Do Open Houses Work

Do Open Houses Work?

Many sellers ask if open houses work. The short answer is they are beneficial, but not always necessarily for the seller. I believe the main question is, is a seller okay with cleaning and staging their home to show condition, then leaving the home for half a day so their listing agent can possibly generate new client leads so they can sell other properties besides theirs? Then there's all the neighbors that come, with no intention to buy,  just to see the inside of the home. We won't even discuss what can go wrong with large groups of people, some unsupervised, going through your home.

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As a real estate broker it's not always a popular to suggest to not have open houses. After all, seller clients see homes sell like hot cakes at open houses and broker opens on cable real estate shows, right? On these shows it's always cool when the seller receives an offer that they perceive to be too low and get offended and doesn't respond to the offer and all the drama that goes along with it. haha (BTW, for the record, always respond to all offers, it's why you listed your property!!) Unfortunately these staged situations on TV are usually not reality and when the cameras are not rolling it doesn't disclose some of the negative aspects of an open house.

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My mentors in my early days of real estate suggested having open houses to generate leads for myself. After all, if potential buyers aren’t interested in my client’s home they may be interested in another listing I have or better yet, you pick up one of the neighbors who’s ready to sell. Is it ok for me to generate new business from my client’s cleaning and staging their home and staying gone half the day on their weekend off? I never felt comfortable prospecting for new businesss off my client’s properties, so after becoming a broker I rarely suggested having open houses. Of course some clients request open houses and we hold open houses to accommodate their wishes. Even if a client is okay with their listing broker collecting leads off their property, there may be other reasons a seller may not want to hold an open house, such as: strangers using your bathroom, your floors getting trashed, kids running wild in your home, lights left on, various privacy issues, etc.

Keep in mind, real, qualified buyers are not sitting around waiting for properties they like to have open houses. Buyers that are in the market for a home, go see houses that interest them. Buyers don’t say “lets wait to see if they have an open house before we go look”. I also believe if you happen to sell a home during an open house it would have likely sold to that same buyer anyway. Let me be clear, we will hold open houses for our clients when they request them. However, I’m not likely to recommend them.

Here’s an article I found interesting, “7 Open House Myths” by Bill Gassett. It was an informative read about some important facts to consider about open houses, so I wanted to share it with folks that visit our site. Bill’s article shares some of my thoughts regarding open houses.

The author, Bill Gassett, is an extremely successful agent in Massachusetts. I personally have sold my fair share of properties the same day, the same week and the same month just like other successful agents and I would put my tract record up against anyone. As far as my sales go due directly or indirectly to an open house, I’m currently at a lifetime average of zero.

I’m not personally a believer in the effectiveness of open houses, yet here I am, a successful, licensed real estate professional (since 2005) and we sell our client’s properties as quickly and efficently as anyone. 7 Open House Myths is a great read about the truth in my opinion!

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