Five steps to get the best out of your open house viewing

Opening house viewings are a golden opportunity for estate agents to showcase any property on their books to a mass of potential buyers, while also getting the chance to gauge interest and listen to genuine feedback in real time.

But open property days, which are rising in popularity in the UK, require a lot more attention than simply setting a date and opening the door of a property to the general public. Preparation is required if mass viewings are to deliver their objective of generating offers at or above the asking price. If piles of washing up and laundry everywhere can discourage two viewers, imagine what it will do to 50.

Follow our simple guidelines to make sure any open house viewing you arrange is a success.

Publicise the event

Promote the open house three or four weeks prior to the actual event. This gives you enough time to generate interest in the property while you make sure the house is ready to be shown to the public.

Generate as much interest in the property as possible by creating signs, advertisements and inform potential viewers of the date. Be sure to put a large, prominent sign in the front of the property and keep it up on the day to encourage passers-by to freely wander in and out.

You also need to spread the word among the online community. Use social media and promote your properties via your onsite blog, encouraging people to share your agency’s posts.

Choose a convenient time

The goal of an open house day is to attract as many people as possible, and for most viewers weekdays are out of the question. The best day to choose is a Saturday, as most people are free from work. Start at midday to allow people to get there without rushing their weekend routines. Keep the house open for two or three hours, as any longer defeats the effect of urgency, yet any less restricts the amount of people you may attract.

The busier the open house is the better, as people will be able to see their competition. People naturally want what others want, so they will be more inclined to put in an offer after seeing the multitude of interested faces wandering around “their” house. If there are just a couple of people wandering around, potential buyers will be in less of a rush to submit an offer.

Depersonalise the house

While you want the house to look homely, you don’t want it to look like somebody else’s home. An open house viewing should allow the viewers to realistically imagine themselves, and their furniture, in the space you’re showcasing.

Make sure all personal belongings, such as family photos, clothes and ornaments, are hidden from public view. While there is nothing wrong with these items, they may distract the viewer from the space on show.

Ensure that the house has been cleaned to a professional standard, there is no clutter and there are no lingering fragrances. Smell is an incredibly powerful sense and you would be surprised how many viewers are put off a beautiful property because of the lingering odour of pets. Make sure you avoid this by adding some fragrant flowers or an air freshener in the rooms before you open them to the public. However, beware of overpowering viewers too, so opt for a neutral smell.

Make property details available

Buyers that give up their time to attend an open house deserve a professional service, so make sure to take the time to show them around individually, as opposed to herding them around like sheep.

This means having the property details on hand to give viewers who ask. Details allow people to go home fully informed with all the advice they need to make a decision. Good details include energy ratings, council tax bands, property age and general information about the area and any building or planning work that has been done.

Ask visitors what they think

An open house event encourages a different atmosphere where viewers are more open to discussing what they really think about the property. As the owner isn’t there, it allows you to hear genuine reactions to the property and discover the negative aspects that need improving. Make sure you act on this feedback if you are planning to host further open viewing days.

Estate agents and consumers have a restricted amount of time these days and therefore open house viewings seem like the logical advancement in the way the housing market is heading. It encourages maximum viewings on certain properties that may have otherwise not have generated much attention, and enables agents to garner genuine feedback for a property.