Whether you’re looking to lease out or sell your property, you want to get your investment off the market as quickly as possible. So, to get buyers and tenants flocking to your property, you want to learn the tricks of the trade for hosting a successful open home.
But what is an open home? An open home is a preview of the property for viewing by potential buyers. Open homes are a great way to showcase the property and scope out buyer interest. They help you to do one thing and one thing only, get your property off the market.
Because here’s the thing: the longer your property remains vacant, the more you’ll have to fork out for maintenance fees and expenses (which will reduce how much ends up in your back pocket).
To help you secure a buyer or tenant quickly, gaining maximum exposure needs to be at the top of your radar. And one of the best ways to do this is by hosting strategic open homes.
We’ve rounded up three proven open home strategies to ensure your property is on the radar of high-quality buyers and tenants to get it off the market sooner.
Do open homes really work?
It’s the question on every investor’s lips: do open homes sell (or lease) homes? In short, absolutely.
Here’s what a stack of recent stats reveal about open homes in Australia:
- The majority of investors host open homes (63%, if you’re interested)
- Open homes aren’t just important for investors: 79% of buyers and tenants rank in-person viewings as extremely or very important in their decision-making process.
- 89% of serious buyers choose to book a private viewing before sealing the deal on their new property
As an investor, there are three key reasons why you’ll benefit from hosting open homes during the leasing or selling process.
1. Boost exposure of the property to reach a wider pool of tenants or buyers
The more people who view your property, the higher your chance of securing a tenant or buyer. Think about it like this: would you want to set up a cafe in a quiet neighbourhood street or a bustling CBD spot? More foot traffic equals more chance of sales, right?
So, by proactively promoting your property’s open home, you’ll give your investment the best chance of catching the eye of your ideal tenant or buyer.
Besides capturing active buyers and tenants on real estate sites such as Domain and Realestate.com.au, open homes give your agent another reason to market your listing to their database of prospective buyers and tenants.
Plus, that ‘open home’ sign during your inspection time can also capture interest from nearby locals who might be thinking about making a move, too.
2. Find tenants or buyers faster and cut down your time on market
Open homes can create a sense of urgency and competition between potential buyers and tenants. Eye off the competition at a busy open home can be your secret weapon to motivate attendees to fast track their application or even make an early offer in order to score the keys to your place.
By giving bidders and applicants a chance to see just how many other eager attendees have their eye on the same prize, this will increase the chance of pre-auction interest and speedy applicants from potential tenants.
With more offers and applicants to choose from, you’ll be able to move fast and get your property off the market sooner.
3. Opportunity to showcase your properties’ best features (and potentially boost your returns)
Most importantly, open homes give attendees the chance to picture themselves in your property. An in-person viewing creates a much stronger emotional pull for buyers and tenants and gives them the opportunity to see your property at its best.
By strategically staging and styling your property for an open home, you can draw attention to your property’s best features and use this to build interest from buyers and tenants.
Harnessing these stand-out features will motivate potential buyers and applicants to make an offer, and even pay a premium to guarantee their success.
How to get your property ready for a successful open home
Preparing your property for inspections is essential to ensure you’re getting the most out of your open home. By making a memorable first impression with potential buyers and tenants, you’ll boost interest in your investment and get it off the market sooner.
You don’t need to sink thousands of dollars into major renovations to get the best results. Instead, it’s about considering the most valuable (and cost effective) steps you can take to prepare your property for an open home.
How to stage a house for an open home
To ensure your property appeals to a wide pool of potential occupants, it’s important to present your investment as a blank canvas.
That doesn’t mean removing every piece of furniture. Instead, it’s about presenting your property as a modern home that potential buyers and tenants can imagine themselves making their own.
Here’s five open home tips for presenting your investment property:
- Remove personal touches: look for items such as family photos, calendars, or eye-catching decorations that prevent buyers and tenants from creating a personal, emotional connection with your property.
- Let the light in: bright light will show your property at its best. So, switch out heavy curtains or blackout blinds for sheer drapes that will flood your rooms with natural light.
- Opt for neutral interiors: simple, clean shades such as beige, taupe, or white will appeal to all tastes and let potential buyers and tenants see the potential of your property.
