I become a Realtor in 1985, one of the first things I learned as a rookie Realtor was that Open Houses on Sunday afternoon, was a great place to catch myself a home buyer... As luck will have it, I actually landed 3 of them! One of them had a house to sell before buying the one I was holding open, so it become my very first listing! the other 2 people ended up buying a house from me too. I have never stopped doing open houses on Sunday afternoons, after all, I spend all week looking for home buyers and home sellers, and just when they are out there looking at homes, I cannot not just stay home, I must go get them,! I know they need me. Now I have knowledge, education and experience to share, and only by sharing this information I can be successful, Knowledge that is not applied properly is simple knowledge wasted.
I call myself the "Mobile Real Estate Office," because that is what I do. I simply relocate my desk from my usual place onto the home of one of my clients who are expecting me to find them a buyer. A few well placed signs, a few ads on the local MLS, newspaper, internet etc. and here I am, ready to do business in a Sunday afternoon.
After doing this for over 27 years, I have tried everything possible to corral the visitors and make them my clients, once I offered coffee and donuts... (I ate most of the donuts) I tried to get everyone to sign my register, (most gave me faux names and addresses.) I used color balloons in front of the house, (most flew away, others got the kids attention to the point, that the parents did not even got to see the house) Then I learned a few tricks that have allowed me to make about 30% of my yearly income from visitors to my open houses.
I learned that is not all in the number of people coming to the Open House, all you need is one buyer who buys the house. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, a couple or nearby renters went out for a walk after brunch and pass by the open house, they told me right from the start, that they were just looking. After they toured the house, I ask how much they paid in rent, they gave me the number and then I asked them if they knew that there is an FHA loan that allows buyers to buy with as low as 3.5% for a down payment, and that the seller was allowed to give a large credit back that they could use for closing costs... yes, I got their attention, and with my fancy calculator, I demonstrated to them how they could buy this house... they did write an offer and bought that house on the spot. They were the only visitors that day.
I have many stories like that one, it demonstrates that being at the right place, with the right information, and talking to the right people works. It is a win-win for all of us, the seller, the buyer and obviously me the listing agent, yes, here in sunny California, we can represent both buyer and seller. there have been many instances where I was the Realtor chosen for the listing because the people had seen me work open houses in their neighborhood, so there are also would be home sellers, who venture out there to see what their competition would be when they are ready to sell, and you, just happens to be ready, you are showing them how you work.
I know that there are people who do not open their listings on a Sunday afternoon for the general public to visit, that is fine with me, I prefer them to come to my open house, all of them! I concentrate my efforts in one of my favorite neighborhoods here in my town in San Leandro California, where I happened to be the leading listing Realtor, mainly because of my presence in the neighborhood. Whoever started this habit of opening houses for sale on Sunday afternoons deserves my sincere gratitude... and maybe a referral or two.