Tactics Used to Ruin an Open Home

After many years of running open homes, I can honestly say I have experienced all sorts of ways potential buyers or even neighbours will try to undermine an open home. At the moment, with the unprecedented level of competition amongst buyers, I thought I’d share some of the clever (yet often unethical) tactics being experienced.

I can’t quite understand why a neighbour would want to put off potential buyers, maybe they have a friend interested in the property and are trying to cut down the potential buyer interest level, but here are two examples I’ve seen:

The Noisy Neighbour

It’s a beautiful Saturday, the street is as quite as a mouse, and as soon as we put up our open home flag the neighbour decides it’s the perfect time to carry out noisy yard work, or tune up the car, or do some drumming practice!  I know it’s Saturday and a lot of people do yard work etc, me included, however the noise only last for the 30 minutes duration of the open home and then stops.  One neighbour just continually mowed the same patch of grass along the boundary of the two homes!

The Smelly Neighbour

One of my team ran an open home where the neighbour decided it was a great time to spread “blood and bone” all over their garden.  If you have ever used this fertiliser, you know it has a terrible smell when first applied and this smell made its way through ever nook and cranny of the home.

Now, when it comes to buyers, I’ve never seen some of these new tactics current being used, but here are just a few to be aware of:

The “Issues” Pointer

One of the most annoying buyers you could have at an open home is the “Issues Pointer”.  This buyer will walk around the property loudly exclaiming the supposed issues they see with the properly in the hopes other buyers will be discouraged from buying the property.  I had an open home once where there was a beautiful, big tree in the back yard, not causing any issues to the home however, one buyer constantly commented how the tree roots would be damaging the home and it would cost thousands for it to be removed. As the open home progressed, they continued to pick apart every aspect of the home.  This did not dissuade the final buyer from securing the property….and the tree was no issue at all.

The Price Challenger

One of the famous lines from the movie The Castle is “tell ‘em their dreaming”, this is something we are currently hearing a lot from potential buyers.  Sellers and agents alike can’t believe some of the phenomenal prices homes are fetching at the moment so it’s no wonder a number of people think the owners and agents are “dreaming” with their expectation of price.  Some people will do anything when they think they are going to miss out on their dream home.  One man loudly protest to the agent in front of the other open home attendee …“You agents are full of sh*t. There’s no way that anyone would pay any more than $$$ for this property as it’s simply not worth it. You f***ing agents tell sellers they’ll get ridiculous prices for their homes and all you do is burn good buyers like me, only for the property to sell for way less than what it’s worth and more than likely, way less than my offer.” A good example of this is the feedback received on facebook following the recent sale of a $2m home sold at auction in Gordon Park.

Buyers forget we agents are employed by the seller and it is our job to get our seller the best price possible for their home, if we don’t do that we are not fulfilling our contract or doing our job properly. Remember, never under-sell your biggest asset!

The Home “Un-Presenter”

When preparing for an open home, the agent will do everything they possibly can to present the property in the best way.  This includes opening windows, turning on the air conditioning or heating, turning on the lights, have soft music playing and/or a candle burning to set the mood, etc.  There seems to be a trend happening at the moment whereby potential buyers attending the open home will try to disrupt this by turning off the air con/heater, closing all the windows, pulling out all the chairs in the dining room to make the area look smaller, and one has even gone as far as attempting to trip the safety switch…I find this sort of thing simply unbelievable.

The Busy Street Buyer

I have not yet experienced this but a good friend of mine, Michael Spillane, shared this unbelievable story…

Without a word of a lie, this happened to me around eight weeks ago. A young couple turned up to inspect at an open home in the suburb of Lawnton (to a very busy open home with around 35 different groups of buyers attending). They parked virtually out of the front of the home and chatted to me as they were about to enter. For some reason, I noticed their vehicle, as it had very distinctive personalised number plates that were similar to a friend of mine. After their inspection, they came up to me, asked me a few more questions and enquired on how they could make an offer on the property. They also asked me if we were likely to obtain other offers on the property and when I told them that there was almost certainly going to be additional offers, they clearly looked unimpressed. They hopped in their car and drove away slowly. Less than one minute later, the same car came screaming back down the road and drove past the home at a speed that would have been at least double the speed limit and excessively loud. I didn’t think much of it…just thinking that it was a pretty stupid thing to do in a quiet street when there were people everywhere. A few minutes later, the same car returned and repeated the procedure…and it was then that it hit me – this couple are actually trying to deter other buyers from making an offer by artificially enhancing the perception of local traffic. I thought that would be the end of it but no – the car returned and repeated the roar down the street yet again, only this time with another car hot on its tails (obviously a mate that he quickly roped into the idea). When I followed everyone up after this open home, I made sure other buyers were well aware of the origin of this noise and that the street was not used as a racetrack like it appeared to be. Footnote – our friendly race car driver did make an offer but was almost $50,000 off the pace (pun intended), so I presume he’s still out there tearing up the streets of other open homes.

In all the above instances, a good agent will know how to identify and handle these situations with ease.

Remember, if you need any help or advice, we are just a phone call away.

All the best, Simon.

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