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.