Why Open Houses Work

open house signThe open house, a long standing tradition for marketing and selling a home, or a total waste of time?  It’s actually a pretty controversial subject among Realtors.  Some believe in them and others refuse to do them.  I fall into the first category.  I hold open a house pretty much every Sunday and some Sundays I will do a couple of open houses.  I make a commitment to people who list their homes with me that I will promise one advertised open per month, at a minimum.  I will do more if my time allows.  This commitment keeps me pretty busy.  It means that I do LOTS of open houses.  And that is probably why I think that they work.

I would estimate that I sell one house per year that is directly a result of my open house efforts.  In June I had an offer written by another Realtor after her clients found my listing at an open house.  That open house was how I sold my listing.  Last Sunday I had an open house and I am now in very strong verbal discussions with another Realtor, again because his buyer came through my open.

Please note that I said that I do “Advertised” opens.  Sure, I like meeting the neighbors, but I want people coming through who already know the price, how many bedrooms there are, and are actually buyers who are wanting a new home.  I think advertising is one reason that my opens are successful.  While I used to do a newspaper ad with each open, I have shifted my marketing to the Internet.  I advertise my open houses on Craigslist, on the RMLS, and when the house is in Lake Oswego, on the propertyblotter.

Let’ s put it this way.  If I didn’t believe in open houses, I’d never do them, right? And then it is a no brainer that I could honestly say that they don’t work.  How can something work that is never tried?

I also feel that in this economy, Realtors have to go back to basics.  In a hot market, where homes are selling quickly, homes will sell with just some simple Internet exposure in the RMLS.  In a slow market that is not enough.  There are so many houses for sale, and so few buyers, that just being a part of the inventory is not enough.  A Realtor has to use every possible tool to get exposure for a proprety.  I owe it to my clients to work on their behalf and use all of the tools in my arsenal.  And, as I have stated above, I know from experience that open houses work.

Watch for my signs.  I’ll see you on Sunday!


4 Replies to “Why Open Houses Work”

  1. I have not found open houses to be effective. The majority of opens I’ve held in the past couple years were always poorly attended (in most cases, I had no visitors). This could be an artifact of a slow market, however.

    I think open houses can be effective if 1) the house is difficult to schedule showings throughout the week; 2) it’s visibility from a major street is good; or 3) it is a unique, well-maintained property that is new to the market and gets promoted.

    Otherwise, I view them as a few hours to get work done by myself.

  2. Yep, it’s controversial amongst Realtors. I guess each of us find the mix that works for us. I have had very good luck with them.

  3. I think it often boils down to the attitude you bring to the Open.

    I have noticed with myself that if I am in “knocking off a few hours” mode, I tend not to have the same thinking process when I’m talking to potential Buyers walking through. When I DO turn on that “expectancy mentality”, it seems as though I get more actual connection with each person. Granted, Open Houses often benefit the Realtor more than the Seller in that, if the potential Buyer walking through does not have a “fit” with this house for whatever reason they are mentioing (not enough bedrooms/space/bathrooms etc), and are not working with another Realtor, it can lead to new clients for that Realtor. Not exactly what the Seller intended, but if the Open is shown in good faith and with the intention of opening the door to a possible sale of that Opoen House, then those are just the realities of what often happens.

    I would say one house sale per year is about right, and the value of that, then, is up for discussion. But… they can and do work. If nothing else, I do believe that it is an opportunity for exposure online and on the street.

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