Home Buying in 11702>Question Details

Westcott Gro…, Real Estate Pro in Babylon, NY

Do serious buyers prefer to go to Open Houses or work with a Realtor by appointment?

Asked by Westcott Group, Babylon, NY Wed Aug 5, 2009

Help the community by answering this question:


Dan, by definition, a person is only a "buyer" if they have the intention or are in the process of "buying."
Otherwise, they're a spectator.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 20, 2009
Carol, I have been a serious wanting to be buyer for many years. The problem has been prices rising far faster than inflation. Now that prices are dropping I will be buying something. Do not get excited just yet, I am waiting for several months AFTER the buyers bribes expire. I am aware of the alt-a and subprime problems. I know about the almost 3 million foreclosures already in the pipeline now and the millions more to come through 2012. It may be 2013 or longer before they all go through the system and are available.

I know how FHA is having serious financial problems. I am aware of the tightening credit standards. I learned the federal reserve was buying mortgage backed securities and will stop before summer. I know how the housing prices went way out of historic norms for valuations.

I NEVER needed a realtor to tell me what I could afford. I have asked bankers. I have also researched what is considered a safe amount to be in debt. Once some years ago when I talked to a banker I was told I could get a loan for all but $300 of my income for a house. That alone stopped me from buying. It showed something was very, very wrong. Now, the real pricing is starting to return.

I learned ALL of the above without a realtors help. I have researched for myself to find out what is really going on. What I can afford to buy is not the same as what I am willing to pay. When prices are at 10 times avg. income they need to drop a lot. When they get to 4 times income they will still be high. The average house price for over a century was around $100k inflation adjusted. I refuse to buy until prices come back to earth.

A serious buyer does research on their own to find out what a realtor is not telling them as well as to confirm what they do.

In case you are thinking I can not afford a house, there are many I could buy now for cash. But why should I throw away perfectly good money on a declining asset when it will be much cheaper next year and the year after? 19% loss in a year last year, what is to come next year?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 19, 2009

I find that serious buyers work with Realtors by appointment, mostly. I have had buyers who want to look at open houses, but experience has been most buyers, who work with Realtors go by appointment.

John Palmisano
Keller Williams Properties
Weston, Fl 33326
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 27, 2009
I think that a savvy buyer is serious even when they are not working with an agent. An educated consumer is always the best so for the average first time homebuyer it is almost impossible to negotiate without someone representing them and should definitely use an agent. But for those realtors out there who think that if someone is not serious because they are not working with an agent, think again. Treat everyone who walks through the door or calls as if they are a serious buyer. You never know who a serious until after they sign the contract.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 19, 2009
Working with a Realtor would be best because the realtor could take all your real estate needs into consideration and email you Everthing - on the market plus those having a open house. Just driving around can waste a lot of you time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 4, 2010
I have found buyers prefer both options. Sometimes they are in the fact finding phase of purchasing a home and they attend an Open House to see what the market prices are, review the size of a home if they are considering a change etc. At these Open Houses I have met many buyers who then start to work with me to continue the home search. They are comfortable with an agent that provides value and information to them and listens.

I also have many buyers who contact me and make an appointment to see a house because that fits the schedule for them. Very often it is a home that fits the list of requirements because they have settled on the type and price of home they are looking for. Now they are seeking the correct home. It all depends on the phase of the home buying process they are in. Just starting to look or know what we want is a general review of the buyers history with my career.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 10, 2010
Serious buyer: Someone whose "intent" is to purchase a home (whether they actually end up doing so, or not).

I find that serious buyers like to do both. They like to work with a Realtor to make sure that they're finding all the homes that fit their needs currently on the market. And they like to visit open houses (very often without their Realtor) because they like the freedom and the spontaneity of being able to do so.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 27, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Dan, thanks for clarifying that, and providing me the opportunity to refine my definition a bit further.

