Home Selling in 18974>Question Details

Connie, Both Buyer and Seller in Magnolia, DE

do open houses sell houses?

Asked by Connie, Magnolia, DE Wed Feb 24, 2010

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Connie,

Please note - I'm not a Real Estate pro. I'm a Buyer, Landlord, and investor here in PA. I am also a successful sales professional. So my commentary and thoughts will be as an educated consumer whose been buying selling houses with their own money for quite some time.

Connie - your profile lists you as "buyer and seller". But clearly this particular question is the Seller half of you. So ... as a Seller what do you really care about? May I assume it's, "Selling your house for the best price possible and in a timely fashion"? Right?

If that's correct, then look at it this way - open houses are merely one of many "tools in the tool chest". Are they effective? The "simple" and short answer is yes. BUT - they are a very minor part of the marketing plan. Whether they work 1% of the time or 5% of the time, they have *SOME* effectiveness.

And this is going to be affected by What Area the home is in. Big time! In certain urban areas, they would just be an excuse for noisy neighbors to come waltzing through your home to see it, whether they are qualified or not. In a more suburban setting, they have - in my personal opinion - more validity.

The open houses that are truly effective and that you SHOULD have - are "Realtor/Agent Open Houses". These are open houses that are ONLY open to real estate professionals. This gives your home a lot of exposure to many agents/Realtors. I think that it's important to do one of these at the very start of your listing. Why? Are all these agents supposed to know how REALLY LOVELY your home, merely from a few photos on the MLS and Internet? Yeah I didn't think so. So it's important to get all these agents to KNOW your home. So if you have done YOUR JOB correctly as the Seller (making sure it's Staged and Priced Correctly), then ALL those agents become your potential pool for bringing buyers to you.

There has been an "interesting" sidebar discussion here on your thread. My thoughts are the following:
1. Dual Agency is not illegal in PA. It is allowed here but not in some states.
2. Dual Agency is not "Unethical". That is a ridiculous notion, in my personal opinion.

While Dual Agency is certainly not unethical, Agents can ACT in an unethical manner - if they did not properly and accurately disclose to both parties how dual agency works. You know what? Any agent can be "unethical". That's right - even a dedicated Buyers Agent or Sellers Agent. So this brings me to my next point, or rather - right back to the very start of the whole thing.

You want to SELL your home for the most money, in a timely fashion, right? Some things you need to do yourself, like stage your home and get it really prepped, de-cluttered and cleaned spotless. An agent can help with some advice but it's your house at the end of the day. You also need to make sure that you are priced well, against proper current Comps. Your agent can help with this quite a bit and you can also do some research here on Trulia.

The other thing you can do is get yourself a super good, highly successful and super experienced Selling Agent. Your home is one of the largest investments that you have. So, you need the best representation that you can get. I would recommend that you interview several very successful agents, to find the right one for you. You may have to interview at least 3-4, perhaps even more.

As a Seller I think it's Very Important to focus on agents with a Solid and Proven Track Record, year over year. Why? Because I'm a sales professional and I can tell you from my experience that the people who consistently do a lot of business ARE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS. Period. The results do matter! Of course, it is also important that you can have a good relationship with your agent - certainly!

There has been some acrimonious discussion on your thread, which I think is unnecessary. It's regrettable that one person chose to hijack your thread and make it into a personal soapbox. But, perhaps this is somewhat useful as it indicates a fair bit about that person and who they are, right? I'll leave it at that.

I hope that you found this helpful, and appreciate a "non-pro" jumping in here to provide my thoughts as well. I hope that you have found some value in this perspective.

Lastly, you are certainly aware of Earned Income Tax here in PA. But please do be aware that the rate does vary by area (some areas have none). The official PA site for this is: http://munstatspa.dced.state.pa.us/Registers.aspx.

So ... if you buy in one town vs. another you might save yourself thousands of dollars per year in taxes.

Best regards,

6 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
If open houses sold listings, then most agents would do open houses every chance they get. Someone may purchase a home that they saw at an open house, or someone may purchase a home that they saw with an agent. It is a matter of how they were exposed to the home. Most buyers purchase a home that they saw with an agent.

