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.
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.
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?