ARE OPEN HOUSES A WASTE OF TIME?

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

HAVE OPEN HOUSES BECOME A WASTE OF TIME???

 

So pretty much every realtor I have spoken to lately has said that open houses are simply a waste of time. Do you agree? This can be argued either way because some say that open houses are still a great way to meet buyers and promote your listings. Others cannot wait to find fellow agents to hold their opens for them (I am guilty of this). Holding my own listings open never used to bother me at all. I actually liked it in a way because I love people and what better way to interact with complete strangers :-) Lately, it seems as if every open house is dead! Maybe people are saving their gas or something, but the common tune I have been hearing lately is "open houses are a complete waste of time". Like a previous post I made in regards to flyer boxes, open houses are a necessary part of the listing process. Even if it may seem like the most unproductive 3 hours you have ever spent on a weekend, it is still necessary in my opinion.

Your thoughts?

Comments (32)

Patrick Randles
Nova Home Loans - Tucson, AZ

If I were an agent, I would try to find specific houses to hold open. I spend a lot of time visiting with agents at open houses and some agents really benefit from their open houses. Some of their rules include that the house have a good size lot, no gated communities, lots of signage, not far off the main road and that the home be in an area that they farm on a regular basis. (Vacant homes can be the best).If you have nothing else going, take your laptop or something to work on and start holding open houses. It takes a time committment, but I know several agents that find most of their buyers this way and pick up listings as well by showing the residents that they will market your home if you list with them.

Aug 11, 2008 05:04 AM
Dick & Sandy Beals
Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC - Wilmington, NC

Peter,

Sellers will always want opens, as they feel that 's what works, or in other words they see the ad in the classifieds.  It is our job to have them thinking differently and show them the open house ads on the internet, and other web sites.  I have stopped most of my classified ads, and put most of the marketing money into the internet.  When some one points out about our lack of classified ads....I show them how I advertise their home on the newspaper's web site....they see the difference.  I try to use the numbers to my advantage...for example our newspaper has a circulation of around 56,000, and dropping from a high of around 70,000, yet the papers web site attracts over 100,000 views per day.  This works so much better when they see thousands may have seen their home, instead of the few who are looking at the Sunday open house ads.

Dick Beals

Aug 11, 2008 05:04 AM
Jason Landis
Skyline Properties, Inc. - Redmond, WA

I look at two sides of the open house.  First and foremost keeping the seller happy.  If getting on the internet while waiting for potential buyers to walk through the door will keep my seller happy then I will definately do it.  Web site maintanence, forums trolling and searching the MLS are great ways to fill the time during an open house.  The other side of it as many other people have mentioned is the great lead generation from the area from the lookiloos.  Open houses are a great way to put your face out there in the neighboorhood and get nearby listings.

Aug 11, 2008 05:17 AM
Peter Mann
Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue, WA
Peter Mann Seattle-Bellevue Real Estate Agent

Thank you Heath, Ray, Rebecca, Patrick and Dick (again) for your comments :-) I really do apprecaite everybodys opinion and find it very helpuful.

 

 

Aug 11, 2008 05:22 AM
Leander McClain
North East, MD
Cecil & Harford County Realtor

Pete,

I tend to hold open houses for 1 hour and 1 hour only.  If things are going to be dead and I am going to waste my time, i might as well limit the time wasted.  Also with a 1 hour open house, if there really is anyone interested in seeing the place, they will make it out during that hour or they will call to schedule a showing at another time.  I have to agree with others, i generally dont waste time with open houses right now.

Leander McClain, Real Estate Consultant

Aug 11, 2008 05:28 AM
Peter Mann
Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue, WA
Peter Mann Seattle-Bellevue Real Estate Agent

Thanks for the reply Jason. I always make sure that MY time at the opens is not wasted(I usually do computer work), but the open house itself is what feels like a waste of time. Maybe it's just me...

Aug 11, 2008 05:28 AM
Peter Mann
Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue, WA
Peter Mann Seattle-Bellevue Real Estate Agent

Thank you for your response Leander. I have never heard of a 1 hour open house. I should try that sometime :-) Makes sense to me. Do your clients mind?

Aug 11, 2008 05:30 AM
MeLisa Minter, Realtor
Minter Real Estate Services - Taylor Lake Village, TX
Bay Area Houston Real Estate Agent

Well after doing two this weekend, one Saturday and one Sunday, I'm beginning to rethink my strategy - at least my husband is.  I did pretty good marketing on Trulia, Active Rain, Craigslist, backpages.com and I even emailed the county realtors twice this week. 

I had several phone calls about these properties and people wanting to see them and I told them that I was hosting an open house for these properties this weekend and that they should stop by.  Well Nothing, not even a nosey neighbor, I admit I forgot to do my nosey neighbor invites, but I've done those before and still no results.

I'm thinking of changing the times that I host open houses, also if I get at least three property calls during the week, I will host an open-house that upcoming weekend.  I thought about having a FREE GAS sign on my directionals.  Just Looking for ideas that work. 

