Nov 18, 2008

To Open House or Not Open House

... that is a big question in today's market.

For years, open houses were a marketing tool for agents to showcase properties. Back in the day, a sign in the yard, an ad in the newspaper and an open house we crucial to getting a property sold. But times have changed and so have buyers. In today's market the open house is usually a waste of time.

An open house is one of the most passive marketing tools. You don't have any way of knowing if the visitors are qualified to buy a house, or not. Usually visitors to open houses are either curious neighbors, other sellers checking out the competition, bored Sunday drivers, people looking for decorating ideas, and even thieves. They are not motivated buyers. Before you open your home to a parade of strangers, ask yourself and your agent 'why?'. Less than 1% of homes are sold by an open house. They are inefficient and unreliable. The only time I'll hold an open house is to invite the neighbors who may know someone looking to move into the neighborhood.

Realtors hold open houses to appease sellers (because they think it will help) and to pick up new clients. This does not help you, the seller. When a potential buyer walks into your home the agent greets them and tells them a little about the property while they look around. The odds of your home fitting the exact needs of a stranger off the street are slim. The agent may ask the visitors what they do or don't like about the home. If yours is not the perfect property for them, the agent is happy to tell them about four other similar homes in the area that they may like better. Then the agent can then show them those homes and work as their buyer's agent to purchase one.

You're better off with a Realtor who focuses their time marketing your home online and locally. Today, most buyers view information about your home online or from their agent and then decide if they want to visit your home. You want them to schedule an appointment and have their own private time in your house to view it at their own pace. Your home will show better without a crowd of people milling about and it is safer for you and your property. In my opinion, open houses are obsolete.

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