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Busy Times Stir Sunday Opens

By Dan Sowden

Sophisticated and more educated buyers have forced the marketing strategies behind selling a home to step up a notch in recent years, leaving ‘old school’ agents scratching their heads wondering “what just happened?”. No longer is it enough to put a photo card in an agency window and keep your fingers crossed hoping the right buyer will simply walk past.

In 2010, technology plays a huge part in marketing your home. Professional photographers are called in to provide digital images, copy writers create wonderful editorials so agencies can spread the message – through newspaper advertisements, brochures and internet listings. Agents organise open homes as a way to get more people through the door, at different times to best show off your home. Some choose Saturdays, others opt for a mid-week viewing as well, while more and more agents are catering to those with busy lifestyles and opening on a Sunday, too. During the past month, the number of homes being opened on a Sunday have increased almost three-fold based on those advertised in the pages of Domain.

Sunshine Coast REIQ zone chairman Brett Graham says there are a lot more listings on the market at the moment, which may account for the spike in numbers. “It’s spring time and a lot of people are choosing to put their properties on the market now and the reality is the agents can’t open them all on a Saturday so have to take some over to the Sunday.”

Mr Graham said the number of open homes on a Sunday is also influenced by what events are happening on the Saturday.

With the recent federal election and the AFL grand final coming up on a Saturday, agents are more inclined to open homes on a Sunday as opposed to the Saturday when buyers will be ‘otherwise engaged’. He also said sellers were helping drive the market, requesting agents open homes on both a Saturday and a Sunday. “It also depends on what suits the seller’s lifestyle.”

Mr Graham said in order to prepare for an open home, sellers needed to ensure the house felt warm and homely where prospective buyers could feel like they were ‘at home’. “The best ways for sellers to prepare for their open homes is to make sure the home is not cluttered and make it feel homely. “Don’t over-tidy it so people are too scared to walk inside, if there are a few toys in the kiddies room that’s ok, that’s what their bedrooms are like.”

Gary Crossfield of Ray White Bli Bli has sold quite a few homes as a result of opening them on a Sunday. “What I find personally is that there are so many opens on a Saturday, I sometimes find that when I open on a Saturday and Sunday, I have a better turn out on the Sunday because people are looking at one property, and there are 10 at a certain time on a Saturday. “If that property is open on a Sunday people will go ‘well, we won’t look at this one today but we will go tomorrow’ because I give them two opportunities over the weekend.”

It was only about 12 to 18 months ago Mr Crossfield ventured more into Sunday open homes. “When the market was peaking you could open on a Saturday for half an hour and have 10 people through and get your buyer and the house is sold within two to three weeks. These days time on market has been blown out to nearly 105 days so you really need to put it out there and make every opportunity for the sellers to get anyone interested through.” He said most vendors were happy to have two opens on the weekend however some would prefer to have a day off on Sunday.

“The buyers say ‘it’s funny real estate agents don’t work on Sundays and that’s the day we’re available’ because Saturdays are full of sporting events and kids doing this and kids doing that. “Sundays we find they can be tyre-kickers coming through but then again you only need one buyer,” Mr Crossfield said.

Ray White training seminars are also advising agents to open listed homes twice a week in the slower market with Sundays and twilight opens being a possibility. Mr Crossfield said some agents don’t necessarily want to work on a Sunday so would prefer to do a twilight open home – it’s a matter of preference. When he does open a home over the two days at the weekend, Mr Crossfield said, depending on the time, he can often get more groups come through on the Sunday.

Say, for example, he was opening a property at 11am on both Saturday and Sunday, he said he wouldn’t expect a big turn out on the Saturday. “What I find is that you would get more people through on the Sunday being that time slot in the morning because people are up and about mid-morning whereas the two or three o’clock ones on a Sunday seem to turn out very dead because everyone is finished their day out looking and they are tired and want to get home and relax, so it works out both ways.”

In the Bli Bli area, because the market there is predominantly houses, so about 95% of open homes on Sundays are houses rather than units.

Domain: fresh to the market every Saturday in the Daily

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