Open Houses in a Slumping Market

Real Estate Agent with The Kelly Group Real Estate

If you’ve read the recent news on the real estate market, then you already know that there is a potential lag coming in the housing market. As interests rates are expected to rise next year, now is the time to get your listings sold to get the best value for your sellers. As there will likely be fewer buyers through the winter with plenty of listings available, buyers can be more discriminating in their search for the best buy to meet their needs. One potential way to snatch up limited buyers for your listings may be to return to the old marketing method of hosting open houses.


With an open house, buyers have an opportunity to view your listed property on their own schedule and determine if it will suite their needs. Buyers that are still uncertain about what they are looking for can fall in love with all that your listed property has to offer. Additionally, your seller will feel that you are truly working hard to get their home sold when the market and number of showings are slowing.

Listing in Newberg, Oregon, with The Kelly Group


However, many agents refuse to host an open house as they have the stigma of being unproductive. Attendees are often neighbors or buyers who aren’t seriously in the market yet. If buyers are serious, they frequently end up writing an offer for a different home than the one that was held open, with approximately 5% of buyers purchasing a home through an open house. So is it worth the effort for both you and the seller?


Well, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered before putting up the “Open House” sign. First, do some research and make sure that the property you intend to hold open will be productive in terms of an open house. Is it located in a subdivision or desirable neighborhood? Does it have a listing price with a larger buyer pool? Is it a new home or model home for a builder? If so, then it is likely to draw more potential buyers, especially compared to rural property or luxury home.


So, if the property has the potential to bring in some serious buyers, what is the best way to ensure a well-attended, productive open house? Here are some ideas that have help sell homes:


  1. Get an audience! Make sure you choose a day/time that will draw a good crowd and market extensively prior to the event. Don’t just rely on newspaper advertising. Plan ahead and invite buyers’ agents in the area to attend as well. Invite agents who have previously showed the home.

  2. Make an event of it! If you have enough listings and staff in the area, try to coordinate an open house tour of multiple homes that are within the same listing price range. Provide a map with directions to each home and include property fliers/packets to encourage buyers to visit all the homes.

  3. Keep it safe! Screen the people who come in by checking IDs and having them sign in. Use their information for raffle or door prizes. This encourages safety, honesty, and allows for easier follow-up to see if any serious buyers resulted. Also, consider temporary security videos and having additional colleagues rotate throughout the day so multiple agents are available to show the home, especially near the closing time of the open house.

  4. Have lenders present! Lenders are typically happy to attend open houses as it opens business opportunities for themselves. They can discuss financing options with buyers that view the home, providing buyers with immediate assistance on how your particular listing is affordable for them. It also adds another level of safety as you won’t be left alone during the event, which is of particular importance in rural areas.

  5. Have buyer incentives! If you want to encourage qualified buyers to attend, advertise incentives for buyers’ agents ahead of time such as a cash bonus or increased commission for those that attend.

  6. Host an open house as the first option for showing! Try having your properties go active on the market early in the week but hold all showings until the open house. This encourages competition between buyers so you and your seller can take the best offer on the table.

    Hosting an open house can be an effect way to bring in buyers when the real estate market is in a slump. What methods have you used to make an open house a hit?



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Kelly Hagglund, Principal Broker, Licensed in Oregon.


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Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

I clicked LIKE Kelly Hagglund , it always seems that all markets go up and down, but there is always an eventual UP TREND.  Here's to a GRAND 2015.

Dec 19, 2014 05:44 AM #1
Michael Dagner
Brokers Guild Classic - Denver, CO
Your Denver Homes Realty Expert

Kelly, this is great.  Most open houses aren't productive because the agent-seller haven't made an event out of it, or utilized these techniques.   

Dec 19, 2014 12:40 PM #2
Kelly Hagglund
The Kelly Group Real Estate - Newberg, OR
SW Portland Real Estate Expert

You are absolutely right Michael! Trying to plan a productive open house can take a lot of foot work and ingenuity. It's not to say that it can't be done!

Dec 26, 2014 06:43 AM #3
Kelly Hagglund
The Kelly Group Real Estate - Newberg, OR
SW Portland Real Estate Expert

Thank you Bruce Hicks! You are right, there is always an eventual up trend! I hope it is a grand 2015 for you as well!

Dec 26, 2014 06:44 AM #4
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Kelly Hagglund

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