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How to have a successful open for inspection

By George Hadgelias

The property adage goes that “first impressions matter” but when it comes to holding an open home, the mantra is “every impression matters.”

That’s because how a property is presented for an open home can be the difference between astounding or alarming a prospective buyer.

Nelson Alexander Ivanhoe partner and auctioneer James Labiris says opens are not only about wowing prospective buyers with a home’s stand-out features, but also showing it’s well-maintained and cared-for.

He explains what buyers, with the help of their agent, need to focus on before opening the doors to would-be buyers.

How to sell: The ultimate home seller’s guide

The overall feel

The simplest piece of advice to follow is to present the property in its best possible light, Labiris says.

“Make sure everything is neat, tidy, cool and fresh; all the things we know buyers look for when they inspect a property,” he says. Open doors, ensure lights are turned on and even light a few good-quality candles to cater to all the senses.

While many experts suggest stripping out any personal touches of a home, Labiris says it’s a fine line. “You actually don’t need to depersonalise, as you don’t want it to feel too sterile. You want your market to see that it’s a loved home.”

Hire furniture

Labiris often recommends vendors hire furniture for the duration of a sales campaign.

“Hire furniture sells the dream of how a buyer would live in a property. A living room is just an open room, but when you add hire furniture, it becomes a place where people can imagine themselves living there,” he says.


While adding a few pieces of stylish furniture or fancy art can work wonders, Labiris warns vendors to never “over-style” a property. “When it comes to styling for an open, less is more. You want it to feel loved and cozy and not overdone.”

Don’t forget outside

It’s a trap to focus solely on the interior of a property, Labiris says.

“Outdoors is important, especially if it’s an entertaining zone. Carry the same level of beauty you apply inside to the outside. Set up tables and chairs and neaten all the gardens,” he says.

Preparing to sell

Adam Salemme, who along with his wife Lisa, engaged Nelson Alexander to sell their renovated two-bed home in the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg recently, looked to Labiris for advice about opens.

He advised running two a week, on Thursday and Saturday, for the four weeks of the campaign. “We didn’t hesitate to take his advice as we know he knows the area and market well,” he says.

When the couple decided to sell up, they had renters in the property, but on Labiris’ advice, they decided to sell it empty, but style it with hired furniture.

“Compared to being empty, the furniture made such a big difference, it made it feel homely again,” Salemme says.

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