Question Details

Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558

BUYERS & AGENTS Open House turnout: How much does weather affect your decision to go to an OPEN HOUSE?

Asked by Ruthless, 60558 Sun Feb 10, 2008

I know open houses have poor turnouts during big football games (at least in big sports towns) and you take into account holidays. But if there are open houses already scheduled and the weather turns out to be worst than anticipated, how bad does the weather have to be to stop serious buyers who had planned on going from actually going?

For example, its been more than 6 months since I've seen a great crop of Open Houses in Oak Park, IL but the temperature is -4° with wind chills of -26°. Or what if the foot of snow dumped in the Northern suburbs of Chicago occurred on a Sunday morning? Or what if you have tornado warnings or lightning storms? Or just plain sloppy unpleasant weather?

At what point are agents sitting at open houses alone? At what point does an agent cancel an open house?

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R -

I only cancel if I consider it a safety issue for folks driving or - that I should be with my family. As Silvia mentioned, that doesn't happen often but did happen just few weeks ago and I canceled the open house.

When I stopped by on Monday to check on things, my sign was in the neighbors yard 2 doors down. There were limbs in the yard so I helped coordinate with the owner to get the clean-up crew out.

The next weekend I had 18 groups through on Saturday and 22 on Sunday. I was shocked because my other listings have been way slow. (It was still drizzly weather that weekend.)
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
How about a sign that says, "Hot Chocolate and Coffee Inside"?

I don't know that it will do much to increase traffic, maybe one person. Hey, if you only have 2, that's 100% increase! It will make the property more memorable.

During seller markets, I did OH in snow with 20 visitors.....but, not today. :-(

Particularly now......even serious buyers have confidence that there will be enough inventory from which to choose, that it is not necessary to go "today" and many will delay if weather conditions are unpleasant. There isn't the same "fear of loss" that the property will be gone. Exceptions might be the relo buyer who is in town this weekend, and must make best use of the time......regardless of conditions. But, that person is probably w/ a Realtor and will view properties based upon matched criteria, not OH status.

Fortunately, we have had a mild winder in NJ, so far......knock on wood...or knock on steel (anyone from England?) The mild weather has encouraged more showings and more buyer activity, with or without an open house.

I sit an OH once it is advertised, but I once had the sellers insist they would now stay home, believing no one would come due to weather conditions. We did have visitors and the sellers politely moved out the family room as it was shown.

Yes, Ruth, weather definitely impacts OH turnout and the market in general. Sellers get concerned about liability with icy conditions. A good reason for an OH host to use lots of sand or salt to melt away the ice......and have lots of towels for messy shoes.

I oppose canceling an OH unless the conditions are just so bad that it very dangerous for the agent to drive. i.e. A Noreaster with trees down and power outages justifies a cancellation. Less than desireable weather may make the OH less productive, but definitely does not justify a cancellation. The buyer who may come will be discouraged and that could cost a sale.

-26 degree wind chill is brutal........ perhaps in addition to hot chocolate and coffee, a Realtor could provide hot pocket hand warmers, too!

Good luck at your OH today, Elvis.

Nice to see you on Trulia, Ruth, Sylvia and Patrick!

Deborah
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
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I was holding off on awarding best answer in hopes that I might get some good feedback from buyers. CJ, I especially like your comment "I can earn" instead of "I can get" and typing with your fingers crossed made me smile.

Elvis, if you hadn't posted your response I would have emailed you to find out. I'm glad to hear it wasn't a waste of time. It's almost impossible for an agent to cancel an open house but really easy for a buyer to decide not to go.

Thanks everyone for your input.
Ruth
Web Reference: http://www.Oak-Park-IL.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
Oh! Mr. & Mrs. Buyer, that sound is the tornado siren. Don`t worry, this will be a great time for me to show you the cellar.

What, Are you thinking?
If the buyer is willing to go out in life threatening weather, to view your home. They will make an appointment with their Realtor, and warm up the snowmobile.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
MVP'08
Fortunately for us in Marin, there is no extreme weather - the worst is heavy rain and wind but nothing compares to northeasters I had been thru in N.Y.

For us, raining days do not stop people from coming out and see the houses. Sometimes we have more buyers through because they can't be outside hiking or biking or mawn the lawn, so they come and see houses.

For me, I can cancel the open house all the way through Friday noon, when we can't change the paper ad anymore. Once an ad is on the paper, I hold the open house no matter what.

