ARE OPEN HOUSES WORTH THE EFFORT?

By
Real Estate Agent with Watson Realty Corp

We have tried to get excited about doing open houses for our listings but seem to always end up disappointed with the results.  Our Sellers tend to expect us to do them for their homes but we are finding ourselves more and more explaining that open houses just don't do what they are supposed to.  Getting a half dozen people to come on a weekend is a major success but one that usually does not result in Buyers nor is it the turn-out we hope for.

We dutifully advertise the open house in the local newspaper, make attractive flyers describing the home, have snacks and drinks on hand and put out signs.  We would hope that this, plus devoting three to four hours on a Saturday or Sunday at the open house, would result in a steady flow of potential Buyers but it rarely does.  We have asked fellow Realtors about their open houses and the responses are generally the same roll of the eyes accompanied by the thumbs down sign. 

On the brighter side, we find that Realtor/Broker only open houses generate a better turn-out than ones open to the general public.  Unfortunately, the Broker opens might only generate a double digit attendance number which is still way short of what we want.  We have suggested to our MLS that they try to establish a specific day each month for Broker open houses to get Realtors into thinking of that day as open house day but that idea has not taken hold.

We would welcome ideas from other Realtors on what they have done to produce successful open houses.  We don't want to abandon the concept, but the results just don't seem to warrant the effort.

Comments (5)

Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I think it depends on the area.  I could see in some parts of the country with a lot of inventory or in rural areas that open houses would be waste of time.  In Silicon Valley, even homes on the market for weeks or months get a few people through and you never know what you'll get.  I've gotten a lot of good clients from open houses.

Apr 09, 2011 03:42 AM
Peter Schattenfield
Turning Point Estate Services LLC - Wilton, CT
Estate Dissolution and Preparation (203)388-8092 CT.

I think in this high tech, on-line world, open houses may eventually go the way of the buggy whip. There will always be those that need to go out and "kick the tires" rather than searching on the internet, but their numbers are fading with each passing year.

Apr 09, 2011 03:43 AM
Donna Malone
Waterfront, Luxury, Family, Affordable, Cottage, Deals - Bridgewater, NS
Homes and Property for Sale Nova Scotia

I agree, open houses do not generate a great attendance list. There are other reasons to have them; to generate leads, prospects and clients, to make the seller feel like you are actively working to sell the home and the possibility that the right buyer just might walk through the door. I don't think having food draws people in to an afternoon open house, if they are only coming for the food - do you really want them? If you are doing an Agents open at lunch time, that's different, providing a snack is probably a good idea.

Apr 09, 2011 03:47 AM
Steve Hall
RE/MAX United - San Marcos, CA
Make the Call to Hankins and Hall

When we hold houses open, we generally put out about 25 signs, which gives us a LOT of visibility.  Even though we may not get many people at an open house, everyone driving through sees our signs.  They definitely remember and call us when they are ready to buy or sell.

Apr 13, 2011 04:21 AM
Bob & Barb Johanson
Watson Realty Corp - Palm Coast, FL

Bryan, Peter, Donna & Steve:  Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post.  In reading your responses, I get the impression that there are lots of mixed feelings about the usefulness of open houses.  I'm sure we will keep doing them--one, in hope of getting some decent attendance and two, to make our Sellers happy.  Bob

PS  Being able to put out 25 signs for an open house would be wildly welcome here.  Unfortunately, in its infinite wisdom, our city does not permit open house signs on intersections, street corners or anywhere else they would be visible (city employees patrol each weekend to collect illegally placed signs and dispose of them).

Apr 13, 2011 12:44 PM