The Dreaded ‘Open Day’

Hands up those of you who have had the the misfortune of experiencing the ‘Open day’ ?

I feel for you, each and every one. I think this has to be one of the most stressful and awful experiences a house-buyer can go through.

As a seller, of course, they’re amazing. You go out for the day while the estate agents handles everything. You don’t have to watch as people traipse through your house, sitting on furniture and opening cupboards – it’s perfect!

However, as a buyer, it is truly awful. Despite my begging the estate agent to let us see the house before the open day, we didn’t manage to avoid it. We arrived to find people queuing to go in. “How many people are coming today” I asked the estate agent. “It’s quite a busy one today” she says, “we have 43 couples coming.” 43 couples!! I almost burst into tears there and then! How were we ever going to compete against 42 other couples?

As I walk around the house I so badly want not to like it, but I can’t help it. I love it. The decor is dated, the kitchen is awful and the garden is half the size I wanted. But I absolutely love it. It feels like our home already.

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Except that it’s not. Not even close. The house is packed full of couples, whispering to one another, trying not to give anything away. While I’m upstairs checking out our bedroom (I mean, the bedroom) I hear a couple downstairs selling themselves to the estate agent. “We’re cash buyers, ready to move whenever they want.” I turn to my husband in panic – they’re cash buyers – what is the point in us even offering! In case you haven’t worked it out already, I’m a little dramatic…

As we leave (and I think I am in tears at this point) the estate agent tells us that if we are interested we must submit our best and final offer by the following Monday lunchtime. She tells us not to bother offering asking price as she expects it will go way over. I leave feeling so disheartened. We spend the rest of the weekend deliberating over how much we should offer, how much do people go over asking price, 1% – 20%? We didn’t have a clue.

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We finally agreed on a figure, and submit it Monday morning along with a letter to the sellers explaining how much we loved the house and could picture ourselves being there for many years (a desperate attempt I know!). We are made to wait two whole days until we finally receive a call from the estate agent. It feels like forever.

But it’s worth it – she tells us that the our offer has been accepted! There were 18 other offers on the house. One couple actually increase their original offer at the last minute to well above ours, but the seller decides to stick with us as we came in first and they liked the letter – my desperate attempt paid off!

We were so overjoyed that our offer was accepted, and despite still having a long journey ahead of us – and what a long journey it was – it ended up being almost another year from that point until the house was finally ours! But at that moment, we were thrilled!

However, I wasn’t quick to forget the stress of the open day. It’s an incredibly stressful situation and many of our friends were not as lucky and have missed out on house after house at open days. Being asked to submit best and final offers is impossible, you just never know how much others are going to come in with. Of course you don’t want to pay more than the house is worth, but you also don’t want to miss out for the sake of £1,000.  Ultimately, you just have to decide how much the house is worth to you.

I don’t know whether we will move again, I suspect we most probably will, although not for a while – we have been well and truly put off the idea for quite some time after that experience! All I can hope is that if or when we do move in the future, we don’t have to suffer through another open day!

Have any of you been through open days? Did they work out for you or not? Is it just me that found the whole process so emotional?

 

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “The Dreaded ‘Open Day’

  1. Hi Kate,

    Loving your blog. It always brightens up my lunch hour. :)

    Luckily, when we bough our house, there was no open day. In fact, the house never even made it online and was never advertised. My clever fiance (now hubby) persisted calling agents on a daily basis asking if anything new had come up. His persistence paid off and we were among 4 couples to view the house before going on the market and no dreaded open house! We offered full asking the next day and the offer was accepted! Five agonizing months later, we were in! It was worth the wait but the whole process is horrendous. I feel for you having to wait nearly a year until moving in. I bet many a sleepless night was had by you both.

    Keep up the good work Kate.

    Darren (Dazzle_p) xxx

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    1. Ah that’s so sweet of you Darren, thank you!
      Wow you were lucky, your clever hubby – why didn’t mine think of that!! I’m so glad it all worked out for you, it can be such a stressful experience can’t it!
      Thanks lovely :) xxx

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  2. We bought our first house together many moons ago in 1997 through the same horrible, stressful, procedure. We had no idea what we were doing ( like you don’t when you are 22 and have never bought a house before). All the other people walking round were way older than us and some were blatantly developers, as the house was in a bit of a state to say the least! We decided on our bid and informed the estate agent who practically sniggered when we told him the figure, after much discussion we increased it by a few thousand and hoped for the best! We were amazed when ours was accepted, all I can say is it must have been fate, we were just destined to have that house. We devoted 6 months of our lives to renovating it so we could move in time for Christmas and had 8 happy years there until it was time to move on as there were then 2 more of us!!! X

