Why not sell your house in one day….

  If only it were that easy. So trumpeted the headline in a recent article in a national newspaper.  What the ‘property expert’ whose name was attributed to the article was promoting was the American and Australian practice of selling houses through an “open house” event.  What this entails is the agent marketing the property holding an open ‘day’ (in real time this is usually a couple of hours), whereby any number of potential buyers or interested parties can come and walk around the property.  This takes place once, thereby affording would-be buyers one single chance to view a property before putting in their bids.  Our Antipodean friends (no cheap jokes about convicts), are also able to make an immediate offer or wait until the property is auctioned at the end of the viewing.  The plus points of such a day are that it is quick, clean, easy and there is no to-ing and fro-ing, cogitating, gazumping, counter-bidding or people not making a decision to make an offer until Aunty Mavis and the cat have come to look at the downstairs loo.  In theory, fantastic; no wonder American and Australian realtors (get the terminology right, please) and sellers love them.  Over here, it is a slightly different story.  In the UK we have a unique conveyancing system that offers many benefits, but swiftness and speed in closing the deal are not two of them. Here at Cheshire and Co we have held open viewings, and however many people turned up on the day, due to the vagaries of English and Welsh conveyancing law and however badly the prospective buyers wanted the property, the sale did not complete until some 8 weeks after the viewing.  I would heartily opine that an open day can and has worked on an empty property; but I cannot recommend crowds of unqualified individuals with whom we, as the agent, have never had any interaction, traipsing around somebody’s home full of their personal possessions without our full supervision.  If more than one groups turns up at the same time, it takes on all the challenges of herding cats.  I would not wish to have to deal with the phone calls in the following days reporting that the Ming vase was no longer adorning the Ikea – looks- a lot- better- in -the- advert- than -it -does- in -real- life-table.  However, having said all that, if the property expert and the vendors want to adopt the American/Australian system – together with their commission rates of 10%- I’m all for it.