Oh, I’m going to get some emails and maybe some phone calls on this one!
Quick answer (then let me explain) . . . NO, Open Houses don’t work.
We all get stuck into ruts of what worked in the past, that isn’t necessarily relevant today. Here are a few examples . . .
- Corded phones, even cordless phones
- 8 tracks
- Shopping at the mall
- Video stores
- Barnes & Noble
- and Open Houses
The internet has changed everything, and it’s growing at such a fast pace that even people who are internet savvy are being left behind. We’re nearing a point where everything will be online from your refrigerator, to your car, to your freaking toothbrush.
As a matter of fact, there is already a phrase that has been coined called “The Internet of Everything”. Originally cited by Cisco, they (whoever that is) said,
“The Internet of Everything is the intelligent connection of people, data, process, and things.”
Whether we like it or not, this is how we are going to live our lives in the future.
So, let’s get back to the topic – Open Houses. Things change. What worked 25 years ago doesn’t work now.
Do you know why?
The internet! Why would someone spend all afternoon riding through several neighborhoods, eating up their precious time on a Sunday afternoon looking at Open Houses? On the flipside, these same people can go online and take a look at these same homes on their lunch break, during working hours (that’s on them), or during the moments just before going into REM sleep (that’s Rapid Eye Movements for the non-weirdos out there).
Realtors who have successful websites with a strong presence give their sellers a better shot at getting multiple offers.
The Cons of Open Houses
After 13 years of selling homes with hundreds of home sales under my belt, here are my thoughts on why Open Houses are no good . . .
I’ve said in a recent article that I still have faith in the general public. The keyword is “general”. If I put an Open House sign at the end of the neighborhood, put another in the front yard, and publish it on Craigslist, do you really think that everyone who comes through your door will be pre-approved and ready to buy?
Do you think that there may be some folks who might be possibly “casing the joint”?
Do you even want to take that chance?
At the very least, Realtors can spend the time to vet potential buyers to dig into what their motivation is by talking with them beforehand. Yeah, people can lie but at least you’re talking with them first.
People, good or bad, will walk up to the Open House and see a sign saying, “Come on in”. You’re welcoming everyone into the seller’s home that is full of their stuff. That is not a good idea in my opinion, but I’m guessing that you’re getting that impression by now.
The Realtor Is Alone
In most cases, the listing Agent will be all by themselves when someone comes into the Open House. Although I think it’s more dangerous for female Realtors, it doesn’t matter if the agent is male or female. They are putting themselves in a vulnerable situation.
Yeah, I know. Most people are just fine and do not have an ill intent, but do you really want to have to chance it?
Also, what happens if you have two or more families come in at once? What do you do? Do you tell family 2 and family 3 to wait outside while you walk family 1 around the house? That’s a little awkward and probably irritating for families 2 and 3.
There is no way for you to look after your seller’s best interests if you have 10 people walking around their house unattended.
What if something goes missing?
I was talking with my fiance about this earlier, and she said,
“If there was an Open House that was vacant or even a model home, I guess it would be okay. But, I don’t want a bunch of strangers walking around my home without an agent with them.”
That makes sense to me. We can have faith in humankind in general but we can’t have faith in all humankind. If a buyer wants to see the home, they should go through the proper channels to set an appointment with either the Listing Agent or a buyer’s agent. Any of us will be happy to oblige. It may not solve every problem, but it can solve most of them.
As you’re reading this, ask yourself, “Do you really want your neighbors walking through your home when you know they have no intentions of buying your home?” Would you want anyone walking through your home if they have no intentions of buying?
You may get one neighbor who is thinking about selling their home (in your neighborhood, which will be your competition), but they are really trying to figure out condition and price for their own home, in most cases.
Chances are, they are not going to move from their home down the street into yours.
It can be even worse. They may just be nosy. They may just want to see how you decorate or what improvements that you’ve made. I’m serious. It happens.
If I don’t get emails up to this point, I will for sure now. If you ask 100 real estate agents, 95% will say that Open Houses do not work. So why do Realtors agree to do them?
- The seller demands an Open House.
- The agent is using your home to get new leads.
Sorry but that’s the truth. The seller may demand Open Houses because they don’t work real estate for a living and they don’t realize that Open Houses are worthless. Nowadays, Realtors primarily do Open Houses to get leads for themselves. They already know that, in most cases, they are not going to find a buyer for your home.
They do see an opportunity to meet new potential buyers who will purchase somewhere else. That’s the truth. Why do they do this? Because they haven’t done the work that it takes to get on the internet, train, and to be up with the times. They are desperate for leads, so they are using your home to hopefully get maybe one or two people to sign the register. Oh, the ugly truth.
Another reason a Realtor would agree to hold an Open House is the outside shot that they do land a buyer for your home so they can keep the entire commission. This actually does a big disservice to the buyer because the listing agent can only represent the best interests of the seller, but that’s another article.
Historical Data is Bleak for Open Houses
So, I’ve been saying that Open Houses do not work, but that’s not totally true. They work almost 2% of the time.
Statistics tell us that less than 2% of homes that are sold are the direct result of an Open House. So, I guess if the seller decided to work with an agent who has no online marketing skills, presence, or website, the 2% may be your best bet.
Most of the time homes sell because the listing agent wrote an awesome description, took incredible pictures (for the internet), and promoted your listing in as many places as possible (online). As long as the home is priced right and you have those ingredients, your home will sell.
Waste of Time
Most agents will tell you that if they do happen to have one or two families visit your Open House, which is a stretch, you can almost be guaranteed that they haven’t even talked with a lender to get pre-approved. What’s more probable is they are probably 2 or 3 years out from purchasing anything.
If your seller knew this, do you think they would want these unknown people walking through their home?
Now granted, the listing agent is probably so bored from no one coming into the Open House that when they do get some unqualified couple who has no intention of buying who likes to chat, the agent will probably welcome it.
The Pros of an Open House
Outside Shot at Finding a Buyer
The listing agent may get lucky to stumble into the less than 2% club and find a buyer for your seller, which is always a good thing and the goal. However, if the home was properly marketed, there’s a good chance that the buyer would have found that home already online.
You Get Some Down Time
For the most part, holding an Open House is a great opportunity for the listing agent to catch up on their emails, watch Youtube videos, or take a power nap. Also, many listing agents will bring over water bottles and snacks for potential thieves (oh sorry, I meant buyers), so at least the agent will have something to eat while they stare out the window praying for someone to stop their car.
I leave no room for doubt on where I stand on this topic, but if you’re a seller who wants to hold an Open House, by all means, ask your listing agent to hold one. There is a chance that you may happen to fall in the under 2%.
As each year goes by, internet and social media marketing continues to evolve. My advice is to work with a Realtor who advances in this up-to-date style of marketing. A powerful website that has a strong web presence along with a very active social media campaign will far outweigh an Open House any day of the week.
If you’re selling a home or condo in Baldwin County AL, you’re on one of those sites right now! So if you want to sell your home faster than your neighbors, call me.
Other Valuable Contributions on Open Houses
Open Houses Increase Your Chances of Being Burglarized - Bill Gassett
Who Attends Real Estate Open Houses – Kyle Hiscock
Open Houses in Real Estate – Debbie Drummond
Should I Have an Open House to Sell My Home – Kevin Vitali
Tips to Avoid Getting Robbed at an Open House – Anita Clark
The post Open Houses – Do They Work or Not? appeared first on Condos and Homes for Sale in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL..