Yes! Do That Open House! Reason #2

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Yesterday, I promised to chat some more about why an agent should hold his or her listings open, at least once. Something I didn't mention was that I'm only talking about YOUR own listings - not listings of other agents, although that's fine to do if you like (and I will talk more about this in a few days). No, I think you owe it to your seller to do it, yourself even, regardless of whether or not you think the open house will result in a sale.

Why You Should Do Open Houses Reason #2 (of 4):

You can gather feedback from the public to share with your seller.

I did my first open house in three years this past Sunday. It was a fairly active open house - we had maybe 20 visitors in a three hour period. It was a beautiful spring day, people seemed cheerful and chatty and the feedback was flowing. At the end of the day, I had a page and a half of scribbled down comments for my seller. Most of them were positive; a few mildly critical, but how long would it have taken me to get that much feedback from showing agents? Uh, like forever?

While my seller certainly appreciated the mass-feedback, as the listing agent, it is also incredibly helpful to me to see firsthand what features really jumped out at the visitors. Every single one of them commented on the "great light and all the windows," and almost everyone complimented the oversize kitchen. Do you think this might help me in my marketing efforts?

I think spending three hours getting a concentrated dose of feedback from the general public is a great use of my time and a valuable service for my seller.

Tomorrow - Reason #3 to Go Ahead and Hold that House Open!



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Gary Love
Gary Love & RealtySouth - Birmingham, AL

Good blog, there are 2 reasons I do Open Houses. To make my client happy, and the other is to sign up new buyers,meet new people and it has worked for 12 years.

                                                              Gary Love

Apr 16, 2008 12:11 AM #7
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC
Well advertised listings for open house do well in my Market. It has resulted in 2 contracts to date in 2008. I personally like to do them.
Apr 16, 2008 12:23 AM #8
Michael Delp
Mortgage Pro - Telford, PA

Open Houses are more than selling the home. They put you in touch with buyers that are out there looking. Great points you are making for Open Houses.

Apr 16, 2008 03:35 AM #9
JDo Doe
Barrington, RI
Good points - you always shine the light on the less obvious but often more valuable points of doing one activity or another.  Take care!!!
Apr 16, 2008 03:55 AM #10
Lindsay Pendleton
Relocating To Baton Rouge & Surrounding Areas - Baton Rouge, LA
Marketing Agent - Property Management in Baton Rou
I think getting feedback from other consumers is a great point. I think this will let the seller know what he/she needs to do as far as improvements go.
Apr 16, 2008 04:05 AM #11
Mike Mitchell
Real Living Kee Realty - Saint Clair Shores, MI
Jennifer, you're making some great points on the pros of doing open houses. I like this series, looking forward to part 3.
Apr 16, 2008 05:38 AM #12
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy
I agree, at least one open house needs to be done if for nothing else to satisfy the sellers, Like the feedback idea too.
Apr 16, 2008 05:58 AM #13
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Unfortunately, my last few Open Houses results in NOTHING. 2 of them didnt have anyone even though it was not too far away from the main street of the neighborhood and I have good directionals. 1 had only 1 nosy neighbor. I was suprised.

I always like to see things half full rather than half empty. So, I did do some housekeeping business stuff during those times. So, I didnt waste my time.

Apr 16, 2008 06:13 AM #14
Lynn Ikle'
Redfin - Lutherville Timonium, MD


As a brand new agent, I think Open Houses are a great way to meet buyers, and please your seller.  And even meet future sellers.  If you put on the music, serve some kind of snack, have cold water bottles, fresh flowers, etc...the impression you could make, considering most "open house-ers" are going to many more....they will call you when they want an agent to have their listing, and do their "open".

Apr 16, 2008 06:16 AM #15
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
Jennifer:  How do you feel about Broker Opens?  I find them much more useful for feedback than Open Houses.  I think my Opens are truly cursed.  I rarely get traffic.
Apr 16, 2008 07:26 AM #16
Joshua & Kathy Schmidt
ERA Henley Real Estate - Cabot, AR

I agree Jennifer, you can not buy better feedback.  I am all for holding open houses.  I get clients, make my seller happy, and occasionally write an offer.  Great series of blogs on this by the way!