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    1. I’m so glad you got your house – sounds like fate definitely played a part! Isn’t it just impossible to know how much to bid – and the estate agents always do their best to make you feel like your bid won’t be good enough! Hope the second time around wasn’t as stressful! xx

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  3. When we were looking to buy I went to an open day and it was horrific! I knew as soon as I went in that it was not the house for us so looked around downstairs before trying to politely sneak out only to be bombarded by the owners who had stuck around and too enthusiastically told me they were willing to do a deal. I can remember thinking there must be something seriously wrong with the house for people to do that. Luckily our house was only a couple of viewings away. I’m getting itchy feet now though and want to move in no more than five years and I am not looking forward to be on the selling side of the fence.

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    1. Wow Claire that is so weird! I’d be thinking exactly the same – clearly something wrong with it! Selling and buying can both be so stressful! I’ve been put off for a while but sure I will get itchy feet like you soon :) xxx

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  4. We’re currently going through the after-sale of our open day and I really felt for the people viewing. A couple came back later in the evening on the same day (as the husband couldn’t make it) and we really liked them-they loved the house, asked where we got our furniture, made a fuss of our little boy and basically seemed like us when we bought it! We wanted it to go to a young couple so we were thrilled when they were the highest offer. We would have definitely considered them even if they weren’t though. Being so emotionally attached to our first home meant I really wanted it to go to someone who’d love it as much as we would.
    The house we’ve found had an open day of sorts (it was our 2nd viewing, the first had to be at 8pm at the owners insistence!) although it looked so bloody awful in the photos that I think it put people off! It had also been on the market for a long time. Hopefully it all goes through ok!

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    1. Ah I can totally relate about wanting to sell to a family who are going to love it as much as you do! We felt exactly the same!! You know they’re going to see it through don’t you! Good luck with your purchase, really hope all goes through smoothly! xxx

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  5. Kate, this post is so timely for me at the moment and it’s so lovely to hear a happy ending. We’ve been looking for a house for quite a few months now and it seems that having to put in ‘best and final offers’ has become the new norm where I live. It drives me crazy when we’re willing to pay the asking price but then get told it’s not enough. I find it so difficult to know how much more to offer and so far we haven’t been stretching far enough to win! We’re in a great position in that we’ve completed on our sale and are in rented accommodation but even that hasn’t swung it in our favour yet. I know we’ll get there eventually but it’s a frustrating and emotionally draining process, I’m hoping that we don’t have to go through it many more times before we find somewhere. Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s comforting to hear that we’re not the first to go through this and to hear that you got your beautiful house at the end of it.

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  6. This was such a horrible experience for us, their is one estate agency who is well known for doing this in our area. You get given a 15 minute slot to have a look round and in that 15 minutes youre expected to make a decision on the biggest purchase of your life. Topped off with the pressure of seeing how many other people want it. We’ve thrown in bids on houses my husband didn’t even look at! I’ve seen on right move sold prices the amount the houses finally went for we lost out by £750(!) on one and £10k on another… and the most frustrating part about it all? When you see those houses then on the rental market!!!!!! It’s infuriating! we finally bought somewhere but we only got this as we were friends with the area manager of the estate agents. Sorry this has been such a rant! I LOVE your blog and Instagram account x

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    1. Oh Rebecca you sound like you’ve had a horrible time! I’m so glad you found somewhere in the end! It can be such a stressful experience can’t it – enough to put you off doing it ever again!! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for your lovely words xxxxx

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  7. I’ve just discovered your blog and love it! We haven’t been through the open day debacle, yet, but I suspect that our next move up the ladder (we’ll be second time buyers) will involve the Dreaded Open Day experience, and I’m terrified!

    Do you mind me asking how much over the asking price (percentage wise) you ended up going and if you still think it was worth doing that?

    Can’t wait to read the rest of your blog! X

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    1. Thank you so much Dionne! It is a very stressful process, but all seems worth it in the end! We went about 5-7% over asking price when we offered, and I am so glad we did! I am sure that the sellers wouldn’t have stuck with us had we not. And as it turned out as it took a year to go through I still think we got it for good value! I think the market is really slowing down now though. From what I hear people are back to making offers, so hopefully it won’t be as stressful xxx

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