If you're one of the many Real Estate Agents who think of open houses as a primary means to sell the home being shown - or if you judge success by the number of sales you generate as a result of your open houses - expect this article to redirect your thinking.
Well-documented research shows that fewer than 5% of all buyers purchase a home they visited during an open house, a finding that proves the open house to be, at best, a pretty ineffective sales approach.
Yet open houses remain an important tool in an Agent's business arsenal for a very good reason. Open houses provide a terrific opportunity to generate prospects, and prospects are the lifeblood of real estate business success.
So, what's in it for the sellers?
You're probably asking yourself, but what's in this open house thing for the seller? Why would homeowners agree to be booted out of their houses for the afternoon just so their Agent can throw open the doors in an effort to attract prospective new clients? And why would sellers care if their Agent generated new leads, anyway?
While you may have these questions, sellers rarely, if ever, ask them.
That's because most sellers have no idea of the limited results that are likely to result from an Agent holding an open house in their home. In fact, if you survey most sellers you'll learn that they desperately want their Agent to hold an open house. They hold fast to the belief that an open house might sell their home. And the odds are that one out of every 20 times, it will. And it seems that every seller knows someone whose home was one of those few open house sales success stories. They apply that one owner's experience as the rule rather than the exception. As a result, they want an open house, ASAP.
To sellers, an open house is a tangible way to see Agents doing something to earn their fees. The selling of real property is a mystery to most people. They can easily understand an open house. It is not part of the behind-the-scenes magic that an Agent performs to get the home sold.
Plus, to sellers there are some real advantages that come out of the open house experience:
While open houses rarely result in the sale of the specific home being featured, they do sell homes -- just not the featured home and not usually to who attended the open house. For example:
- An open house attendee may share her home-buying interests with the hosting Agent, who proceeds to sell her a home featured at an open house a week ago.
- A couple attending an open house may find that the featured home isn't right for them but that it matches the wish list of some good friends, who end up making a purchase offer.
What's more, an open house prompts the owners to get their home ready for prime-time showing, and that alone makes it worthwhile for all involved parties. Whether the home sells as a result of the open house (as only few do) or afterwards, the effort provides a worthwhile dry run for all the showings that will follow.