An open house is another way to expose the home to potential buyers. It's another form of advertising and another service the listing agent can provide to the seller.

Many agents use the open house to get new business. The agent hosting the open house should be working in the best interest of the seller.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
It happens. . . but not regularly. Many agents "do" Open Houses, not because they think the home will sell as a result, but instead, to meet prospective Buyers who may not be working with another agent. Open Houses can be a great way for an agent to find a new client.
I make it clear to my Sellers that it's unlikely their homes will sell because of an Open House and therefore these "events" should be used sparingly in the marketing plan. I usually have an Open shortly after the home is listed and then again shortly after a Price reduction. That way the Open House is much more meaningful event to the househunting public.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
I love Jeff's advice to make sure it is staged and priced correctly.
Our job is to get people to look at the house.Once they come in they will buy it based on their needs and the price.Sellers sometimes say "we can always reduce the price or bring me an offer "
If it is priced in their price range buyers come to the open house or ask their agent to show it. When we set up appointments buyers usually tell us what price they are qualified for so we show homes in their price range and slightly higher allowing for room for negotiation but if it is too high we do not show those homes that the buyer will not qualify for.
Web Reference: http://www.gitabantwal.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 27, 2010
Well said Jeff! You appear to be a very bright investor!
The bottom line like any business is customer service and it is our job as licensed professionals do do our best and use all the tools that we have to better service buyers, sellers and investors!

Frank Dolski
Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Hearthside-Lahaska
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 25, 2010
Well said, Jeff..and good advice!

I also agree with you that it's not the" title" an agent is given in a transaction that matters, but how conduct themselves..
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Hi Connie!

This question comes up often on trulia, and from what I have seen, it seems that open houses are more successful in some areas than others.
In Manhattan - they are an important way of marketing coops. In my area, they may be part of my marketing plan ( an optional part) but the percentage of homes that actually sell from the open house, is minimal.

The open house is a way, as was mentioned below, for the agent sitting on the open house to find some new buyers. It is also a way of exposing the home to the market. And, it is also a way of making it easy for agents to send over their buyers to take a look.

As the saying goes........it might not help, but it can't hurt!

Good luck!
debbie Rose
Prudential NJ Properties
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
I see a lot of different opinions on this thread already, however, Connie, I will tell you that yes they do sell houses.

It is a relaxed atmosphere where buyers feel at ease to approach the property. Sometimes they have an agent sometimes they don't. Anytime I can do an open house on my listings I do. The last 2 had fabulous results, 1 of which sold and the buyer had their agent with them. I also got multiple offers as the buyers who had looked at it a week prior got nervous about the open house so they sent an offer hoping it wouldn't be sold to another couple
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Connie, Yes they do sell houses sometimes. I have sold my own listing in Warminster at open house. These days there are many buyers looking to take advantage of tax credit and everyone wants to look on sunday.When I have an open house I announce in mls that agents can send their buyers. So you get prospects sent by other agents and people who see the ad and signs . All you need is one buyer.
Infact I wrote a blog abot this topic a few days ago.
You can read http://www.activerain.com/blogsview/1505543/are-open-houses-…
Agents have an open house for many reasons but one of the reasons is hoping that a buyer will come and buy it.
You will have curious neighbors also coming in, but all you need is one buyer.
In some areas it may be different, but in Warminster, there is a good chance you can sell it by having an open house. Make sure it shows well and priced right.
Web Reference: http://www.gitabantwal.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Hello Connie,

To answer your question, no, open houses do not sell homes. Why? Well, in most cases people stumble upon the open while driving along not knowing anything about the home such as the price. Usually, people who attend open houses have not been qualified for a mortgage and are not working with a buyer agent.

Many Realtors like to have opens, especially new agents because it's how they can attract new business. Since most people who attend opens are not working with Realtors, the agent sitting at the open will get all of the attendee's phone numbers and email addresses and will attempt to contact them later that same evening.