Apr 16, 2008 11:38 AM #17
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Jennifer, you're right on with this advice, that doing an open house on your listing can be more powerful than other listings.
Apr 16, 2008 11:44 AM #18
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY
I think it depends on the house...Some are definitely NOT worth the effort others are.  In a nice neighborhood where everyone wants to live they are a great way to meet buyers.  In an area with crummy schools  where no one wants to live if they don't have to - then it is very difficult to generate much of anything.  It's all location, location, location - and condition. 
Apr 16, 2008 02:40 PM #19
Bob Schenkenberger
Colorado Realty Professionals - Greenwood Village, CO
Denver Real Estate
I'm a fan of one or two open houses to get the neighbors in and solicit their feedback.  No one sells an area like the neighbors, and I've had more than one sale occur when a neighbor told a friend about the house, and they bought it.
Apr 16, 2008 03:41 PM #20
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Bob - I was very pleasantly surprised at how many neighbors came to my last open house who truly seemed to be "looking for a house for a friend." Usually I think that's just a line so that they appear to be simply nosy neighbors, but these folks really seemed sincere.

Ruthmarie - I agree that many houses aren't suitable to hold open, but it's hard to tell a seller that if you haven't tried once. I tell my sellers that I will commit to one and if it's productive, I might do more. The good PR is worth the time invested, IMO.

Chris - We don't do a lot of broker opens here - the ones I've done have been total busts and they are much more of an investment of time and money. Because previewing is common in the Denver market, broker opens aren't really necessary.

Thanks for all the comments!

Apr 16, 2008 10:40 PM #21
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Actually Jennifer - I was thinking in terms of newer agents who are having a hard time getting started. I've noticed that some long-time agents palm off their "waste of space" open houses to newbies so they don't have to be bothered with an open house where no one shows up! New agents who are eagerly looking for that first client or two can be bitterly disappointed and can also suffer open house burn-out if they get a string of these and nothing in a nice lucrative location. What I am finding is that in these hard times, listing agents are scarfing up the "nice" open houses for their own networking and leaving the crumbs to the newbies.  If a new agent doesn't understand this dynamic, they can be taken advantage of and get nowhere fast.  

Bottom Line:  learn where homes are actually SELLING! That's where you are likely to find productive open houses. Also understand price structure. If it is overpriced, it is not likely to draw a lot of attention. If you are a newer agent doing open houses for long-time agents, be flexible and take the occasional dog IF you can get access to nice well-priced listing in a good neighborhood. But if all that you are getting are the junk houses - move on and work with a different agent.  

As to listing agents:  They SHOULD do at least one open house on a good weekend (not Passover or Easter or whatver.) If the response is nil - that is a valid argument for not doing any more.  But if someone has listed a beat up house in a bad neighborhood for an unrealistic price - THAT agent should do the open house!  It shouldn't be palmed off on an unsuspecting new agent.

Apr 17, 2008 01:44 PM #22
Bob Cumiskey
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL
US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor
Jennifer, WOW! 20 visitors at your open house.  I should be so lucky.  I'm happy when I have more than 5.  LOL.
Apr 17, 2008 02:15 PM #23
Ashley Drake Gephart
Drake Intel Group - Albuquerque, NM
I loved doing open houses my first year. I now would rather hit my head against the wall. But for gathering feedback I will always do at least one on all of my listings and that first one will be done by me. Not to mention the wealth of information the neighbors can provide!
Apr 18, 2008 10:42 AM #24
Terri Hayley
Plantation and Coventry Homes - Dallas, TX

Spot on, Jennifer!

We held an open house yesterday for another agent to help them out and to help us with more buyers. We put an open house in their yard on Monday advertising the open house. It was put in the MLS,, our in house MLS system,, Trulia, Craig's List the day before and the day of, and it was right off a heavily travelled street, so we had signs off that street and at 9 different intersections. Mind you, this home has already been on the market 37 days and is at $374k.

We had about 10 units of traffic - 1 put her home on the market specifically so she can buy this house and we put them in contact with our preferred lender, Katie Sparkman , so she can help them get the numbers worked out. Then, we found for ourselves someone in the n-hood who wants to put their home on the market once they've re-cooped the upgrades they just put in. They will also need help finding a home. Their daughter is also buying a home and selling one from out of state. There was another couple who wants to move but didn't think they could, so we're going to work up a CMA for them and go talk to them. They were also looking for their friends whom they're passing along our info to. There were several people whom we established rapport with and wanted info. from us so we can follow-up and keep them in our database and market to them over time maintaining the relationship we're establishing. Not bad for a 2 hour investment of time at the house and a little time on the computer marketing while hanging out with the family.

Best wishes.

Terri Hayley  


Apr 21, 2008 02:15 AM #25
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Getting feedback early in the listing cycle is priceless.  It allows you to market to the strengths right out of the gate.

Apr 15, 2012 03:35 AM #26
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