In any market the question Sellers always ask is, “Are open houses effective and why should we have them?” You will often hear agents vent frustration when an open house results in a poor turnout. After spending time and money to publicize it, clearing their schedules, asking their Sellers to prepare the home and then vacate it, there is still the possibility of no visitors. This can be the outcome of a major effort and it is a common frustration for Realtors and Sellers.
Well, here is my perspective. For every open house that is empty, there are many more that do produce potential buyers who would not have otherwise known about the listing or have just begun looking for a home. Open houses can be effective as another means of showing a Seller’s home as many Buyers like to make a list of open houses to visit, especially if they are coming from a different area. Perhaps their agent (if they have one) is having his own open house the same day or is busy showing another Client properties. Buyers can visit homes during open houses within a 2-3-hour time-frame with no pressure. Here’s an example of the stars aligning perfectly for a recent open house I hosted:
One of my listings had been on the market for several months and after numerous open houses, showing appointments and a near-sale that fell through, a Buyer walked into my open house located in Bucks County, PA in December 2017 and fell in love with the home immediately. The agent explained that the couple had been viewing other homes that day and from the open house directional sign, they decided to stop in. This home was not even on their radar. As soon as they stepped through the front door, they were pleasantly surprised to find a home that had been painstakingly renovated over the years by the owner, a craftsman with a contracting business. The attention to detail in the wood trim, wide-plank flooring, built-ins and other adornments were exactly the type of customization that this couple was looking for in a newer home. The unique qualities of the home’s interior combined with an abundance of Preserved Open Space owned by the township that abuts the property was extremely attractive for the Buyers.
Convincing a Seller of the value of an open house can be difficult after the first few don’t produce the desired result, but it is worth the effort in the long run. And there will be Sellers who insist upon as many open houses as it takes. For my assistant, who relocated last year from a red-hot market in California, the open house sold the house. When she signed her Listing Agreement with her agent on a Wednesday night, the agent made sure that the property went active the following day. Since her home was ready to show and didn’t need repairs or staging, she suggested that her agent host a “weekend” open house that Saturday and Sunday. She was taking her sons to their baseball tournament both days and the house would be empty anyway. The agent agreed, even though it was unusual to host a 2-day open house. On Saturday, there were at least 20 groups of Buyers, some with agents and some without, and a few nosey neighbors, which is typical. The second day produced 10 new groups of Buyers and a few repeats from the first day who realized that they needed to move quickly because they saw the traffic the first day. The result of the unprecedented 2-day “weekend” open house was that 2 days later my assistant had two offers in-hand and the Purchase Agreement was signed by the end of the same week.
Some agents will use gimmicks such as food & drinks or prizes to entice Buyers and agents to attend, but, the home should sell itself and it often does. If the Seller and the listing agent are willing to put in the time and effort, an open house is a fantastic way to market a home. It gives an on-the-fence Buyer a chance to talk to the listing agent about the home, which might give them that extra push or different insight towards becoming a serious Buyer.
Open houses are another tool that Realtors use to promote and sell your home. Properly advertising an open house through as many mediums as possible is also critical as you cannot sell a secret. Over the course of my career, many of my listings have either sold at an open house or the open house was used as a vehicle for a second showing or an initial visit with a second showing to follow.
If you would like a FREE, no-obligation Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home is worth or for a walk-through, please call me today. Through my experience and expertise, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to show you how I go “Above and Beyond the Sale.”
Frank Dolski, Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors