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Karen Sloan, Real Estate Pro in Wayne, PA

Are agents having success with open houses right now?

Asked by Karen Sloan, Wayne, PA Thu Sep 16, 2010

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In my opinion, open houses are great for new and/or hungry agents who have nothing to do. There's a good chance you might pick up an unrepresented buyer there, and you might meet a few people who are or are not looking to buy also! But to sell a house? No. I have had 1 agent in the past 11 years that I know of who sold the house they were sitting in this way. The rest? Yeah they pick up buyers. Period. But it makes the seller think you're working hard!

I do them on the off chance that 1 in 1 million just might walk through the door that day, but only on the seller's request. Many of my sellers don't seem to want open houses at all.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 17, 2010
None of the responses matter until we define success.
Some say an Open House is only successful if you sell the house.
Others say an Open House is successful if you get a few buyers to commit to your services.
Still others believe no open house is worthwhile and those who say they are are not being truthful.

There are many ways an Open House can be successful, but it does require a bit of effort and a clear vision for what outcome you are seeking.

Karen, what do you call a successful Open House?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
I recently had some great success with an open house. I got the buyer from the open house, sold that particular listing and also got the listing for the buyers house. I hit the trifecta. I also had quite a few people through the house that day. As you know though, those are few and far between. Overall I think open houses can work for you if you work them correctly.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Really depends on your market.

In my little city, it's a rarity when agents don't do open houses because we know that done right, we can
pick up very good leads.

On one of my open house last month, during a "slow" day when only 6 groups came in, I was able to engage more of them in longer conversations. One couple told me they'd like to buy another home in another city, but need to sell their home first. Shortly after, listed their home for sale and I'm helping them buy their replacement property. Not bad for one afternoon's work!

Interestingly enough, I have yet had to have a buyer walk in and buy the house I'm holding open.

In recent years, I tracked the sources of my leads that turned into escrows: 30% of them came from open houses. So hungry or not, as an agent in MY market, open house is a must. And my co-realtors in my neck of the woods will agree. It may not worth it for some, but it's worth it for us!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 18, 2010
I guess I should clarify my answer. That was the first house I sold from doing an open house in 7 years. I don't think they are a waste of time just as I don't think taking floor time is a waste of time. Yes there have been many open houses that I didn't get anyone through at all during an open house. But there were others that I got buyers from that ended up buying properties through me. I guess when I say you have to work them correctly I mean that when I do get people in there, I really try to get as much information from them as possible so I can follow up with them. Name, phone number and email are obviously the most important. Address if I can get it. I even go to the extent of filling out the info on the sign in sheet for them to make sure I can read it. Yes, some of them throw bogus information in there but for the most part I get good info. I hope that answered the question about working it correctly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 17, 2010
Same here - appeasing the seller is about the extent of it. I had a fairly consistent flow of people for the last one I did and none of them were serious buyers. I don't see the benefit unless you are in an in town area with very low inventory in which case I would do one every Sunday!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Typically open houses in my area do little more than appease the seller; however, I have noticed with so many properties currently listed that agent open houses are proving to be beneficial more than ever. Although it takes food and prizes to get agents to the property...

I have found condo complex open houses do generate activity with other owners who have friends or family that would like to be in the same complex and often turn into a valid lead later on.

I agree with many of the other postings that open houses are not a fantastic way to sell a property, but if you have nothing else to do, it can't hurt to give it a shot.

Lora Elliott - 573-280-2953 -
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
I do not do open houses. I feel it is a waste of time for both the agent and the seller. As of lately, it is also a health risk. I have a young family and I will will not jeopardize my life to "try" and sell a house. Anyone can come through the door and you have no idea of what their intentions are. I have used a different technique by having qualified buyers doing a tour of homes. This way you already know who is entering through the door.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
National statistics are that they are less effective then they were 10 years ago. I believe at that time, they were about 2.8 % effective, now they are about 1.78%. I beleive those are not good odds to inconvenience the seller by making them leave the home and spending 2-3 hours letting strangers into their home with unknown intentions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
I believe you have to use caution now with open houses. They seem to be successul when the listing is brand new. However, some agents seem to use them to send their clients on a Sunday afternoon versus them scheduling the showing. Also, the public is more cautious in giving personal information so you may have wrong contact info on your log-in sheet.
I find that internet marketing is most successful to increase awareness of the home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Hi, Karen.

It's a good question you posed, and it looks like you're getting some varied answers. In my opinion, Open Houses are a good way to meet new people. Sometimes the price is what it is, and it's hard for the seller to move from his/her stance; but an OH gives the agent an opportunity to advertise a listing face-to-face and educate new people.

Maybe the prospect does not like your listing, but they might want to look at others in the area. In today's tough market, any way an agent can meet new people is a plus.

Best of luck to you.


Timothy M. Garrity | Brown McKinney Real Estate, Co.
Real Estate Professional & Consultant Email| Website
215-825-2250 x 1007 Office | 267-879-2716 Mobile | 267-519-5490 Fax
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Karen they work in some areas better than others as well as better with some types of homes better than others. The hous still needs to be priced correctly, in good condition and in an area where you will get traffic. With Overpriced homes the open house will not help do anything if the market price is much lower than what the price of the subject home is.

I wrote a blog a couple of months back, please let me know what you think.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010

Can you explain what you mean by "work them correctly?"


Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
RE/MAX Action Realty
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Of the people in my circle? No! Personally? No!

Those are the short answers. I used to have great luck with opens. I always put a lot of hard word into them, but nothing and no amount of advertising is working right now. I wish it was. I have several clients who would like me to do opens that wanted nothing to do with it in the beginning of the listing. I know it is a panic last ditch effort to try to sell. It is difficult for me because I am spending time and money on opens that are not producing so much as a lookyloo.

I'd love to hear some new ideas if anyone has any.

Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
I guess that depends on who you ask. I also believe that many Realtors lie about business.

Open houses in my opinion are a waste of time. Most people who attend usually have no clue about price and haven't even begun the mortgage process. They are just lookyloos.

Of the Realtors I have talked to lately, none have been having any success.

I do not like to do opens because I am against dual agency if it's my listing.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
RE/MAX Action Realty
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
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