Open Houses - Are they worth it?

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Bob Yost Homesale Services (West)

Typically Open Houses in the York, PA area bring in leads for the agent, not a buyer for the home being held open.  Instead agents are typically confronted by "nosey neighbors" and others who have just started looking. 

I received my real estate license in 2003 and have yet to receive a contract for a home held open by a person who walked through on the day of the open house.  I have also done numerous open houses (almost every weekend), two per week if my husband holds open another listing so this is not something I experienced just recently, but the way the York market works.

So what does give you the greatest exposure in this area??  The MLS or multiple listing service.  For those consumers who may be wondering what this is; it is simply a compilation of all the homes listed by local companies who pay their dues to our local association in order to have access to this system.  Another tool is the internet, and what a big part it plays.  After the listing is entered in the local MLS it is put on,,,,, etc....  This list is almost endless.

Before sticking that For Sale by Owner sign in your yard and scheduling open houses through your local classifieds, I would highly recommend talking to and interviewing at least three Realtors in the York, PA area.  Our value is endless when all you have to do is sit back and relax, leaving all the details up to someone who can get it done.

Your Local York, PA Realtor

Shelley Kefauver

Century 21 Heritage

(717)757-9487 Ext. 370

Cell (717)434-5544

Comments (9)

Sharon Harris
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Hanover, PA
Well said. I could not agree more...I am also a York county Realtor (Hanover) and have been doing far less open houses as more people are on line looking.  I think todays buyer will go on line and then make an appt to view what they want to see.
Mar 16, 2008 06:16 AM
The Trumm Team Omaha Homes for Sale, Real Estate
Keller Williams Greater Omaha - Omaha, NE

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Troy Trumm
Mar 16, 2008 10:22 AM
Brian Benjamin
Visual Graphix - Phoenixville, PA

Shelley, I work with many realtors here in the Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Phila. county areas, and most are of the same mindset as you - open houses are truly only good for finding potential buyers to represent.  Most of the time, an open house seems to be time for the agent to catch up on paperwork or calls.  So, if you're a new realtor looking for some clients, open houses are the way to go to gain some exposure...but most veteran agents are using the Internet and it's tools (like virtual tours; had to get a plug in there) to find serious buyers for their listings.

Brian Benjamin
Visual Graphix 

Mar 19, 2008 08:16 AM
Wendy Hodges
Re/Max Southern Shores - Myrtle Beach, SC
Davis & Hodges

I really didn't realize this until my partner pointed out that last year less than 2% of our business came from open houses. Yes, in 2 years, I've gained 1 seller that I sold a $200,000 condo for along with a $100,000 condo. We obtained one couple of first time home buyers who bought for $220,000. Beyond this we recently got acouple we met at an open house for $600,000 approved for a $50,000 purchase if the wife gets a job- yes, you heard me. I have met a couple who relocated to the area planning to build their own home at several different open houses- with different agendas . We get tons of people looking for decorating ideas and neighbors looking for friends. When I moved, I never told my neighbors or friends until it was final. I find it amazing that neighbors and friends know what others are seeking in a home when I could not even send my mother out to look for my next house and YES, she know my likes and dislikes, but still my house- I will find it!!!

If you are looking for buyers without investing money, try an open house! You'll have to sift thru the mixture. After years in the business, this hasn't been a successful selling tool, but you never know what the 2% of your business you obtain from an open house will bring. Hopefully, the numbers will get better and it's a great way to get your name on the street!  

Mar 29, 2008 02:17 PM
Karen Rice
Keller Williams Real Estate - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales Open Houses work.  Hmm.

Our office opened its doors last January.  We had nothing in pending.  The two top agents had a bunch of listings, of course, but nothing in pending or even close to it.

Before the first half of the year was over, our office was in the top 5 offices for our immediate market area (out of about 15) for production.

By the end of our first year in business, we are number 3.  Other offices have been slowing down or even closing altogether.  But we've grown by leaps and bounds, and we are not in a good location right now (above a pizzeria, with no parking and no signage and accessed by an alley).

What did we do that nobody else was doing?  Open houses.  We had 430 open houses.  And yes, a few of them sold as a result of the open houses, we got listings because of the open houses, and we got lots of leads because of the open houses.

We don't lie to our sellers and say the open house will sell their home; we say it's another tool we use to bring buyers into their home, and buyers going to home A may then go to Home B, and eventually buy Home D - but it's another tool.

Weichert Realtors is very serious about Open Houses.  I think there's a connection between the success of Weichert Realtors as a brokerage and its franchise offices and the Open Houses.

But that's only my opinion...yet, the numbers speak for themselves..."we sell more because we do more" isn't just an old motto for Weichert - it's the truth.  

Mar 29, 2008 04:05 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
I do open houses . In a market where we do not get many showings , it is one way of getting people to view the home. It is agood way to meet buyers and neighbors who may want to sell.
Mar 30, 2008 12:38 AM
Scott Guay
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty - Ocean Pines, MD
Associate Broker. Ocean City and Ocean Pines MD
Open Houses do work in my area.  Lots of folks visiting friends and relatives and are out cruising the area.  While it probably not sell the home you are holding it will get you business. Three weeks ago I was sitting an open on one of my listings.  A buyer came through and it was not the home for them.  I inquired on what they were looking for and I just happened to have another listing I thought they might be interested in. I gave them the information and they said they were on their way to meet an agent at one of their listings.  They did not like that one, the other agent took them to see my listing and they wrote an offer.  We settle tomorrow. Life is good.
Mar 30, 2008 12:56 AM
Michael & Shelley Kefauver
Prudential Bob Yost Homesale Services (West) - Dover, PA
Realtors - York, PA
I think a lot of you misjudged this blog.  This blog was more or less geared towards the consumer.  My office also encourages agents to hold open houses, which my husband and I do almost every weekend.  However, these Open Houses almost NEVER sell the home that is being held open.  I wasn't implying that Realtors are wasting their time only that it is more or less for our benefit, not the consumers.
Mar 30, 2008 01:38 AM
Karen Rice
Keller Williams Real Estate - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Yes, I will admit I did miss the target audience of your blog.  My apologies.

That said, I would be careful about saying that Open Houses are a waste of time - because now the FSBO is going to say to you "Then why do you do them every weekend?"

The fact is, that the way many people - including REALTORS - do open houses IS a waste of time - I really believe the offices who see successes with open houses are the ones who have multiple open houses every weekend, where the buyers are always seeing the signs in the neighborhood - look ANOTHER open house...let's go see what this is all about..."

By networking and finding more buyers at Open Houses, our office is working for our sellers.   We promote the team concept - it's not just "your agent" working to sell your house, it's our whole team.  And Agent C may be at Open House A and meets a buyer who doesn't care for House A but is perfect for YOUR house....

While the Open House may not directly affect the seller - because we DO have Open Houses the chances increase that we will find a buyer for their house.

One of our agents in the office sold four of five of our office listings to customers she met at Open Houses.  Tell THOSE sellers that Open Houses are a waste.

Being honest is important - but totally downplaying the importance of an open house is also misleading. 

"Yes Mr. Seller, we may sell your house at an Open House (it did happen with one of our agents a couple of months ago!) but chances are good that the buyers who come to your open house are just looking and may end up buying something else.  On the same token, buyers coming to Seller B's Open House over the way may actually be the perfect buyer for YOUR house....It's another tool we use to connect with buyers - which is part of our job for you and for all our sellers." 


Mar 30, 2008 01:55 AM