WHO REALLY BENEFITS FROM OPEN HOUSES?
Who really benefits from open houses?
|Every Sunday, in homes for sale across the nation, the scene is the same. Home sellers wake up early, scrub, vacuum and straighten the house. Real estate agents put up open house signs, run ads in the local paper and send out announcements to the neighbors. Then, the sellers pack up their things and leave the comfort of their home, hoping and praying that someone will buy it at the open house.
Open houses are a traditional tool for marketing homes for sale. But is it still appropriate to use them? Who actually benefits from an open house? Do real estate agents really expect to sell your home through an open house? Or, are they simply trying to impress you and the neighbors and hoping to pick up new buyers to sell other homes? Let's take a closer look.
Open houses rarely sell houses.
Few sellers understand that an open house usually does not sell that particular property. Surveys by the National Association of Realtors show that only 3 to 7 percent of homes are sold by open houses. A buyer poll showed that 41 percent of home buyers attended open houses, but fewer than 5 percent purchased a home through an open house.
Open houses benefit agents.
Real estate agents pick up buyers at open houses. It's a tradition in the real estate industry. Hold an open house. Meet some good buyers. Take them out to look at homes. Make a sale. New real estate agents are the ones who usually hold open houses. Seasoned, professional agents are too busy listing and selling properties to hold open houses.
Open houses are a security risk.
If a stranger knocked on your door and asked to come into your home would you let him in? Of course not! Yet at open houses, real estate agents open the doors of your home to strangers without knowing anything about them or their background. It's impossible to keep an eye on open house attendees at all times. There's also an element of danger for the agent sitting alone at an open house with the public free to enter at will. There's no way to know whether a visitor is a serious buyer, just curious or has more sinister motives.
Open houses attract neighbors and browsers.
One of the jobs of a professional real estate agent is to qualify prospective buyers for your home. See Neal Hribar's powerful 7-stage home marketing plan. So why open up your house to the general public? Ask your agent and they will admit that most drop-ins at open houses are totally unqualified and are there for reasons other than purchase a home.
Most agents and sellers are against open houses.
A recent poll revealed that 60 percent of agents think open houses should be eliminated. Sellers seem relieved when told there will be no open houses. The falling favor of public open houses may be attributable to new marketing techniques including Internet web sites and virtual tours.
SUMMARY: When your real estate agent calls to schedule an open house, perhaps you should question the practice. Many real estate leaders think this obsolete home-marketing tool should be discarded. The availability of the MLS on the Internet makes open houses less important in today's marketplace. Using the Internet, prospective buyers can screen homes for sale more safely and more efficiently than going to open houses. An exception is the broker tour, where your agent invites the real estate community to view your property for a few hours during the week.
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