Open Homes for Dummies: Read it before you sell your own home.

We’ve seen them almost everywhere.

Those self-help books that help us gain knowledge, master a certain skill or field of endeavour.

You name it, and there has probably been a ‘Dummies’ book written about something you were interested in or wanted to be better at.

Divorce for Dummies, P.C.’s for Dummies, Marketing for Dummies – even Politics for Dummies (and there are definitely some people in that field who should read it).

I’ve often thought about writing a Real Estate for Dummies book but that may have already been done. Maybe my 8 Insider Secrets/ Myths of Real Estate eBook might count.

Anyway, I thought I might dive a little deeper and concentrate on one important facet of Real Estate, that owners who are selling their own home ignore or get just plain wrong.

Conducting open homes.

Instead of writing a whole ‘Dummies’ book here and now.  I’ll give you a few of the most important Do’s and Don’ts that owners undertaking private house sales continue to ignore.

Don’t: Believe that you will get nosey neighbours as your main attendees. This is an old wife’s tale. In my experience (about 7,000ish open homes) around 1 in 10 might be a neighbour, and generally they were there to see the cut of my jib because they were thinking of selling.

Do: This might sound like, “yeah, as if someone would do that…” but… YOU MUST display your address on all marketing sources when you want to run an open home.

There is a bit of a trend, at the moment, where some owners selling their houses are choosing not to display their address (straight from the ‘How to p*ss off a buyer’ handbook). However, there are cases where ‘secretive’ seller actually advertise an Open Home – but potential buyers don’t know where to turn up to!

Display your bloody address! You can then avoid having to wonder, “Why didn’t anyone turn up?”

Don’t: Not be there! If you set a time and advertise an open home, the least you can do is be there to greet potential buyers. Always be there and ready 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Do: Get name, rank and serial number from every viewer who comes to your door at an open home. If it appears a group is looking together, ask who is the person interested in buying the property and get their details. No-one walks in without at least supplying their name and a contact number.

Don’t: Follow buyers around like a love-sick puppy. Let them look without distraction or pressure, and watch their body language etc. Sure, keep an eye on them and be at a reasonable distance in case they have any specific questions. Let them know you are there to help, but don’t bug them by waffling on.

Do: Ask them “what do you think?” as they are winding up or leaving.  If there are multiple groups, call them later that day, or next, and ask that question; then follow up with, “I need your help.  What do you think it will sell for?” That’s THE most important feedback you need to hear.

Basically, don’t be afraid to run open homes and conduct them with confidence. They are an important piece of your marketing armoury and can be a great indicator of whether, or not, you are offering an attractive proposition to property buyers.


Interacting With Home Buyers: 3 Rules To Sell Your Home For More

If only selling a house was as easy as this: buyer likes house, buyer buys house, you move out. End.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that, but there are ways to make the entire process a whole lot easier. It’s called interacting with your potential buyers and involves manners, mindset and measure.

Why you need the 3 Ms to interact with buyers


I’m sure that when you were growing up, you were told to ‘mind your manners’. It’s these little pleasantries in life that can go a long way when it comes to getting on with people and, in the case of selling a home, making a person part with a HUGE amount of money.

First impressions count (and that works both ways).

It is to your benefit to make a potential buyer feel at home, and there’s no better way to do that than by welcoming them into their ‘new’ home.

If you are holding an Open Home, it’s imperative that you have a person at the door to greet and invite people inside. There’s no need for a marching band or letting off party poppers, a warm and friendly ‘hello’ and handing them the property details will suffice. If you feel that you’re going to be too busy to do this, ask a friend, a neighbour or colleague to do it for you.

Once the buyers are through the door, make sure to introduce yourself to all members of the party. And, be warned, from my experience, despite lurking at the back of the group and appearing as if they’re a passive viewer, that background figure is usually very important to proceedings, so make sure you say hello to him/her. I call him an Uncle Barry. Who is Uncle Barry? He’s an expert, that’s what. Uncle Barry (delete and amend name as appropriate) is one talented man/woman. They are a ‘fault finder’ extraordinaire based on their time in the military or, when they spent six months selling one house back in 1969; they’ve just bought a new home themselves, they’re handy with a screwdriver, they are an astronaut freshly home from a stint on the International Space Station – you name it. Uncle Barry has seen it all, and when in doubt, his opinion counts.

It’s therefore crucial that you acknowledge everyone in the group at all times. If there’s a question, answer it by speaking to all involved. An issue? Again, talk to the whole group, I’d even go so far as to say that when you’ve pinpointed an ‘Uncle Barry’ in the group refer to him/her. Get them in on the conversation and onside.

For example, if there’s a bit of rotten decking, bring Uncle Barry in on the conversation. ‘Yes, the decking is a bit rotten in places, but it’s an easy fix, don’t you agree Barry?’

It might seem like you have to go to extremes to please everyone here, but it’s essential, and it will pay in the long term. Believe me.


A prizefighter would never enter the ring without a plan and you shouldn’t either. If you want to sell your house, you need to be organised and carefully think through your plan of action. And that involves mindset.

