Is the open house worth it?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Fairstone Properties

When our clients contract Fairstone Properties to sell the house, we retain the right to have and hold open houses.  However the top selling agents in our company do not hold them.  Before you hit the comment button, think about the purpose of the open house and the purpose of the broker-client relationship.  In our opinion the point of the relationship is for the sole purpose of selling the house. . .is this what an open house does?  I don't think so.  In our market, if you fully advertise an open house, put up your directionals and sit down and wait for three hours, you are lucky if some neighbors come in to say hi.  (they always seem to be the first because they "have always wanted to see the inside of this house!")

In order to get people to come, you have to lure them.  Food is a must, door prizes (starbucks gift-cards) go a long way, free wine, or even raffles.  These people then are there to buy the house. . .they are there for the food and free stuff.  The only sale that the broker will get is if he or she can convince the people that they should buy through them.  Statistically NAR says that only 3% of sold houses are sold through the open house.  This is not a good use of my time.  The open house is a dying marketing technique unless you like to work with buyers or unless you need buyers. 

 What's everyone's experience and opinions?  and for the mortgage and title reps...what do you have in your arsenal to change this statistic?  How do you help your Realtors out?

Comments (8)

Nora Adkins
Realty Executives - Tucson, AZ
I the last four years I have held many open houses and actually did sell one directly from the open house.  I still do them occasionally, but I tell my sellers not to get their hopes up from them.  I think they have a time and a place.  I try to do at least 1 for each listing, just to oblige the nosey neighbors.
Aug 17, 2007 05:08 AM
Nicole Kraus
Signature Realty Associates - Dover, FL
I know what you are saying, but I did an open house three weeks ago and wrote 2 offers that same day.  I look at it as showing good will to my clients and an opportunity to meet and speak with neighbors who may be in the market to sell their home down the road.  Your time is what you make of it, and if it is especially boring I bring work that I can catch up that I didn't get to earlier in the week. 
Aug 17, 2007 05:09 AM
CJ Johnson
Elite Agents - San Antonio, TX
Sales & Building Consultant

You might want to think of this as a marketing tool to get listings instead of getting buyers. 

Here is another open house concept that has worked for me for 18 years.  Make up invitations and hand deliver them one weekend before your open house to 50 homeowners in the area.  This gives you the opportunity to meet some of the neighbors face to face and ask them "Do You Know A Buyer For This Home?" if the answer is no that's OK now you can ask if they are planning on moving in the near future or if they know anyone who is.  A few nice results of this are that you get nose to nose with potential future clients and that they see you as a take action real estate agent that does not just sit around and wait for business to come to him. 



Aug 17, 2007 05:15 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County
I do open houses. My primary reason is to bring the seller a buyer. If that does not happen then I hope to capture a buyer lead. Is it a waste of time? It depends on what activity you are giving up in exchange for the time spent at the open house.
Aug 17, 2007 05:16 AM
Karl Schott
Aviara - Agoura Hills, CA
Well there is your 3%,looks like Nora and Nicole got my sale. Not really, but you are correct, open houses are a good way to give the neighbors a look at the house. I did however hold a lot of open houses in the late 80's, when there was no Internet. Today, most buyers are seeing the homes on their computer and then we are helping them to refine their search to find just what they want.
Aug 17, 2007 05:21 AM
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Wake Forest, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngs
I try my darnest not to hold open houses. The ratio is not good enough for me.
Aug 17, 2007 05:29 AM
Faina Sechzer
Henderson-Sotheby's International Realty - Princeton, NJ
Real Estate Expert - Princeton, Montgomery ,Hopewell, NJ


thank you for sharing your experience. I was beginning to wander if i was doing something wrong. Open houses never worked for me - the possibility to find a buyer for the property is very small. The possibility to get a buyer lead, in my experience, is close to 0. Most visitors either already have agents or don't want to be bothered by an agent. The clients are usually disappointed that no one bought their house (after all, it's so wonderful) and require explanations as to why each visitor did not want their house.

Aug 17, 2007 06:19 AM
C. Ana Belmiro
McEnearney Associates - Washington, DC

I am a new and have been in this business for 5 months. In this 5 months i have hosted at least 20 open houses. I don't have listings but am trying to get buyers. I did many dead open houses that nobody would go to and the only positive result is one buyer that i got from one of the open houses i hosted

I have decided to take a break and for now on will only host open houses 2 weekends out of the month and if the property is in a location that will generate traffic. Other ways is not worth my time and energy! I guess it takes a while for new agents to realize what is worth and what is not worth your time but i am learning. 

Sep 08, 2008 11:50 AM