Open houses? Waste of time?

Asked by Christine Moran Realtor & Notary, Wilbraham, MA Wed Jun 1, 2011

Do you send your clients to other agent's open houses? Do you feel as though they are an effective means of selling a home or more likely to get buyer business?

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Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Thu Jun 2, 2011
There are many, many reasons to conduct an open house. My Top 10 List follows. However, there are those who choose not to and that is fine also. In my area of Florida, open houses are well atttended. Be advised, not all homes are open house candidates, choose wisely.
At an open house I can:
1. Observe how attendees go about their home search
2. Inquire regarding the tools they use. It's helpful to know if Z or T is the big dog in your area
3. Get home feedback that differs from typical rea comments of lower the price
4. Connect with attendees regarding any of the five major decision they must make this year
5. Insure the attendee recognizes the value this home represents
6. Distribute the tools needed to propagate information about this home to the tertiary audience.
7. Solidify collaborative relationship with co-hosting party. Don't do an open house alone!
8. This is the most cost effective tool to access the 90 day market (That could be important)
9. Yes, I encourage my buyers to attend open houses and respect other agents relationships. Especially when attendee a comes with agent b who previously looked at this home with agent c.
10. And finishing out the top 10 List is the opportunity to engage the attendees in offering more information regarding their needs and challenges via questionnaires and surveys through which they receive dinner coupons or some other token that will be sent to them. They receive something of value and feel their opinion is valued and solicited. Stay focused on your goals. You would be shocked how many positive responses you will receive to the question, "Are you or anyone you know thinking of selling or purchasing a home this summer?"

The opportunities an open house presents is increadible. However, it is crucial to realize successful open houses look nothing like the open house of 1992. Reset your objectives, establish real measuarable goals, get supporting staff (don't need supporting staff? You don't have the vision yet.), and prepare your messaging system. Then go have a ball!

Annette Lawrence
ReMax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
727. 320. 4041
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4 votes
Jan Milstead, , Birmingham, AL
Fri Jun 3, 2011
Certainly I have picked up buyers by holding open houses. In that respect they are good. In my current market - I find them to be slow and the majority of the traffic are just killing time. Interestingly enough - I am finding it is the upper price points - $200k plus - that is generating the most interest. Those priced under have not pulled traffic in the past couple of years.
1 vote
Carmen Brode…, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Wed Jun 1, 2011
I think the majority of open houses are done by agents as a means of trolling for new clients. Those of us who are busy don't do open houses.
1 vote
David Burnham, , Washington, DC
Wed Jun 1, 2011
I don't send clients and I think they are effective in a couple of ways. First, sellers think that they work and they want to have there home held open. So I use it in my listing presentation that I will hold their home open as much as there is demand for. I may not sell there home, but I do get a gauge of interest and I also can hear feedback directly from buyers.

Second, I find them somewhat helpful as far as expanding my sphere, both with buyers and sellers. It has grown my business and I. Tend to close one or two transactions a year from that business.

I have found them to be as successful whether I do 1 our of prep or 10 hours of prep. I find them well worth 4 hours of my time, but not so much worth 12 to 15 hours each week.
1 vote
Christine Mo…, Agent, Wilbraham, MA
Tue Jun 7, 2011
Thanks for all your responses. Most people that come through my open houses have an agent. Their agent should tell them not to take up the other agents time when therer are other people in the house who do not have an agent.
Also it is not my job to explain to you what a short sale is or what the market is like...ask your agent. What did the house down the street sell for? Ask your agent.

My answer? If you like the house have your agent put in an offer.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Thu Jun 2, 2011
Hi, I have had some great success with open houses. I try to hold a few different types, a broker open house, neighbor only open house, and the rest of the public. Many feel the neighbors are a waste of time but you never know who has a friend or family member looking to move to the neighborhood. I haven't sold many homes strictly from the open house but have gotten alot of buyer business. They are necessary to hold because there are a number of buyers that don't want to work with an agent yet and they show up on their own. I wouldn't want to miss out on any opportunity to help get my clients home sold. If you stick to the basics first you won't have to go back to the basics.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
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0 votes
Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Thu Jun 2, 2011

I personally do not feel that public open houses are an effective way to sell a home. I much prefer positioning the home properly and driving private showings. However, the great thing about real estate is that there are so many ways to do business and some agents find open houses to be a great tool. To each their own in this department.
0 votes
Joan Congilo…, Agent, Freehold, NJ
Thu Jun 2, 2011
I never encourage my buyers to go to open houses without me but we all know they do. I usually tell them if they happen to pass an open house w/o me to just sign my name on the guest list. I also honor any agents clients that come to my open house & usually call them to let them know their buyers were there. I don't think open houses are a waste of time. I find it is a good way to generate new clients both buyers and sellers , increase showings and get a feel as to what impression buyers get of the house when they walk in the door. Do they like it, think it is too dated, too cluttered, too pricey? . This feedback is important & helps the sellers sell their home. I usually do open houses when the house is just listed or if there is a price change or major improvement made to the house.
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0 votes
Linda Lorenzo, Agent, McKinney, TX
Wed Jun 1, 2011
In this day and age with so many agents out there anything you do to meet prospective clients such as open houses are a good thing. If you are too busy to do them there are alsways newer agents who will do them for you. Work or not it does keep our sellers happy.
0 votes
Janice LaVer…, Agent, Campbell, CA
Wed Jun 1, 2011
I am grateful other agents send their clients to my Open Houses. Sometimes it is a first look, but most of the value seems to be when they are sent back for a second look. It is a second chance to get excited about making an offer. These clients are loyal and know who is working for them.
0 votes
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Wed Jun 1, 2011
Nope --- in my neck of the woods, open houses is not a waste of time unless the propert is in a very seedy part of town, and in that case, it's not worth potential loss of life or limb.

Yes -- I send my clients to open houses (and even to brokers' tours) if I am busy an open house myself, or if I have other commitments.)

I don't think open houses are the primary means to sell the house ---because by the time a serious prospective buyer knows about the property, their agent may have already alerted them to the listing and directed them to check it out during open house.

Many buyers who come through open house are already represented by agents. We hold open house hoping we'll get some of them who aren't.

So yes--- open house is an opportunity to get new clients, both buyers and sellers alike. in the last year, 15% of my business was from leads developed from open house.
0 votes
Liz McFarland, Agent, Berkeley, CA
Wed Jun 1, 2011
I send my client's to open houses mainly because I'm hosting an open house on Sundays :-)
I hold open houses mainly for the seller, but I've also gotten great business from buyers without agents, as well as neighbors contacting me later about listing their home.

I see it this way...Why not do everything in my power to sell the house and market myself?
The worst that can happen is I catch up on paperwork for the file on a Sunday and the best scenario is a few new leads, additional people in my database and listing appointments.
0 votes
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Wed Jun 1, 2011
Open houses do two things, they make the owners happy thinking you are doing something to help sell their house and they do the main thing and that is to find you more buyers. Getting a buyer to buy that open house is a 1 in 10000 shot at best. Luckily where I am now open houses are not done and rarely seen, but I remember doing them years ago to find buyers.
0 votes
Heidi Zizza, Agent, Framingham, MA
Wed Jun 1, 2011
great for buyer business, yes i send my clients to them as well.
0 votes
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