A "serious buyer," by this refined definition, is someone who is willing, ready, and able to buy in the current market at current market prices. They must also be motivated by a timeline.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 23, 2009
Carol, if I found the right place for me at the right price I would buy it today. Write a check and have it done. But so far the prices are keeping me away. The desire is real, the ability is real. But me overpaying for a house, that is a fantasy someone else holds.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 23, 2009
Perhaps "Serious Buyers" by any definition would enjoy reading through this....

and this written by the same person 01/18/2008
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 23, 2009
Definition :

A serious buyer: A buyer who has done their homework and is aware of what the real estate market is and does not want to pay a lot more for a house than it will be worth a year or 2 from now

A foolish buyer: A buyer who buys a house now because they get $8k back and pays $40k extra because of it. Then watches as prices drop even lower than before they got into a bidding war. A buyer who believes every sales pitch that is given. Like "there has never been a better time to buy".

Just because a buyer is waiting to buy does not stop them from being a serious buyer.

Any questions?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 20, 2009
It's obvious everyone has their own opinion of what a "Serious Buyer" is.
Some feel it's anyone who has money and can pay for their Services..To me it's someone who prepares and becomes informed so they can make wise decisions.

I will freely admit that a "Serious Buyer" is one that can actually Buy but will not concur that anyone who has been approved for a loan or has money is a "Serious Buyer". A lot of those type of Serious Buyers are in Serious Trouble right now.

I'm not looking at this question as an RE Agent or as being about sales, but from the perspective of a member of the Non-Pro world........From the following view which I stated previously.

"People can argue/debate the importance of Open houses all they wish but IMO are overlooking the important contribution Open Houses have as a great PR vehicle for Agents to show they are NOT pushy car salespersons and help create informed buyers. They are not a waste of time unless you are one of those Agents that's just overwhelmed with clients.
It is time to accept the fact that RE Agents NEED to do or participate in any of the things that allows contact between themselves and the public. Anything to get people to look at houses, to consider Buying, to talk face to face with an Agent is a positive thing in this market...."
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 20, 2009
I'll keep this simple, and short.

I am sure serious buyers do attend open houses (very often, their agents sent them over)....they are also mixed in with numerous not so serious buyers, too.

That being said.....a serious/motivated buyer - one that wants to buy within a few months - will want to make sure they have seen EVERYTHING in their price range,. Most ikely, they will have searched the internet...and then they will want to visit everything that interests them. I highly doubt that a serious buyer will sit and wait to see if a particular home is having an open house. They will call an agent, and set up appointments to see everything that is of interest right away..........there might even be listings that haven't hit the MLS yet. They will want to cover ALL bases. By doing that.....they will be shown all appropriate homes...even those that have never had an open house!

I said I'd be short (and sweet!).....so..............the end! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 19, 2009
To my mind, a serious buyer is one who is motivated by time and has the means to purchase. Lacking one of those, not so serious.

There is no reason in the world for agents to hold open houses for the purpose of meeting not-so-serious, I might buy in the next year if the stars are right, buyers. Do the numbers: if they visit three open houses a week three times a month for a year, what are the odds you (the agent) will have them choose you? (Hint: less than fifty-fifty).

But there is no reason in the world for a serious buyer to limit their search to houses that are held open to the public. Really, if you find that great house right away, sure. But to thoroughly canvass the inventory to find the very best house for yourself, but excluding the ones that don't have open houses?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 19, 2009
Todays Buyer/Seller has gone through a few consecutive years now of reading about, discussing, experiencing the current market. They have listened to who the Banks blame, who the mortgage Brokers blame, who RE Agents blame, who their friends and family blame.

There is much distrust and people are not for the most part going to just assume that because a person has a RE license or belongs to an organization that they have expertise or are ethical. Many are not going to just "Contact an Agent".

Open houses allow people to see with their own eyes without being obligated in any way "I showed them the house so I deserve a Commission" a property on the market to compare to other properties. It allows them to view how Agents conduct themselves and it can be a pleasant experience without pressure of any kind or it can be a way to determine "That Agent is Pushy or Helpful".

People can argue/debate the importance of Open houses all they wish but IMO are overlooking the important contribution Open Houses have as a great PR vehicle for Agents to show they are NOT pushy car salespersons and help create informed buyers. They are not a waste of time unless you are one of those Agents that's just overwhelmed with clients.

It doesn't much matter how we wish things were rather it is time to accept the fact that RE Agents NEED to do or participate in any of the things that allows contact between themselves and the public. Anything to get people to look at houses, to consider Buying, to talk face to face with an Agent is a positive thing in this market....

