprise. Since their introduction to New Zealand in the 1980’s, open homes have become the primary hunting ground for real estate agents looking for new listings.
  • Research over an 18-month period during 2014 and 2015 showed that a staggering 95% of eventual buyers viewed the target property at a private viewing.
  • Open homes are often a rather chaotic affair, with your agent occupied taking names and details, trying to control children, getting people to remove footwear and trying to comply with health and safety regulations. Hardly the best use of your agent’s time and skill.
  • Serious buyers know that they might miss out if they aren’t quick to view, so they usually don’t want to wait until the weekend and prefer to get ahead of the curve by arranging a private viewing.
  • Feedback strongly suggests that the majority of vendors would prefer not to have open homes. But unfortunately, they have become the default position for many agents who suggest “let’s wait and see what the weekend brings” to avoid the type of analysis needed to address any lack of buyer interest or engagement. Presentation, promotion and price all remain the key factors in how the market responds to a property and we make no excuses for continually assessing these in a clear and deliberate manner.

So why are private viewings better?

  • A home is a place where people retreat from the world and enjoy the privacy of their own space. A private viewing is the only opportunity available to a potential buyer to truly experience the home as they would as an owner. Experiencing a home in this way is where maximum buyer engagement occurs and often leads to the buyer forming an emotional connection with the property. As we all know, emotional engagement also leads to a perception of greater value.
  • Objections, or concerns, are rarely raised by buyers at a public open home, as most people prefer to keep their interest private. At a private viewing, people are more open, and questions can be fully explored and addressed by the agent in a calm and private environment. Overcoming objections and providing solutions is central to increasing buyer engagement, and a more satisfactory result.
  • Inevitably, vendors prefer us to spend our time working with serious buyers and not waste hours chasing tyre-kickers and curious neighbours. Private viewings are mostly requested by qualified buyers who have done their homework before contacting the agent. This dramatically increases the value of the time we spend “selling” your property.

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