When it comes to selling your home, it can be all too easy to focus on the house and not the buyer. Yes, you want it to appear at its best, you’ve even had a word with ‘him upstairs’ and asked for the sun to shine on your Open Home. But let’s not forget, that as glorious as your home might look, you still need to sell the home to the buyer.

All too often, I’m told how a seller has the ‘gift of the gab’. On hearing this alarm bells tend to go off inside my head because the ‘gab’ is not always a gift. I imagine the seller dropping puns and ‘Dad/Mum jokes’ while the buyer shrinks into the corner of the room. Don’t get me wrong, I admire folk who want to sell their own home, and I have every faith that they can do it (that, after all, is one of the reasons why Agent In A Box exists), but you need to approach interaction with buyers with grace and nowse.

When it comes to showing people around your home, you need to give them space. While they might want to ask you questions about the exterior wall or when you laid the wood flooring, you do not have to follow them around as if you’re attached to them by Velcro.

Likewise, give them mental space too. I suggest you don’t spend an hour telling would-be-buyers all about your beautiful home and the fantastic times you’ve had in it, including the one time when your Auntie Joan visited from Sydney…. and spent three weeks sleeping on the spare room…. and one night got up and went sleepwalking …and accidentally walked into the wrong room… SNORE.

You don’t want to make your buyers feel like they’re a rabbit trapped in the headlights. Instead, let them walk around and create their narrative about the house – let them imagine themselves living there and inviting their Auntie Joan to come and stay.

Finally, when it comes to mindset, you need to play the long game. You’ve met the potential buyers, they seem to like the place, but it doesn’t end there. You need to follow up. Time and time again, I’m surprised to learn that sellers don’t chase up viewers. If someone looks interested, give them a call. If they didn’t seem interested, still give them a call. And note the word ‘call’.

I believe we rely too much on emails and text messaging and that real interaction gets pushed to the wayside. It pays to pick up the phone and ring a viewer. Ask them if they liked the house and would they like to come back and take another look. Pick their minds, for instance, they might like the house but are wondering about local schools or whether there are good traffic links closeby. You know the answers to these questions and can save them time spent searching. Be helpful, be productive – and for the love of all things cute and furry, have an ‘I want to sell’ mindset!


Now, let’s be clear. I’m not talking about a tape measure (although they’re very handy). I’m talking about being measured, which means not letting emotions get in the way of your ideal conclusion – which is, in this case, selling your home for a great price.

If a buyer comes to your home, it’s fair to expect buyers to ask questions and, like it or not, some of these might push your buttons. Typical questions you can expect are:

  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • Why are you selling?
  • How old is it/when was it extended/renovated?
  • Are you negotiable on the price? How much will you accept?
  • Have you had any interest? Any offers?
  • Are the neighbours decent?
  • Has anyone had a building inspection?

How you answer these can make a big difference; it’s the wording that can sway an outcome, not necessarily the answers themselves.

Here is how I suggest you answer them.

  • How long has the property been on the market? Answer the ‘how long’ question with the truth. Buyers have the right to know, and in most cases, your house has just gone on the market, and there’s nothing dark or mysterious to reveal. When you’ve told them, zip up. Don’t start making excuses or spelling out the history of the universe. Answer, then move on.
  • Why are you selling? Again, be open and transparent. Unless you are moving because the house is about to collapse (and, in which case you’ll need to tell the buyer) explain in simple terms. ‘It’s time for us to move on’ or, ‘we are ready for a change of location’ or, ‘we’ve just built a new house, and it’s ready.’
  • How old is it/when was it extended/renovated? This should be pretty straightforward to answer. Tell the viewers when it was built, when you had it extended or renovated.
  • Are you negotiable on the price? How much will you accept? Now, this is the question that can cost you dearly. It’s the question that you need to be the most measured about. Don’t rush in with a ‘we’d be happy to accept $X…’ Instead, remember to answer any question about negotiating or accepting offers with a question NOT AN ANSWER. This, will prevent you from blurting out the wrong thing. So an, ‘Are you willing to negotiate?’ question can be answered with ‘The best way I can answer that is for you to make an offer and we take it from there. What do you say?’ No more. Leave it at that while you’re still in control.
  • Have you had any interest? Any offers? Play this one truthfully but do not go into the whole business of how many offers, how much interest and, who said what and when and why. Instead, say it like it is and move on. If you haven’t had any offers say so but again, don’t say why you think that’s the case or start elaborating.
  • Are the neighbours decent? Answer truthfully. It’s rare for your neighbours to be the cause of you moving home. Please keep it short and straightforward. If these people move in, they’ll meet the neighbours soon enough.
  • Has anyone had a building inspection? If a buyer has already had a building inspection carried out, say so. If they did find an issue, you are obliged to tell any potential buyers, so don’t hide something that will come out in the woodwork at a later date. Be honest.

Remember my 3 Ms – manners, mindset and measure – for great interaction with potential buyers.

Why does WHY matter when you sell your own home?

Generally speaking, we humans have a reason for almost everything we do.