I think the only time I would cancel an open house after it's advertised will be if the sellers are sick and have to stay home for some reason; or if the sellers insist (you can't hold the house open unless the house is open). But I do educate my sellers that once I advertise it, it's on.

You don't want to disappoint somebody who came all the way from who knows where to see a house and then found out the house is not open. That's just not right.

Sylvia

I came from Taiwan for my graduate study. I once walked the whole football stadium to the admissions office for my work-study program and I was the only one who showed up - tured out there was a blizzard and I had no idea. It WAS cold.

Hi Elvis - I used to work in Evanston commuting from Chicago via train. Nice place. I love windy city!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Marin County, CA
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R - Need all of 'em I can earn - TY -

I held an open house and had 12 groups come through with two serious buyers talking about where their furniture could go! (As soon as I finish this email, I am heading to the altar!!!)

It was 70 degrees (the warmest in months) and every one was in a good mood.

Hard to type with my fingers all crossed!

Good luck all!

CJ
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Okay... here's my post-mortem...

I had three courageous and hardy groups of people through the Open House... two attended with agents and one on her own... serious buyers, and brave at that. so you can never tell...

it's warmed up significantly (to 5°) and the sun is out... so it's t-shirt and shorts weather around here.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
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Hi Elvis....

Glad to meet you. :-)

Next time I am in Chicago.....:-) (It was supposed to be next week....but, it's not happening!)

Ruth....That means I won't get to meet you in Febr in the windy city, either. Where's Patti? Ruth, Sorry to hijack your thread.. :-)

Deborah
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
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Elvis,
You would have to tell us the address and your name. :-)

CJ..... I agree w/ you. We posted concurrently last time, so I didn't see your post until after I completed mine.

Deborah
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
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I would have welcomed visits from both of you... unfortunately I think we'd have lots of time to chat.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
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We are talking drastic and extreme here - Hope there is no earthquake nor wildfires. If there is no houses around of if the roads are closed, then I have to assume that open house won't work.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Marin County, CA
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Elvis:
If it were yesterday I would have stopped by to say hi. I was in Evanston and it seems I have been a lot lately.

Sylvia:
I don't know CA or especially Marin, but what if there was an earthquake or wildfires?

I HOPE we get SOME BUYERS chiming in!!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
Ruth, that's a great question, 'cause I was just talking with my wife this a.m. over breakfast... I have an open house from 1-3 today, and it's currently -4° here in Evanston, and I doubt I'll have two people at this "first open house".

I may be sitting alone... a disappointing turn out for my client... and I'll sit with my laptop and scroll through Trulia. But I'm not going to cancel... the advertising's been done, and the client is expecting the open... and the client is not being inconvenienced, since she works on Sunday anyway, she's not at home... so Open House Here I come!

I'll let you know how it went.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
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R -

Humble bow...

Thank you,
CJ
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2008
Well, I'm on Trulia for the first time in two weeks because I'm too chicken to go to the 12 open houses I had planned on going to. That and Patti was busy with a buyer and couldn't go with me today.

I once got frost bite from running errands because I wasn't in the car long enough for the heat to kick on. I had to dig it out of two feet of snow and my butt got wet. The car had frozen vinyl seats. That was 25 years ago and it is still a pain in my you know where (scaring but no nerve damage as proven by the current sensation of pain in cold weather).

A couple weekends ago I stopped into two open houses during very muddy slushy weather. I hadn't planned on it or I would have worn foot ware that was easier to remove. The open houses were packed with people.

But YES Deborah, I would say conditions are hazardous. Much of the sloppy deep snow melted just enough to turn into ice that is too thick and too cold for salt to work on today. If a homeowner wasn't diligent in shoveling that last inch of snow, or snow that was blown after shoveling, there is nothing you can do about it now. I slipped twice walking the dogs last night and I think one of the patches was in front of a For Sale home.

Hi CJ: We haven't met but you are in line for a Best Answer from me.

Patrick: You crack me up!

Ruth

The web reference is a pdf that I put together from a USA article for friends and family because my hubby is now working in Siberia. Even with the coats, I don't think my dogs are getting their walk today.

The following is a quote from last year's CBC News in Canada:

"Once the wind chill makes the temperature feel like –28 or colder, exposed skin can freeze in under 30 minutes. When it drops to –40, frostbite can occur in less than 10 minutes. Take it to –55, and you're in danger within two minutes. Anything colder than that and Environment Canada warns you shouldn't go outside at all."
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
Deborah... I'd gladly provide an address, and my name and contact info has been in my profile for quite some time. Feel free to drop by.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
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