No! Open Houses are NOT a Waste of Time!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Do you think Open Houses are a waste of time? The verdict is divided on this - some agents swear by them, others refuse to even consider doing them.

Well, I'm going to do my best to encourage you to do an Open House for each and every one of your listings - at least once.

So... here we go: open house

Why You Should Do Open Houses Reason #1 (of 4):

It makes your seller happy.

Don't discount the power of a happy seller. And don't let the Old Fogies tell you it's possible to convince a seller that Open Houses are a waste of time. If you don't do at least one Open House for your seller, he WILL doubt your commitment to the sale of his home. Oh, sure, he may agree with you to your face that Open Houses aren't necessary and that they only benefit the agent, blah blah blah, but when his house hasn't sold and he's getting nervous, he WILL remember that YOU haven't done an Open House yet.

If I had a house on the market and my agent hadn't done an open house, he better not come asking me for a price reduction unless/until he does! Why? Because I'm pretty sure I'd feel he hadn't yet done HIS part to sell the house. Reasonable? Maybe, maybe not, but if I, as an experienced real estate agent feel this way, you better believe your sellers do, too.

Did you catch that? I think it would take some nerve to ask your seller to reduce his price if YOU haven't done the most visible, most expected form of real estate marketing there is - the Open House.  If your seller feels you're shirking Open House duty, he might not be nearly as open to your suggestions as to what HE needs to do to help get the house sold.

A happy seller is a cooperative seller. And an uncooperative seller is a nightmare. You pick.

Tomorrow - Reason #2 to Hold Your Listings Open





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Scott Cowan
RE/MAX Professionals - Olympia, WA

Jennifer- Holding an open house for the reason you list is a valid reason to hold one. We need to do everything for our clients to help the sell their homes. In this market it is vital we cover all of the bases even if we do not like doing some particular part of the job. Open houses in my area are still fairly well attended and the potential to meet new people is always something I look forward to. My sellers always seem to appreciate the effort too.



Apr 15, 2008 04:05 AM #10
Christina Moock
Cutler Real Estate - Canton, OH
REALTOR - Cutler Real Estate
I love open houses!  What a great way to meet people and get more exposure for your listing. 
Apr 15, 2008 04:17 AM #11
Richard Parr
ADT Security Services - Slidell, LA
Home Security Specialist - Greater New Orleans, Louisiana

Public expectation is not a good reason to do open houses.  The public expects us all to be back-stabbing, lying used care sales people that would take advantage of anyone to make a buck, but I am not going to encourage those thoughts by doing what they expect.

Instead, I discuss the very poor returns of open houses with my listing clients.  After hearing the data almost all of my clients prefer NOT to have open houses and they are VERY HAPPY with me and my marketing efforts.  Wasting someone's time generally does NOT make them happy. 

There are some exceptions when an open house is needed or requested and I will have them in those rare instances, but the overwhelming majority of my clients realize that the industry is changing and understand that doing an activity that is unproductive is....UNPRODUCTIVE. 

Apr 15, 2008 04:40 AM #12
Carol Spengel
Prudential Rubloff - Wheaton, IL
Wheaton IL
I love open houses.  Where else can you see what people really think about the house.  I always find out new likes and dislikes regarding my listings.  Even the neighbors can be helpful giving me inside neighborhood information.  I did what I hate the other week.  I advertised three of my Open Houses in the local newspaper and we had an amazing turn out.  I had 20 people at one home and 10 each at the other two.  Most people saw the ad and came on by.  I hate when I am wrong about newspaper advertising!
Apr 15, 2008 04:42 AM #13
JoEllen Stranger-Thorsen
Eustis, FL
Lake County, FL

Although I tell my sellers Open Houses are not the most productive, I gladly hold them if they wish to do so.

A new discovery that I tried recently with much success was to get every house up for sale in the neighborhood to schedule a "Community Open House." Every agent pitched in to some form of advertising, we invited the neighbors and had a magnificent four hours with lots of prospects. The result, one contract and two listings and two serious buyers, all because people saw the community for what it is, a good value with lots of interest.

Apr 15, 2008 05:01 AM #14
Tania King
CIR REALTY - Calgary, AB
I agree, Open house although don't usually tend to sell the house, It is a great way to please the seller and try to pick up another buyer or two! Lets not forget about Realtor open houses, a great way to try to educate other realtors on your listing. Community Open Houses, are a great way to bring extra traffic as well.
Apr 15, 2008 05:44 AM #15
Lori Gilmore
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Joliet, IL
Realtor - Will County Illinois
I do not like Open Houses at all. . .but I did one a couple of weeks ago and though I only has two people through, one turned into a listing and is also a loyal buyer who has referred me to two of his friends. . .not a bad afternoon, of course no offer on the "open house home" yet  :(
Apr 15, 2008 05:47 AM #16
Lindsay Pendleton
Relocating To Baton Rouge & Surrounding Areas - Baton Rouge, LA
Marketing Agent - Property Management in Baton Rou
I always love open houses but I understand that most do not. I think they are great for the agent and the seller.
Apr 15, 2008 07:04 AM #17
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Lori - I did my first open house in 3 years last Sunday and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Had around 20 visitors and all of were chatty and cheerful.

Tania - We don't do too many broker opens around here; "previewing" is common so agents with buyers just preview when they want to catch up on the market. But in markets where previewing isn't common, I can certainly see the value of broker opens!

