After 19 years a a full-time real estate agent (Realtor), this question still looms in the industry.
I got into this business back when the only technology we had was beepers. And even then sellers insisted on me holding an open house.
Fast forward to 2019, and the same question is still valid: Do open houses sell homes?
Back then there was no other way for Realtors to attract potential buyers besides running ads in the newspaper, doing caravans, and open houses.
Even with the advancement of the 21st Century, the internet, multiple global real estate portals, such as Zillow/Trulia, brokerage websites, agent website, and more, I am surprised how many agents and buyers still believe Open houses sell homes.
Though it is not unthinkable to make a sale from an open house, I can say it is very unlikely. In my almost 2 decade career, I have only sold ONE home from an open house.
The reason I believe the odds of selling a home during an open house is so slim is due to the people who typically attend an open house.
The main reason for this thought process is most buyers who are serious about purchasing a home are working with a real estate agent.
These buyer will get new listings directly from their agent as new homes come on the market. Then the agent will take them out to look at homes and they get a private tour of the home.
Typically, by the time a property hosts an open houses, a serious buyer as already seen it.
There are still agents and sellers who believe that having an open house makes the property accessible to buyers and provide more exposure to the home, thereby increasing the chance of selling.
I don’t share that belief and here is why. Price, location, property condition and staging sells houses!
If you get the pricing wrong and the location is less than desirable to buyers, no amount of open houses will sell the property.
This brings us back to my earlier point about the tech age and the internet. Today’s buyers are well-informed and they can search new listings, see past sales on their local county property tax appraiser website, and more.
They are just as informed as the seller without having to actually come to an open house. If they are interested, they will reach out to their agent for a private showing based on their personal schedule.
Another reason open houses don’t work is that there is an over-abundance of inventory right at the buyers fingertips on a plethora of real estate websites.
For your home to stand out, it requires professional photography, video and other drone and aerial specs to capture that buyer’s attention.
Take a look at one of our marketing videos for an example of why we were able to sell this home directly from marketing, and not rely on the implausibility of an open house.
The next reason open houses don’t sell homes can be seen by looking at the typical attendee of an open house:
- Neighbors. In more populated communities, the neighbors will more than likely be the only people who attend an open house.
- Passersby: Curious people who are driving or walking by an open house sign may stop to look, but they are usually not in the market to actually buy a home.
- Future Home Buyers: These are usually your first-time home buyers who will start their home search by trying to find the right neighborhood and kind of house they might want to buy. They are simply out looking for ideas and location, but they are not prepared to buy now.
- Thieves & Robbers: All Thieves give an open house a thumbs up. They are there only to case out a home rather than to actually buy. You could be unknowingly inviting and welcoming a robber into your home.
At the end of the day, open houses do have some benefits, but its usually not to the home seller.
So, who benefits the most from an open house? The real estate agent.
Many Realtors hold an open house for 2 reasons:
- To build up our own business
- To make the seller happy.
As agents new customers are the lifeblood our our business, but Chuck and I believe in actually marketing the home our customers hired us to sell.
We don’t use their listing and home as a personal lead generation vehicle.
An agent hosting an open house will typically set up their real estate signs, sometimes with ribbons and helium balloons leading traffic to the property.
The agent hopes that neighbors will come by so that they can talk to the neighbors and find out when they may be thinking of selling their own home.
This will provide a lead for a future sale opportunity, but it does nothing to actually bring a valid and interested buyer to the home.
And if, a potential buyer does show up to the open house, the agent is hoping to impress the buyer to the point where perhaps, that buyer will want to work with that agent to purchase a home through the agent.
Its almost certain that the sale will be of a different home rather than the one holding the open house.
So, what’s the point of that?
When you are ready to sell your home, find an agent who does real 21st century marketing.
You want an agent who will build a story around your home and sell the lifestyle, essence and the reason you called it home!
Remember, buyers make a decision on emotion and pricing. So creating a story around your home is vital – not planning an fruitless open house.
Here is another example of superb story-telling marketing that delivered results and sold this home, which sat on the market with other agents for 2 years.
We listed it, made this incredible marketing video and sold it in under 2 months with NO open houses.
In conclusion, we, the Bortz Team, answer to the question – Do open houses sell homes…is a resounding “no”.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this subject and your experience with your own open house.
Post your comments below and join the discussion.