who pays for the food in a brokers open house?

Asked by Linda Kornas, Greenwood, SC Mon Sep 8, 2008

Our house is on the market and my realtor wanted to have a brokers open house she served food and something to drink she bought and fixed everything,my neighbors house is on the market there realtor said for him to have a brokers open house he needs to have a drawing and give $100.00 away to lure the realtors in my question is where does the $100.00 come from his realtor said they ( the sellers had to pay it) is that true?

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Tammy Benkwi…, Agent, Somers, NY
Tue Sep 9, 2008
You've hit on a source of great agent debate and frustration in our area! Some of us contend that it should not matter whether or not food or raffles are provided. Agents need to learn the inventory and broker open houses are a nice opportunity to run around town for two hours, and see as many properties as we can in a relatively short period of time!

Yes, we can "preview" too. This means having to call to make an appointment and asking the seller to allow a special showing. Broker open houses are really convenient for both parties!

I personally have spent well over $100 on food only to have a handful of agents attend. (And yes, we do promote them via email, fax, MLS, etc...) So I don't necessarily buy into the idea that "if you feed them, they will come".

If the house is truly different than most on the market, we can count on seeing more agents attend. If it is similar to most in your area, or located in a condo complex where many units are similar, agents are not likely to show up due to the limited amount of time and the number of homes available to view that day.

I will always still offer a brokers open...and keep my fingers crossed. It's just one of many elements in our marketing plan.

I have always paid for the food myself and feel it is part of the marketing plan. But whether or not the seller is "obligated" to provide food depends on your agreement. But as I said, it may be a moot point depending on how well broker open houses are attended in your area.

Best of luck!
1 vote
hm, , Sterling, CO
Mon Sep 8, 2008

Sometimes I wish that the sellers would pay for food or prizes for an agent open house because they can be pretty expensive at times. However, that is just another piece of the agent's marketing plan and the agent should be footing the bill. That's one of the main reasons you pay a commission.

That said, there are these "discount" brokerages who have fees set up for each piece of marketing or service that they provide, so if your neighbor listed with one of them, it is a whole different ball game. Their listing agreement should spell it all out for them if they aren't sure.

Hope this helps!

Heather Mullennax
ERA Wilder Realty
1 vote
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Mon Sep 8, 2008
In a normal brokers open house the agent will fit the bill however it is all up to negotiation. I have had sellers give me gas cards and restaurant gift certificates to raffle off as well as others who have cooked up a dessert buffett for a king. It is all up to the seller and how much extra they want to give. It also depends on the style house you are showing, you will need to gear your incentives towards the time of broker and their specific client. Be generous and offer to split it.
Web Reference:  http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
1 vote
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Sep 8, 2008
It all depends that is usually worked out between the seller and realtor. Each property open houses have their own terms. However a drawing is nice to offer brings in more realtors for open house.
http://www.lynn911.com http://www.homes-for-sale-dallas.com
Web Reference:  http://www.lynn911.com
1 vote
Jeff and Gin…, Agent, Vero Beach, FL
Tue Sep 9, 2008
Yup -- I pay for the food and any prizes myself. It is no more expensive than the other marketing that we offer to attract other brokers and potential buyers to view the new listings. Generating traffic is important to sell a home. Of course, the quality of the traffic is key. Brokers open magnifies the number of people who will be aware of the property. Our biggest challenge is coordinating when to schedule because there are far too many listings on tour for the 2 hour time frame, so we try to stagger or extend the times through lunch time -- which is voila! the biggest reason for serving food. Otherwise people will drop off the tour because it is time to eat. Often when I serve food, people will visit and stay to talk and ask questions about the home.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue Sep 9, 2008

Communication is the key here......as previously mentioned it could be totally absorbed by the listing agent or the seller. Or it's cost could be shared.

It's best to get this on the table early so there are no misunderstandings. If it's going to be a big ticket expense an agent should look for the seller to at least share the expense
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Tue Sep 9, 2008
The key here is expectations. These should be discussed beforehand and may be part of the listing negotiation. IMHO if the Realtor did not bring it up, they the marketing costs are assume to remain with the Realtor. There are some Realtors that have a "fee for service" approach and you know in advance what is included and what is "extra"

0 votes
Kevin and Mo…, Agent, Ocean City, MD
Tue Sep 9, 2008
Dear Linda,
This is something that is really discussed abd decided between you and your listing agent, and it may also be what is usual and customary for your locale. Where I work in Ocean City, Maryland, there is usually a contribution from both the home seller and the listing agent. If a seller has asked for a very lavish food presentation to attract a certain demographic, that seller has been willing to pay for it. We also see it very common to have monetary drawings. Sometimes it can be something as simple as gas debit cards. With the price of gasoline, driving to some of the properties for an open house may be vey costly.

Again, look at your marketplace, determine the niche buyer/agent you are trying to appeal to, and plan your event in conjunction with your real estate professional.

My best from the Beach.

Monica McNamara
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Ocean City Maryland
877-480-7653 (SOLD)
Blog: http://www.RealTown.com/MonicaMcNamara/blog
0 votes
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