I don't know if many sellers notice but in most cases these days, the Realtor who lists the home will not be the one who holds the open. They will ask around the office to see who wants to have the open for them because the listing agent is just "too busy" to be bothered by sitting at their own open for 2-3 hours so they pass it on to someone else.

The best way to get any home to sell, is to be realistic about the value of the home, hire a Realtor who is honest, aggressive and who will look out for your best interests.

Most Realtors will blow smoke because sellers like to hear that the Realtor will hold opens for them because the seller doesn't really know better and since the Realtor wants the business, they agree to it but trust me, when Realtors are all together in the office or at a function, they all talk about how they took an over priced listing and now they have to beat the seller up (so-to-speak) to get them to lower it and to keep them quiet for a while, they will have an open house.

I don't blow smoke. I tell it like it is. Facts are facts. Have the listing agent pull the last 3 homes that are very similar to yours that have sold in the past two months and that is how you will find the value of your home or pretty close to it. No need for opens. Opens are the Realtors last chance.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office ask for Renee
http://www.reneeporsia.com Quickly becoming the number one real estate website in Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Hi Connie
I think it all depends on the locality. In some areas open houses tend to go over well, in other markets not so good. It also depends on the type of home. I would think higher end luxury homes have a greater need to be featured via an open house. These homes have a lot of customization that need to get pointed out to prospective buyers. For the average house though, I feel like most homebuyers start their search on the internet.

An open house is one tool in the arsenal. It's not always necessary or cost effective to use all the tools. I'd defer to your realtor on this one. If they're an experienced professional they should be able to answer all your questions

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
You bet!

Selling anything is all about visibility. Simply stated, the more people that know about an opportunity, the better the chances of finding a buyer. Open houses contribute to this visibility!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 24, 2013
Statistically speaking Connie, no. However it can't hurt to explore all your marketing options when selling your house. From my experiences, open houses however can be effective in a situation where you are the highest or neat highest priced house in the neighborhood with tons of upgrades. Sometimes it isn't the easier sell to be the most upgraded house in the neighborhood, however if people can informally tour through the inside of the property they have the ability to see the value for themselves and fall in love with the house bringing you a strong offer.

Again, statistically speaking open houses do not sell houses however in certain instances it may be to your benefit to have your agent host one for you.

Hope this helps and best of luck to you!

Best regards,

Mike Bottaro
HomeStarr Realty
Office: 215-355-5565
Cell: 267-307-2444
Fax: 267-282-5666
Email: mbottaro@homestarrinc.com
"Before You Schedule to Show, Call Bo"
PA Licensed Realtor # RS306824
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 24, 2013
Not by themselves. No one thing sells a home on its own. Selling a home is a comprehensive strategy which includes, competitive pricing and analysis, marketing, and a great agent. Depending on your area and the type of home you are selling, an open house may be part of that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
No.It will not.If the house is price right it will sell.Houses that I am interested in are not even offer open houses.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 10, 2012
Jeff's answer below is so well written and thorough... it's all you need!

Sometimes they do sell houses, sometimes they don't. It depends on how much effort the agent puts into promoting it, how much you do to help sell the house (staging, cleaning it, etc), and if it is properly priced to begin with. If it is overpriced, no number of open houses will help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
If open houses aren't working for an agent I would learn different techniques and ideas from agents who have sold homes as a direct result of an open house. I hadn't sold one due to an open house for a couple of years, then I remembered a few tips a more experienced agent gave me regarding other homes in the area, preparation, invitations, signage, posting the event as an ad, contacting your data base (potential buyers), friends, family, etc and bingo, traffic picked up. As with any marketing you need to tweak it to work for you, exposure is the key. If no one knows your having an open house, your not likely to sell the house as a direct result of the open house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Hi Connie
I have sold homes many times through open house...as a dual agent, as an agent representing seller, as bystander as buyer comes through property and then brings their agent...there are many ways holding a home open can benefit the seller. The key point is that the property needs exposure to sell. Now the approach is diverse. It all depends on attitude of the agent. If I prepare for an open house I am going to have your home stats and then several other homes in same area that offer a feature your home does not offer. In this way if the potential buyer does not prefer your home I will have options for them. This is true if another agent is holding open a home with the feature yours does not they will bring their buyer to your home so that is another way open houses work. Also, when the neighbors come in to be "looky loos" as some agents distastefully describe, I welcome them to be the people of choice to bring their friends and family in to the neighborhood! They are great to see your home and I welcome everyone. The business of building a network of people from all open houses and every contact outside the open house can lead to a sale and the point of listing a home is to sell it. So, it is key to build a buyer database and seller database and work diligently to bring the buyers and sellers together in mulit-faceted ways.

