At certain times of the year, and in certain price ranges, and in certain neighborhoods in my city of Cedar Rapids, open houses can be a great way to both showcase a home that is listed for sale AND a way to attract buyers to you as an agent.
All over the country, there are THOUSANDS of agents having houses open to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It is not without peril, there are safety concerns to think about, timing is very important, marketing and signs, and a lot of preparation. But obviously, in some areas, for some agents they work! And you cannot deny it, since some agents LIVE for open houses!
Agents that LOVE open houses, continue to do them because they work!
Reasons they are loved:
Extra advertising for your seller, be it in the newspaper, the company website, Realtor.com, or wherever you advertise these types of events.
Potential to have more buyers come through the house after a price reduction or update has been made to the home after it has been on the market for a month or longer.
They make sellers happy! An open house shows that you are making an effort to market their home to the largest pool of buyers.
It allows you to research the neighborhood and know more than anyone else that walks in the door. You can be the neighborhood expert with a little preparation and a great attitude!
Agents that HATE open houses, do them occasionally, but don't want to. It is the wrong attitude to have I think.
Reasons that they are hated:
Seen as a waste of time. If no one comes to the open house, you just wasted a couple hours of your time! And we all know what time is worth today...
It is an opportunity for the neighbors to come snooping for decorating ideas. They have no interest in moving nor do they know anyone who is interested in the house.
Sellers get stressed out preparing for an open house and get Fido and the kids out of the house, and then NO ONE shows up. Talk about frustration!
Safety concerns and possiblity of theft. This is a very real danger. Having a vacant home open is like advertising to would be criminals that here I am from 2-4 and no one is coming home....come get me! Also, there is a fear of theft of not just valuables, but prescription drugs as well. You cannot be everywhere at once, be careful!
Either way that you look at it, attitude and preparation are the key. During the listing presentation, you should discuss these expectations with the interviewing agent. This will allow both sides to determine what is best in your market and to come up with the best marketing plan for your home! If the agent firmly believes one way or the other, and you are not sure you agree, now is the time to decide if that agent is the best one to market your house.
Open houses can be a love/hate relationship, but either way that you look at it, attitude and preparation are the key! I prepare for an open house in advance by sending out cards to the neighborhoods surrounding the house, I email the agents with the buyers, I put up lots of signs with balloons to draw attention, I offer door prizes or some refreshments, and advertise in every medium, with all that, you are bound to get traffic. And if I don't, I can make some calls to clients that might be in the market to move to the area and get them out of the house, or call and catch up with an old friend. It does not need to be a complete waste of time!