It's Time For Realtors to Stand Firm on Not Doing Open Houses

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Showcase Homes

Every year I order the results of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers. I am particularly interested in How the Buyer Found His or Her Home in the last year because that determines where my marketing efforts will go to sell the homes that I list. Because the numbers pertaining to open houses are so dismal, it is no longer a category in the survey results. I do understand that open houses were more successful before personal computers and the internet but now, approximately 90 percent of buyers begin their home search on the internet. Thirty six percent will find their home on the internet, another thirty six percent will find their home through the help of a realtor, twelve percent from a yard sign and six percent from a friend, neighbor or a relative. That covers ninety percent. Another five percent, will purchase new construction from a home builder or the builder's agent.

So why do some realtors continue to do open houses? I find that generally two types of realtors continue to do open houses despite the numbers. The first category is the realtor who has not adapted to the internet. He or she refuses to accept that it is here to stay and plans to retire in the next few years, so why bother? The other category is the new and inexperienced realtor. Both categories of  realtors have just a few listings and hope to acquire some buyers from the open houses. The reality is that qualified buyers who are looking for a home such as the one listed by the realtor will find it from the top sources listed above and either call the listing agent or have his or her own realtor schedule a showing.

Open houses are also a HUGE security risk for the sellers and the realtor. We all have been notified by our Boards of murders, robberies, rapes, etc. that have occurred at open houses. Let's face it. A realtor has no control over who is coming through the door at an open house. By doing so, you are leaving the door wide open to those who have motives other than buying a house. Besides those who intend to do harm to a realtor, you invite nosy neighbors, people looking for free food or a bathroom, and burglars to see what the seller has inside the home for him to take when no one is home.

At every list appointment that I have, I advise the seller prospects about the facts of open houses. Almost all of them, after being given the facts,, respond with "That's great. We were worried that you would want to do open houses and we are not comfortable with idea." Since I have been doing this in listing appointments, I have never had a seller insist that I do open houses. If I do, I will pass on the listing. A seller who refuses to accept the facts, will probably be difficult when it comes to the many other things that come with selling a home such as pricing, taking care of the home, etc.

I sell approximately 85% of the homes that I list. I am not a "mega" lister. I am interested in the quality of the seller and his or her home they want to sell and its price. When other realtors are doing open houses, I am doing things that are much safer and productive like showing homes to buyers who contact me through the internet or yard signs or just having some me time.

Posted by

Lee Morof
Associate Broker/Attorney
RE/MAX Showcase Homes, Birmingham, Michigan
www.NorthWoodwardHomes.com
Call:  248-514-2640

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Re-Bloggged 16 times:

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  1. David Okada 12/27/2009 11:07 AM
  2. Donald Bradbury 12/27/2009 11:38 AM
  3. Ann Dail 12/27/2009 02:10 PM
  4. Jim McCormack 12/27/2009 03:15 PM
  5. Don Shurts 12/27/2009 06:04 PM
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Topic:
Home Selling
Location:
Michigan Oakland County
Tags:
oakland county michigan real estate
southeast michigan real estate
troy michigan real estate
open hosues
birmingham michigan real estate

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Rainmaker
198,846
Ila Josephs
Ila Josephs, Real Estate Broker
Tarbell, Realtors

I LIKE open houses! When a house is vacant, I do open houses every weekend I can. When the house is occupied, I schedule Sunday open houses at the seller's convenience - Sunday because that's the day a lot of home buyers in this area drive around looking at homes they've seen online. I've not sold a house I was holding open, but there's always a first time! However, I have closed 4 transactions this year with people I met at open houses, plus 2 others from people referred to me by open house visitors. Plus, I've met many, many home owners, one of whom is ready to sell his house. I got a listing appointment because he liked what he saw and what he heard at an open house.

True, 80 percent or more of home buyers begin their home search online. They find a Realtor by personal experience, getting a referral from people they trust, advertising, etc. Often, they take a road trip to look at the houses they've seen online and stop to talk to agents holding open houses in the area. If I'm there, and they like what they hear, so much the better for me. Probably half he prospective buyers visiting my open houses have agents. Not a problem! If the agent is there too, that's one more showing and the sellers weren't inconvenienced with individual appointments. If the agent isn't with them - well, buyers sometimes switch to a more involved agent, don't they?

Preparation is the key. Yes, I've been left sitting alone at an open house, but can't remember when I had no visitors at all and I always plan things to do during the down times. Walking the neighborhood, newspaper ads, putting up directional signs early in the morning, all help bring visitors. Follow-up is equally important. If you have visitors, get their name, address, phone number, e-mail and don't stay in touch, you have only yourself to blame if open houses don't work for you!

December 27, 2009 04:29 PM
Rainer
44,460
Carol McCarthy
ABR
Realty World Select

Whenever there is an opportunity to meet people, there is a marketing/selling opportunity. I do prefer only to do my own open houses. I've experienced being asked by other agents to do open houses  as a favor for them because their clients wanted them to but they had a personal obligation that weekend. This usually turns out to be a waste of my time and the money that I've spent on the snacks. However, when open houses are for my listings, and I do the marketing, usually something good happens. Either I meet a new buyer, and explain that as their agent, I will help them find the right house for them. It may or may not be this particular house. On my last open house, I was called by an agent who wanted to show my listing and was quite sure that her client would like it. She wound up bring her to the open house, which was great because all of the lights were on, there were yummy snacks and good smells, classical music playing. Also, there were others looking at the house at the same time, which urged them to put in a contract that evening before anyone else grabbed it. 

December 27, 2009 05:36 PM
Rainer
67,429
Russell Benson
Prudential Alliance Realty-OKC, OK

I believe open houses are more of a waste of time these days BUT I think they are great for new agents trying to get their foot in the door and resales in additions with a lot of new homes are still great places to hold an open house.

Like I said, new agents should be holding homes open every weekend if possible.  It gives them great experience and is a great way to pick up buyers.

December 27, 2009 10:43 PM
Anonymous
Bid
Like most aspects of real estate, the decision to do opens is based on many factors. By holding opens, I am prequalifying my buyers while meeting neighbors who may be 'interviewing' Realtors. If I have idle time, I'm updating my website or pulling market data. It's all about being productive. After 5 years Doing opens I find they continue to provide new client opportunities.
December 28, 2009 03:13 PM
Rainmaker
79,821
David Laven
Keller Williams Realty Boston Metro
Best post eva!
December 31, 2009 10:19 AM
Anonymous
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Rainmaker
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Lee Morof

Associate Broker, Attorney, CDPE
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