As for dual agency...when I first work with a seller or buyer I explain the contract negotiation process and how to read comps so that if I were to become limited in representation they have been trained to tell me what to put on the contract since I would no longer be able to negotiate the terms. Educate the client and they will be armed for success!

All my best
Laura Myers
Keller Williams Arizona Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
I have been selling homes for 18 years... I have yet to sell one as a direct result of the open house. As stated, most open houses are lead generation tools for agents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
According to Realtor surveys 90% of the time the buyer that purchases the property will be represented by a Realtor. 10% of the time the Listing Agent will find the buyer.

In most cases open houses are considered to be lead generation tools for Realtors to find buyers. If you are selling your home without professional representation, then these figures do not apply.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
1-2% of the time, in my market anyway. (midwest)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Hello Connie,

Open houses can sell houses however the percentage is low. I like to think that open houses are for stratedgy. An open house is always a must after first listing your home. I also think it is a good idea to put one on when there is high interest that will help to move the process along quicker, or if you make a price reduction. Brokers open houses are beneficial to do after first listing your home. It gives exposure to agents who will pre-view your home with hopes of them bringing their clients back for a showing. Also a brokers open house will give you much needed feedback right from the beginning which will be useful to how you and your agent are presenting your home. If you need me to direct you to an agent in your area or give you further advice, please contact me at any time!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Hi Connie,
The answer to your question is yes! Open houses do sell houses. In fact, I just sold one of my listings in Pipersville in Northbranch from a person who came to the open house from the sign. It settles on April 26th!
I have sold other homes at open houses as well! But the percentage that they will sell at an open house is like 5%> But, when marketing a home, agent must use every resource possible. Such as:
Multiple websites- I use over 34!
Print copy- Is being taken over by the internet buy buyers still look and buy through them.
Good pictures- have to get them to the home
A well staged home is also critical. You must use all the tools that are available to sell your home, some agents/brokers have more to offer. If you are interviewing agents, I suggest you interview at least 2-3.
Not sure if you home is listed but if not, please feel free to contact me of go to my website.

Frank Dolski MBA, ABR, e-PRO
Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
215-794-1070 x103
Web Reference: http://www.FrankDolski.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Hi Connie,

In my experience, Open Houses do sell houses - in fact, I'm working with a client right now that I met at an Open House, and they are buying the house that they saw! The more people you get to view the house, the more likely you are to sell it. A good, comprehensive marketing plan for you home, which does include Open Houses, will help you get your home sold.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010

In a seller's market it seems to be very effective. In a buyer's market much like what we have now, I would say the chances are slim that the Open House will be the selling catalyst. Is it impossible? No. Nothing is impossible.

It is possible for the Realtor to gain some clients and get in front of consumers who may be considering buying or selling.. The problem in a "Buyer's Market" is that Open Houses invite people into your home that are possibly not even qualified to buy or quite frankly, just inquisitive neighbors wanting to scope out your digs.

Proper online marketing, multiple photos on all of the online media sites, as well as blogging about the home for sale on appropriate websites, signage, video, and such will be the best way to continuously show your home 24/7. Price it to sell, stage it for a good visual first impression, and allow easy showings. Open Houses do not hurt but these other suggestions are more effective in selling homes.

I would like to know what others think. Great question!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Yes they do! Many agents will tell you they've sold as a result of the Open house, and it can't be left out in a Marketing plan in my opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Depends--sometimes yes, others no--if you are looking to sell, keep in mind, maximum exposure and pricing are paramount.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
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