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.