- Consider hiring a property stylist: if you’re looking for a stress-free approach, a professional property stylist can handle the entire process from start to finish (including furniture hire, storage of your existing furniture and selecting the right pieces to boost the appeal of your property).
- Make small, cost-effective repairs and renovations: boost the value of your property by fixing leaking taps, replacing tired floorboards and mending broken gate latches.
Ultimately, styling your property for an open home is all about making your investment appear fresh, clean and modern. Taking the time to style and organise your property ahead of viewings will set your property apart from others on the market, and may even boost your returns, too.
Invest in professional cleaners
A professional deep clean can make almost any property feel brand new. Ahead of your open home, it’s worth booking a cleaner to give the entire property a thorough scrub and polish to ensure it’s presented at its best for potential buyers and tenants.
In Australia, the average hourly rate for a professional cleaner ranges from $30 in WA and QLD up to $40 in NSW and the ACT.
As an example, the average cost of cleaning a 180 m2 single-storey property in Australia is likely to cost $240 (for a property with 2 beds and 1 bathroom) up to $310 (for a property with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms).
For just a couple hundred dollars, you can ensure your investment property is bright, sparkling and presented at its best for open home attendees.
Add fresh, inviting scents to your property
Open home attendees don’t want to walk into a property that smells like pets or other nasty odours. One of the quickest ways to boost the appeal of your property is to add fresh, inviting scents to your investment ahead of open homes.
Whether you light a candle, add a diffuser or spritz room sprays, look for scents that are clean, fresh and subtle (such as citrus or floral notes). Citrus packs a particularly powerful punch, with recent experiments showing this scent, has the potential to boost a property’s perceived value by $100,000 in the eyes (and nose) of buyers. You can also mention these characteristics on your custom-made candles.
Strategies for making your open home shine
With your investment property presented at its best, it’s time to ensure your open home experience seals the deal.
From building interest ahead of a scheduled open home to having the answers ready to potential attendee’s questions, here are four key steps to ensure your open home is a success.
1. How to build interest for an open home
Marketing your investment property is what will boost attendance at your scheduled open homes. By giving prospective attendees plenty of notice as well as using an omnichannel marketing strategy, you’ll be in the best position to ensure a successful open home.
The best open homes follow these marketing steps and strategies:
- Polished and professional online listings: using hi-res images, detailed floor plans and interactive walk-through videos will capture the attention of potential buyers and tenants, and give them a reason to book in for an inspection.
- Leverage agent databases: working with an agent means your property will be presented to their mailing lists of prospective buyers and tenants, and will boost the chance of strong turnouts at your open homes.
- Don’t forget about offline marketing: along with online listings on real estate websites (such as Domain and Realestate.com.au), the most successful open homes also leverage offline marketing strategies (such as mailbox drops and print advertising in local newspapers).
2. Have brochures and property information ready
The best open homes have handouts or digital property guides ready for attendees.
These brochures should give buyers and tenants answers to the most commonly asked questions about the property (including price guides, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, car spaces as well as floor plans and hi-quality property photography).
By having these ready to hand out during your open home, your attendees will be able to spend more time walking through your investment property (rather than lining up to ask you or your agent these common questions).
3. Brush up on the property’s history
Speaking of questions, it’s important to be ready to field enquiries about your investment property from attendees.
By having this information on-hand, you’ll be able to provide fast answers to attendees and speed up the sale or application process.
Some common questions to include in your preparing for an open home checklist:
- When was the property built/last renovated?
- How many square feet is the property?
- Can I see a copy of the inspection/building report?
- What are the rates/charges for this property (including council rates, utilities, strata fees etc.?
The more prepared you are for the open home, the more likely you are to persuade attendees to put in an offer or applicant.
Getting an open house right is an investment, but it’s less expensive than getting it wrong. The experience you create by styling your property, promoting your open house ahead of inspections and having all the important information on hand has the potential to increase your applications and reduce your cost of staying in the market for too long.
Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed in this blog post are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon. We have not taken into account specific situations, facts or circumstances, and no part of this blog post constitutes personal financial, legal, or tax advice to you. You should seek tax advice from your accountant, specific to your situation.