JoEllen - I actually tried to generate some interest in a community open last weekend, but so many agents seem totally doomed & gloomed and uninterested. Ah well, MY open house was great!

Sherry - BINGO! That's it exactly (and the topic of the next blog, Reason #2!). I know what you mean about being "wrong." I hate that.

Richard - obviously, we'll just agree to disagree! Thanks for stopping by!

Christina - Agreed! Sure can't hurt!

Scott - Yes! You get it!

Maureen - stay tuned!

Eric - I rarely use my open houses to prospect, although if I have rapport with someone, I'm happy to follow up. But for new or newer agents, open houses are a great opportunity to practice real estate agent-skills!

Mike - but we do them anyway 'cause we care about our listings!

Bob - I wish I enjoyed doing them more because I agree - what a great opportunity to meet the homebuying/selling public!

Lindsay - Yep - certainly no HARM in doing an open house - can't hurt!


Apr 15, 2008 11:06 AM #18
Ricardo Bueno
Diverse Solutions - Los Angeles, CA


There's nothing worse than an Open House with NO showings; if no one is going to show, why do the open house at all? For the very reasons you explained above. 

We have to show the client that we're doing something to sell their home. If at the end of their day, they're happy because I'm putting in some good ol' fashioned hard work, I've just made them happier which brings me a step higher in their trust radar. The more they trust me, the more their likely to take my advice.     

Apr 15, 2008 11:52 AM #19
Joshua & Kathy Schmidt
ERA Henley Real Estate - Cabot, AR


      In my opinion it depends on the house, but for the most part they are definitely worth the time.  As a matter of fact, I had one Sunday and wrote an offer from a client without a Realtor on Monday.  That is two sides for me.  So, in my opinion, my $40 add in the paper and 2 hours were well worth it!  This was the 3rd open house I have done for the house and I have gotten clients from each of them.  Not to mention a very happy seller.

Apr 15, 2008 12:43 PM #20
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Ricardo - clap clap clap!!! Can you feel me jumping up and down from Colorado??? YES!
Apr 15, 2008 01:05 PM #21
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate
I agree.  I have actually sold a few homes with the open house.  Of course they already had an agent but thats ok.
Apr 15, 2008 01:08 PM #22
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate
I don't consider open houses to be a waste of time, but I've also never sold the house I was holding open, as a result of that open house. BUT, I know other agents who have. The way I see it, you just never know where the buyer will originate. It can't hurt, so why not try? The only reason an agent would be adamantly against them would be out of laziness. 
Apr 15, 2008 01:30 PM #23
Geoff Scowcroft
Coldwell Banker - Studio City, CA
We get many buyers going through or listings. Agents in some of our areas don't tour much, so we need to have access for open houses. I wouldn't be marketing the home to its fullest if we didn't have open houses.
Apr 15, 2008 01:37 PM #24
Christopher Watters
Watters International Realty - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor (512-829-8000)
I hate doing open houses as well. They are not very effective in my opinion. You almost have to do'em to keep your sellers happy though. I guess one additional benefit is that with the few people that walk in you can build your database..
Apr 15, 2008 02:28 PM #25
Bob Cumiskey
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL
US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor
Jennifer, I love doing open houses.  So many cool people to meet when they show up.  Even if they are just tire kickers, they are potentials.  LOL
Apr 17, 2008 02:12 PM #26
Bill Saunders, Realtor®
Meyers Realty - Hot Springs, AR

Even though the comments stop at the end of April 2008, there has GOT to be some testimony out there more recently...

Lisa...I have called several FSBO's and your comments about laziness were echoed by them, so even if 3 or 4 people feel we are lazy good for nothing money grabbers, they are telling about 50 more people that will accept their viewpoint as gospel. Even though virtual real estate is grand, but virtual does NOT replace reality, and homes (non investment houses to flip) are an emotional thing where physically being IN the space is hugely important. OK enough of that one...

Is there anything that anyone does out there that works to get extra traffic consistently? Neighborhood invitations, written or in person (I HATE door knocking)? Paper ads: The "day of", the day before and the day of, etc., Balloons?, yard signs? Door prize? Free Beer :)?Does the community open house work fairly consistently when several houses by different agencies in one neighborhood hold opens? It sounds great! Also shows would-be listers and buyers a cooperative spirit among agencies. Does Saturday work better than Sunday, does an after hours open work, and how would you promote it? well...just a few questions for you guys...

I am working on aquiring my first listing, but in the meantime, I offer my house sitting ability (and believe me, I AM able! :))to any of our other agents and they say, "We really need to do an open house." But no one says, "Sure, how about next Saturday!" Nada. There is talk of twilight open houses, for when people are coming home from work, but so far, Nada. I suppose they feel they do no good. I feel like going to a couple of friends with another agency and see if I can sit one of theirs for them...all of us sell each others houses through the MLS, why not opens? I agree that it is a good place to learn skills, like how important knowing the neighborhood and the local inventory is.

Hey Jennifer...I've never been to Colorado...I'll come sit one of yours...ha!

Thanks for all the knowledge you guys put up here. All the best...

Feb 06, 2009 12:29 AM #27
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Another good point Jennifer.  I want happy sellers.  I'm not a big fan of open houses, however I need to do what's necessary to get the house sold.

Apr 15, 2012 03:33 AM #28
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks for all your comments on these older blogs, Donna! 

Apr 15, 2012 03:53 AM #29
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