The Death of the Open House

By
Real Estate Mortgage Broker with Home Loan Consultant 12345   

I recently saw a report that showed that here in Las Vegas, we have over 31,000 houses for sale.  This is a lot of homes for us.  In fact, its a record.   I also saw that 44% of these are vacant.   Thats over 13,000 vacant homes.  That is a lot as well.

I live in a very popular master-planned community in Las Vegas, called Summerlin.   It was once the nation's top selling community. 

When the market was hot, real estate agents would have to get to the hot corners to put up their open house signs the night before to make sure they got a spot.

Last weekend, I saw one open house sign as I drove around all weekend.  One.

I looked in the newspaper.  Of the 31,000 houses listed for sale, there were 30 ads for open houses.  Less than 1 in a thousand.

I called one of my close agent friends with these "shocking" statistics and she told me, "Aaron, open houses are a waste of time."

Some of you know that I started in real estate in the mid 90's as an agent for a top national brand broker.  I switched to mortgages a few years later.  

Although I have some experience and training as a licensed agent, I am a dedicated mortgage professional, so I would never tell you how to run your business, but.....how can this be?

I know the market is soft and traffic cannot be good at these open houses, but 1 in every 1000? 

I know that three of four people turn to the internet to view homes, but 30 total advertised?   

I know many agents and sellers think open houses are a waste of time, or a security risk, but 999 of 1000?

According to the stats, in 2005, 51% of all sellers were using open houses.  I would doubt those numbers are even close today.

If I were selling my home today, I think I would want to use every method in the world to help me sell it or at least convince me that my agent was doing everything possible in their power, including the open house on occasion.

If I were a listing agent today, I think I would want to do the things my competition wasn't doing. 

It seems like an open house in a master-planned community that was once the nation's best-selling would be one of those things.   There was one sign in my entire neighborhood. 

I would bet that agent got traffic that day.   Although the chances are he didn't get a buyer that day I would be very surprised if he didn't get an opportunity to meet a few potential prospects and pass out a few business cards. 

If I were an agent today, with 31,000 homes for sale, I think I would be looking for creative ways to differentiate myself.    

How about getting with the agents who have the other five listings in the same neighborhood and having one big neighborhood tour that you can jointly advertise or market? 

The stale, old, unwanted, bothersome, boring, uncreative, no-good open house, may be one of the most best ways to help separate you today.  

As far as I can tell, I am nearly alone in my opinion.  Everyone else here in Vegas thinks its dead.

 

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Rainer
4,948
Rick Davis
MN Real Estate & Mortgage Source
American Pride

My opinion is this:

I think alot of realtors have bad attitudes right now.  If they think no one will come they won't.  I think you need to put out a lot of signs and advertise well in advance.  I know realtors that put out up to 50 signs for open house and get a good turn out.

I alos think alot realtors remember when the markets were good when they didn't have to do open houses so they won't do them now.

 

October 19, 2007 04:12 PM
Rainer
20,928
Beth Anderson
Realtor - Tecumseh / Lenawee County
Goedert Real Estate
Our area still holds many Open Houses each week.  We all accept that the Open House rarely sells the home, but sellers like them and we do pick up buyers now and then.  I think I only have had one closing this year as a direct result of an Open House, but every closing puts a smile on my face and when I break down the two hours, every other week or so, it's not a bad per hour return.  I was listing a home this Summer and I was telling the seller and his girlfriend (who was also considering putting her home on the market) about how we can do Open Houses, but that it is rare to get a buyer that way.  Funny thing was they both told me that they had each purchased their homes directly from seeing them during Open Houses.  You never know:)
October 20, 2007 05:05 PM
Rainmaker
573,365
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner

Aaron, I haven't read all the comments on your blog but I will refer you to the blog article I wrote on 10-8-07 for AR titles Is holding open houses worthwhile?

 I have had 2 more weekends of open houses since I wrote this and I have sold and closed another listing from an open house. Oh, yeah, and it was my sale, too.  I figure I am currently at  about $300 per hour even though no one showed up this past weekend. (It was a gorgeous day for Michigan)  I am not bragging. I did this exercise because I was wondering, is this really a good use of my time?

Now, we are not exactly having a booming market here either. It is plugging along at our normal pace, we just have lots and lots of listings, FSBOs, and foreclosures on the market along with our marketable listings.

 Sooo, a big NO, open houses are not dead! 

Service your clients and hold open houses is my unsolicited advice

October 23, 2007 08:16 PM
Rainer
15,360
Carlos Scarpero
Internet Marketing Consultant
Dayton SEO Services

Maybe it's because people aren't showing up. My neighbor just did one and they didn't have a single person come and look at it. Not one!

Ok, I did stop by but that doesn't count as I just went over to try to sell the Realtor on my internet based greeting card service that I sell. I had plenty of time to make a great presentation!

October 24, 2007 12:14 AM
Anonymous #97
Anonymous
Jeremy

Hey Aaron

I appreciate your open access, tips and generally positive attitude. Lending here in the Seattle area is a positive experience at present and we hope it stays that way. The issue of increasing home's for sale inventories...where do you think that will take us?

Jeremy in Seattle

October 24, 2007 11:41 AM
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Rainer
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Aaron Gordon

Home Loan Consultant - Las Vegas, NV
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