Taking it as far back to our primal ancestors, they hunted to get food to eat because they were hungry, and if hunger hung around too long, they would expire.

Although the rules of engagement are becoming a little confusing, we, and as our ancestors did, do our level best to attract a member of the opposite sex to engage in sexual congress to procreate, therefore growing, continuing and hopefully, improving the species.

I’m no anthropologist, but we all display and carry out certain behaviours based on survival and avoiding pain, or even worse!

In today’s society and environment, whilst survival is still an inherent instinct, ensuring our needs are met – we go to work to pay for shelter and food is the most basic example – we now actively pursue our wants as well; the things that provide status, attention, a sense of achievement.

It all boils down to what our ‘WHY’ is.

That reason for doing, or not doing, something.

And the stronger the ‘why’, the more likely we are of getting it, doing it or achieving it.

Understanding and knowing your ‘why’ in any endeavour is the foundation of a successful outcome.

Put basically, your ‘why’ is your motivation.  Without motivation, goals and desired outcomes are very hard to reach.

Why am I selling my home?

In the world of Real Estate and property transactions, the ‘why’ held by market participants is often overlooked in favour of the facts and mechanisms that go into marketing and trading property.

I have always tried to understand the ‘why’ of both buyers and sellers, because, to put it quite simply, if the ‘why’ is unknown, weak or ignored, not much happens and the process gets bogged down – with disappointed players on both side of the net.

The three undeniable ‘how’s’ that sell any property are: Presentation, Promotion and Pricing.

But the one thing that ensures that these vital process components are properly put in place is the ‘why’.

Why am I selling my home?

There are myriad of reasons that people sell, however, if their motivation to sell and be somewhere else is less than 100%, things can start to look shaky.

The phrase I have used for many years, still stands the test is: If you are not in a hurry to sell; the market is not in a hurry to buy.

Always remember, those who ‘need to’ see better, faster results than those who just ‘want to’.

When the ‘why’ is valid, true and without question, the process smooths out and results (enquiries and offers) begin to appear.

Cue the choir and sunbeams through the clouds

And the pace of the process and success for any seller is amplified when their ‘why’ is matched by the buyer’s ‘why’. Do they need to buy as much as the seller needs to sell? When the answer is YES, to both (cue the choir and sunbeams through the clouds) the magic happens – a great sale, with reasonable conditions and two happy players.

Always remember, those who ‘need to’ see better, faster results than those who just ‘want to’.

Find your ‘why’ for any undertaking, especially when you want to sell your own home, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve, and the right result is almost a formality.






How to Put Buyers on The Bench When You Sell Your Own Home.

The ‘bench’ is a very handy tool to keep buyers warm, and ready to get into the game.


Have you finally lost your mind, Craig?

Kitchen bench, workshop bench…?

Why would a buyer want to sit on my bench?

Luckily I am still able convince the medicos that a I am sane – just.

Having coached junior rugby league for fifteen years, an average (at best) player in my younger days and always a keen observer and avid supporter – I draw quite a few analogies from sport to further my explanations and observations of the property and business world.

In this particular post, I want to show you, if you are looking to sell a house privately, that the ‘bench’ is a very handy tool to keep buyers relaxed, interested and ready to get into the game.


Many team sports don’t just rely on the players who take the field at the start of any game.

There is usually a number of ‘reserves’ who can be called upon when one of the ‘starters’ gets injured, shows poor form or needs a quick chat with the coach.

Players who start from the bench aren’t necessarily poorer players.  They may have a role as an ‘impact’ player, not quite at full fitness, or new to the team and getting used to structures and game plans.

In rugby league, for example, the teams with the strongest ‘benches’ generally prove hard to beat and go a long way into playoffs and finals.

The bench is a critical part of any team’s success.

And it certainly is when it comes to selling your own home.

Your ‘bench’ comes into play at the time, or just after, you secure a deal and a contract on your home or property.

Yes, you have a buyer, however, as with nearly all contracts, there are conditions that need to be met before your buyer becomes the new owner.

The most common conditions are:

  • Approval of Finance &
  • Building and/or pest inspections.

Most contracts allow for anywhere between ten and twenty-one days for these conditions to be met by the buyer.

This is called the ‘conditional’ period.  Yes, you have a deal, but if any of the conditions can’t be met – the buyer can’t obtain finance or the building inspection scares the buyer off – the property goes back on the market and a new buyer is sought.

It pays to have all your bases covered!

It is during this conditional period of the sale that you should continue to take enquiries from other buyers – put them on the bench – in case the current contract ‘falls over’ on any of the conditions.

To make any prospective buyer feel comfortable taking a seat on your bench you simply tell them…

“We have a conditional contract on the property. We’ll know soon if it sticks.  Would you like to know if it fails to complete?”

Nine out of ten buyers will say, “Yes please!”

Keep their details, and if the contract does fall over, bingo – go to your bench and get your reserves onto the field.  Usually another offer/contract isn’t far away.

And if your current contract does stick, it’s nice to tell any bench players that they won’t be getting a run today – the property has sold.

Using another sporting analogy – it pays to have all your bases covered!