In the world of real estate, open house refers to the marketing strategy of inviting a group of potential buyers to all come and view a property at the same time. While many houses are marketed this way in America, the trend is just starting to gain traction over here in the UK, particularly for high-end properties where demand significantly outweighs the supply. With house prices in areas like London at an all time high, it’s likely that we will see open house viewings utilised much more frequently in the future. Here are some of the reasons you may wish to consider marketing your property in this way if you are an estate agent.
Wasting less time: As most estate agents will tell you, buyers booking appointments to view properties and then neglecting to show up is a regular occurrence. With an open house viewing, a couple of appointments which don’t materialise won’t be much of a concern, because hopefully your desirable property will be full of other guests when viewing day comes around. This is also beneficial in that you don’t need to have the place looking spick and span every time you book a viewing (which can often be an inconvenience if the current owners are still at the address); instead you only have to clean up once before all the viewers arrive en masse.
Increased competition and social proof: For the same reason that so many businesses use testimonials as social proof, having potential buyers see that other people are interested in your product (in this case a property) can amplify their desire to make an offer. Generating a feeling of scarcity around a product has been a proven marketing technique for increasing the product’s perceived value, and in the case of real estate this tactic is equally valid. In fact, you won’t need any clever sales rhetoric to create this scarcity effect; potential buyers will see each other’s reactions to the property and this in itself will instill the “fear of missing out” on their dream home.
The best time and date: Since you’re the one choosing the time and date for the open house event, you can pick a time when you know the property can be presented in the best possible light (literally in this case). Spring time is ideal since this is the busiest season for estate agents, and bank holidays or Sunday afternoons are typically the ideal times to ensure the maximum amount of viewers.
Relaxed setting: Another advantage of holding open house viewings is that buyers don’t feel they are under the spotlight. While a one-to-one meeting with an estate agent can sometimes feel like a formal event, in a open house situation where potential buyers are free to roam, they’re more likely to take their time moving at their own pace because they don’t feel under pressure. They’re also likely to indulge in honest communication with whoever they’ve brought to view the property with them, which may not be possible when viewing the property with the estate agent.
Communications:Making sure you’re able to get enough people to your special event is a key consideration, and there are multiple ways to do this. Posting about the event in the area-specific sections of craigslist and gumtree is a good way to go. In addition to this, you can create a Facebook event and inform your following on Twitter. An ad in the local paper may also be beneficial if you’ve determined this to be a profitable avenue for promoting yourself in the past. Above all, give people a reason to attend. Some nicely prepared nibbles and drinks can go a long way in getting people to see your property. Who doesn’t like free food?!
Conclusion: While there’s no need to forsake private viewings for open house viewings, inviting a number of potential buyers to a property all at one time may well lead to more serious enquiries for seeing the house a second time. In a seller’s market, a high-end property in a desirable location can be marketed very effectively using open house viewings. So if you haven’t you yet tried this marketing strategy, now might be the time.