The public as a whole intends to inform themselves about a lot of things as many feel they have been taken advantage of in many areas and do not intend to be a victim or that person who bought and lost a home. IMHO

People are tired of Cliches, Sales pitches, Great time to buy, You can trust me I belong to comments, they want to receive information and they want to work with someone they see is intent on EARNING their Respect /Trust....Just having a License or paying dues to NAR does not nor will it ever accomplish that task.


Open Houses are one resource many consumers view as a way to become informed on the path to becoming a Serious Buyer...Serious Buyers Buy......

Thatsa my opinion anyway, Dunes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 19, 2009
Having been a buyer, a seller and and a broker, I've seen both sides of the coin. It depends on the individual of course as well as their experience, time table for purchasing etc.....Technology has given consumers the ability to do their homework easier, that's for sure. I used to get serious buyers come to my open houses and when I was a buyer, I did frequent many on my own.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 19, 2009
Serious buyers look at any way they can to find what they want. There is no one set way.

Look on the net, go to realtor.com. Put in a search request and wait for things to arrive. Drive around an area and look for places for sale by owner, go to open houses, ask people if they know of anything similar that might be for sale or even someone who might want to move who has not decided yet.

Why take up a realtors time going to an open house when there is a good chance you will not like it? Why not go the website route with emails showing new listings from the mls itself? Why wait for someone else when a buyer can look for themselves?

The realtor by appointment can be busy when a buyer wants to find out info. The open house can be crappy and a waste of everyones time to go to. The net is filled with inaccurate info. How about a house that is listed on realtor.com the official MLS site that shows 32 acres when it really has about 1 acre? It is real, it happens. When a realtor depends on the mls they can very innocently be telling a buyer information about a house that is very wrong. When a buyer uses the net to find info it is often misleading. When you go to open houses at least you are seeing what is really there.

I am still trying to find an accurate listing service on the net. I expected realtor.com to be that, I found it was not. On here or zillow I saw a house in a subdivision for $160k that had over 9 million acres of land with it. Needless to say, that was wrong. It was under 2 acres I am sure.

The answer you seek may come down to 1 thing. Is the buyer looking to find what they like or dislike about houses? If so open houses are great. Hate this, like that, the other thing is acceptable. If the seller knows what they want they could easily go to open houses and then go to a realtor. The other option is to ask the realtor for what they want and just hope real hard that they both have the same vision. Sometimes it works well, not always.

There are times a realtor can be your best friend. And there are times they are in the way. If I am at an open house with a realtor buzzing in my ears I will be unhappy. Do not tell me how I could do this and that with the place or how this could be easily improved. I do not like the place, accept it and let me move on. Let me experience the place alone so I can get a feel if it is right for me or not. Do not tell me about the great potential this place has. I can see for myself how it is. I can figure out how to change it if I wish. I see what is. Any offer made on it should not be for what it could become, but on what it is now today.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 19, 2009
serouse buyers will be able to view all the properties that meet their needs faster by seeing them with a Realtor. Open house buyers are going at it the hard way.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
You are right, Georgia. The process can be complex and buyers deserve the expertise and advice of an agent to guide them through it. There is so much information available through various resources - not all of it is relevant to each individual house or person and can sometimes be misleading.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
I'm glad to hear your responses mirror what I am seeing. As we all know buyers should be calling us to represent them since a good Realtor brings much value to the transaction. We should use forums such as this to showcase that value. Ther are so many components to buying and selling. Buyers need to know finding the right house is only the first step. After you find the house there is a myriad of inspections, disclosures, contracts to be signed - contingencies to be met etc.... In todays current economy financing is a challenge as well as appraisels you need a Realtor who works hard to advise and keep your best interest protected. It's best to work with an agent you know or are referred to than someone you call on the fly!

It is a curious thing that buyers don't do that!

Georgia Westcott
Broker/Owner The Westcott Group Real Esate Company
17 Deer Park Ave Babylon
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
My office is finding that more buyers are working independently, or "floating", until they find a neighborhood or area they are interested in, then contacting the listing office for more information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009
Hey Georgia....good question. I am finding that today's buyer finds the property first and then works with whomever is representing it.

I find open houses are diminishing in attendance, but I am getting more direct calls on my listings.
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009
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