Selling houses – shall we host an open house day?

You have prepared your home for sale, and you are ready to put it on the market. You are keen to sell in the shortest timescale at the highest possible price.

So is hosting an open house day the best way of achieving this?

In the height of the market in Surrey in 2007, properties were selling fast and there was a sense of urgency, heightened by media articles and the UK’s love of ‘talking property’ and in particular, property prices.

Some agents did stage US style open house viewings, booking applicants in to view the property within a specific time frame.  Acting as gatekeepers, the agents checked off names at the door and several potential buyers could be in the property at the same time. Encouraged by the demand and temporary lack of supply, multiple buyers were often competing for the same house, leading to escalating bids in a ‘best and final offer’ race, perhaps over just one weekend.

But houses are not sold until contracts are exchanged. The pressure to offer following an open house viewing could lead to rushed negotiations and a costly mistake for the buyer, or a waste of everybody’s time when the parties fail to reach exchange of contracts.

Alternatively in a quieter market, an open house day may not yield sufficient interest resulting in raised, and then dashed, expectations for the vendor.

At henshaws, we do not believe that an open house viewing day is best either for the vendor or the potential buyer.

We believe our clients, the vendors, deserve a better service for our fee. That includes contacting all potential buyers we already know, as well as reaching new potential buyers through marketing the property on our own website, and the portals such as Rightmove and

We take time to learn about the applicants, their particular needs and wants in their new home, as well as their position to proceed.

We strive to ensure that potential buyers are given a chance to view a property on a day and at a time to suit them and for as long as they wish, rather than only the ones who are available on the day of the open house viewings.

In reality, when a very popular property comes to the market, an unofficial ‘open house’ can be created. Sometimes we might have as many as 5 or 6 applicants asking to see a newly launched property on a Saturday. That means that one of the sales team may spend 3 or 4 hours at that particular property with viewings booked in every 30 minutes or so.

The big difference to the American ‘open house’ model, is the 30 minutes spent alone with our negotiator, who takes time to show the applicant around the property, pointing out features and providing local information - a relaxed process in which the applicant and agent get to know each other and build trust.  Any questions about the property, or the vendor’s situation, can be discussed without the pressure of interruptions by other buyers, and without fear of conversations being overheard.

This in turn benefits the vendor when offers come in. If more than one offer is received our advice to the vendor may be to accept the offer with the shortest or most solid chain, or the applicant in the best circumstances, rather than simply the highest offer. The rush of an open house day in a vibrant market means this is sometimes overlooked.

So if you are considering moving, please contact us to arrange a free valuation and we will meet with you to discuss the best way of marketing your property.

modern agency, traditional values