Is it my imagination - OR - are we seeing fewer and fewer open houses being held open in the current market? Is this because there are more foreclosure properties that ever before with many of them not having utilities turned on? Is is because we have fewer new agents working in local markets while many of the experienced agents have turned their focus to prospecting referral leads from their existing and previous client base?
Whatever the reason . . . many agents are missing out of one of the easiest, cheapest, and more effective activities that can start or restart their real estate careers. Everyone touts the current market as a strong buyer's market with many tremendous buying opportunities. If so, agents should be seeking out open houses to sit and create the perfect setting for attracting those buyers that are really out there looking for existing bargains. Perhaps two or more agents work out a plan to sit multiple properties open in the same neighborhood to create even more activity and maybe even a friendly contest to see who can draw the most prospects. What a way to add buyers to your existing sphere of influence and build a good database of prospects for now and for the future.
Of course we always hear agents tell us that they have tried doing open houses and they don't work! We need to challenge these agents to look hard at how they are preparing for the open house. Are they canvassing the neighborhood prior to the Open House event? Have they sent post cards to the neighbors to invite them to the open house? Have the previewed and studied the neighborhood to ensure that they are so knowledgeable as to be the "expert" in that area? Do they follow-up with note cards or emails to those who attended? If so, the open house will be much more than just coming into contact with prospective buyers; it will result in more buyer-controlled sales than would otherwise occur.
This is exactly what we mean when we talk about "getting back to basics"! So have you agents spend a few dollars on open house signs - OR - dust off the ones they have not used in quite a while, and take on the day! Please let me know what your office is doing with open houses in this market. Also consider sharing with us some good results or unique situation that led to an unlikely sale.