Holding my final open home was a little surreal and I couldn’t help but reflect on how they have been a major component of my 30 year real estate career.
Back in 1989 open homes were rare, mostly at the most once per week per property and never on a business day. After all, it wasn’t really kosher to advertise an address, that was seen as too invasive of a client’s privacy. Besides, the real estate agent held the stock and purchasers would have to ask to find out what property was held at any one time as the salesperson controlled the market. The internet didn’t exist and knowing a good real estate agent who held/controlled the listings was important in order to get the jump on any other purchasers in the hunt.
Open homes became more popular and real estate salespeople soon began to appreciate the marketing benefits of sourcing prospective purchasers and sellers along with meeting and greeting the locals.
I look back and open homes have had a huge influence on the success of my real estate business over the years, a great way of “keeping the shop door open” and that one extra open home might just flush out that right buyer, as it did just last week prior to an auction.
On the flip side they came at a big cost, as they largely controlled when I would start and finish work on the weekends, sometimes up to eight in one day! Then of course the hours spent on the phone or sending emails gathering in that ever important feedback for our sellers. They meant sacrificing precious family time and determined when we would take weekends off or sometimes even determined our holidays. Certainly they were an important factor in the level of the service we provided and what consequently became expected of us. Come rain, hail or snow we would be there – to keep the open home flag flying. Today’s purchasers expect open homes and like being able to choose which homes they inspect in a non-threatening way of being able to come and go as they please.
Service-focused agencies regard it as best practice to hold at least three open homes per week for the first four weeks on the market. We now even have open home apps for collating and tracking interest – a great way to manage feedback and target-market prospective purchasers when listing the house down the road.
So, in summary and being honest, I’d have to say that the whole open home thing has been a bitter-sweet pill in reality. Moving forward I am really relishing the thought of having much more uninterrupted time. Will I miss open homes, probably not, but unquestionably they are a necessary evil for any successful real estate team.
From The New Zealand Herald:
A grand hilltop estate with sweeping views over Tauranga has hit the market with a $12 million price tag – and a $400 fee just to take a tour.
The five-bedroom neo-colonial home – boasting a rare wind-up music box, a guest bedroom with its own indoor balcony and the largest privately owned solar power array in the country – was put up for sale this month by its US owners.
Perched in the hills above the suburb of Ohauiti, the house dubbed the Majestic Haven forms the centrepiece of a 43ha estate, taking in a pine forest, streams and a solar panel array capable of generating 30Kw of power.
Buyers are principally being sought in overseas campaigns and agent Julie Hignett of Anthem NZ and the owners opted against holding open homes.
“It’s just not that calibre,” said Ms Hignett.
She will show prospective buyers the manor for a $400 fee, which she believed would separate out serious buyers.
It was something Real Estate Institute of New Zealand president Helen O’Sullivan had never seen before in a big sale. “I guess what they are aiming to do is avoiding too many tyre-kickers,” she said.
I’d certainly hope one is treated to bubbles and canapes upon arrival! Somehow I don’t think this practice will take off in the east of Christchurch…
Contestants on reality show The Block are well aware that presentation is imperative.
Purchasers generally buy with their hearts rather than their heads and it is for that very reason that first impressions count. The appeal of a property is often observed within the first few seconds and you will be surprised just how few that can be. Sometimes it is the sheer street appeal of a property or that ‘welcome home’ feel that hits you when you step inside, however in most instances it is simply the way we “feel” about a house that is the initial deciding factor for whether we either pursue it further or not.
I like what Susan Wellings had to say in her article ‘First impressions make a sale’ in The Weekend Press:
Quit stalling – you can get your house up to standard in six days if you put your mind to it.
There’s rarely been such a great time to sell a property and if you’ve been putting it off unto you do the long awaited renovation, or think you just don’t have enough time to get everything ready you may miss the perfect opportunity. Continue reading
One heckuva long open home: one of my trusty sandwich boards recently resurfaced after 22-month disappearance…
Believe it or not but a one of my open home sandwich boards that went missing in December 2011 showed up this week! Thanks to colleague Ben Donaldson from our Riccarton office who spotted the sign looking lonely holding an open home of its own in the red zone of Avonside. It has now finally returned looking rather well-travelled and a little worse for wear. I’m still surmising whether it was a fan or foe that uplifted it that fateful Thursday afternoon (albeit in a rather affluent suburb too)..?
That got me thinking about the advent of open homes and way back in the day when I first started selling real estate (1989) they were more rare than common and one certainly did not dare advertise a property with an address as that was far too intrusive on a client’s privacy. The secret squirrel code of selling also included when meeting a client, one would politely request that they meet you on the corner of x and x street then you would drive them to the property from there. It’s not surprising that we didn’t sell many homes in those days and as we would now say “you just can’t sell a secret”. It just goes to show how the times have changed!