Aug 11, 2008 06:38 AM
Peter Mann
Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue, WA
Peter Mann Seattle-Bellevue Real Estate Agent

Thank you for your input MeLisa :-) I am not happy to hear that you are not having any luck with open houses lately, but I am happy to hear that I am not alone :-) As for your idea about attaching a "FREE GAS" sign on your directionals, that would totally work in getting foot traffic through, but you would only be getting the free loaders who wouldn't even have the slightest interest in the house. I am sure they would do a great job pretending in order to get a free gas card though :-)

Aug 11, 2008 07:14 AM
Jerry Becker
Jerry Becker and Associates - Littleton, CO
Littleton, Colorado

I have to agree that traffic for open houses is way off this year.  The feeling among many of my peers here in Denver, is that we are at the bottom and appear to be heading up.  Now before some of you in other parts of the country think I'm crazy, you have to remember, we went into this slow down starting in 2003, when some of our current worst markets were booming.  We're starting to see figures showing that there is a firming of prices and slight increase in more local markets than before.  Once the press starts printing articles about how "we seemed to have hit the bottom and prices are heading up", I think open houses will again become a good investment in our time.  There are so many people sitting on their hands waiting for the bottom, that when they realize the bottom has passed, they'll be eager to make the move.

Aug 11, 2008 08:46 AM
Peter Mann
Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue, WA
Peter Mann Seattle-Bellevue Real Estate Agent

Thank you for your response Jerry. So Im not just imagining things :-) Whew...

Aug 11, 2008 10:28 AM
Laura Warden Nordin
Century 21 Camco Realty - Albuquerque, NM
30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate

Depends on the house and the location. I sold a listing straight out of an open house in April. Got an offer on another one straight from an open house in June (unfortunately, those buyers could not qualify )

Aug 11, 2008 11:15 AM
MeLisa Minter, Realtor
Minter Real Estate Services - Taylor Lake Village, TX
Bay Area Houston Real Estate Agent

Peter my husband said the exact thing about the gas card.  So I'll trash that idea.

Aug 11, 2008 02:27 PM
Peter Mann
Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue, WA
Peter Mann Seattle-Bellevue Real Estate Agent

Thank you for your response Laura. You must have luck that I have yet to experience :-)

MeLisa: Free gas is too expensive :-) Try free starbucks cards. That has worked for me in the past. Again, you will get all the free loaders, but hey, at least you are bringing traffic in the door for your client :-)

 

Aug 11, 2008 03:34 PM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

I have found that if the location is right, it will be worth your time, whether anyone shows up or not.  If it's in the neighborhood you'd like to do more business, your open houses will give you more listing power than any advertising will provide.  Listings, as we all know, bring buyers.

Aug 11, 2008 03:44 PM
Kristina Pratt
St. Louis' Illinois Suburbs - RE/MAX Preferred Partners - Edwardsville, IL
REALTOR - SFR - GoshenRealtyGroup.com

Peter,

I have had horrible turn out at Open Houses since gas prices went up last summer.  The few people I do get are usually neighbors, which isn't always a bad thing.  I think Open Houses are worth the time, as long as you have a plan to keep you busy while you are there.  I usually take the time to do follow up calls, e-mails, etc.  That way if no one shows up, at least I had a few hours to myself to work on my business.

Good thought about the Starbucks cards, though.  I might try that! :)

Aug 11, 2008 03:47 PM
Pam Pugmire
Silvercreek Realty Group - Meridian, ID
Meridian Idaho Real Estate

Peter~ I think it all depends on the listing.  If the home is new construction, then you most definitely need open houses.  If it is an existing home, I only do an open house if the seller really wants one.   Many times, the seller would rather not be bothered with an open house either. 

I always take my aircard to that I can get work done while I'm waiting for buyers to show up.....That way I haven't wasted my time. 

Aug 11, 2008 05:14 PM
Peter Hackett
HutHub Inc. - Oakland, CA
The National Real Estate Network, HutHub.com

Open Houses do not sell homes most of the time, but that is not to say they do not bring business.  A lead walks in every so often, it shows the sellers you will go the distance to market the home for them, and news of that will make it to their friends....and most importantly, it makes you highly visible to all the neighbors.  If there are neighbors milling about near my open house, I'll try to go and chat it up with them, drop flyers in mailboxes throughout the neighborhood, etc.  Definitely bring your laptop and get some work done if it just seems dead.

-Peter H.

Aug 11, 2008 08:42 PM
Dale Terry
Yadkinville, NC

I believe that our expectations are greater than reality.  If no one was going to open houses, then why would anyone be doing them.  We don't care that others are saying the same thing, we just promise the homeowner one or two when we list.  Is it logical to have an expectation that people will come to your open house and due to time constraints, not to others?  Why do we all do it on Sundays?  Why not Wednesday or another day of the week.  By all of use doing the same thing, we position ourselves for less results.

Aug 11, 2008 11:49 PM
Peter Mann
Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue, WA
Peter Mann Seattle-Bellevue Real Estate Agent

Thank you Darla, Kristina, Pam, Peter H and Dale for your responses. I really appreciate all of your feedback. From what I have been hearing, it seems as if the majority is in agreement that open houses obviously do not sell homes, but they are great for self promotion. Dale, as for the days we hold our opens, I used to always do them on Sunday, but have changed to Saturdays. Have any other days in the week worked for you? If so, I am all ears :-)

 

Aug 12, 2008 03:57 AM