Open houses – do they really sell homes?
In a prior post, I shared my thoughts about real estate open houses, the pros, the cons, and the facts home sellers need to know. After years of telling agents that open houses were effective, especially for meeting and cultivating new clients (and not necessarily buyers for the house being held open), the National Association of Realtors, published The Dirty Secret About Open Houses: They’r Not About Selling Houses on the Realtor.com blog. The author discusses the use of open house for recruiting new clients, but also correctly points out that real estate websites and national real estate portals have replaced open houses for showcasing homes for sale.
In a follow up post days later, The Truth About Open House: Readers Sound Off, many agents agreed with the basic premise of the story: that open houses are now more about acquiring clients than selling the open house. Quoting from the post:
They appreciated the story for what it was—an attempt to shed light on open houses as an agent marketing tool. “It SURE is!!!” wrote Paul Mazzochetti on Facebook. “After 25 years, I am not afraid to admit it’s all for the agent’s benefit. With today’s technology, if your agent has the appropriate marketing plan, you are having a 24 hour open house!”
“Rarely does a buyer walk through the door and say that they want to buy that house,” agent Travis Sabby wrote on Facebook. “If they do, they have already researched the house online, and have more than likely already made an inquiry into the house.”
The point is, the market today is different. Technology—love it or fear it—has changed the game. “Open Houses are a relic of the past,” wrote Celeste Stallman Iapichino on Facebook. “Buyers agents sell more houses than Open Houses do. Find a good agent. Work with them exclusively, and they will find you your new home.” And that’s something we doubt technology will ever change.
Bottom Line for my listing clients
I generally do not consider the open house to be a good marketing tool. My marketing plan is designed for maximum exposure, and that involves intense internet presence. Chances are those who attend open houses have already been exposed to the property via online resources. There are the standard caveats, security issues, looky-lous, tire kickers, and nosey neighbors, but I believe that most open houses are ineffective for the seller. That being said – a hot new listing in a hot neighborhood with an inventory drought, might just bring in an offer or two at the open house.