There have been a flurry of recent articles about Open Houses. Some say they work, some say they don’t. Here’s what irks me: we have to define what we mean when we say “they work”. My first year in real estate, in 2004, I sat at an Open House approximately 40 out of the 52 weekends. Not once did I sell the house I was sitting. Since then, I’ve garnered alot more experience and polish, but I still haven’t sold an open house that I was sitting. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with open houses, per se, if you can be honest about their traditional, intended purpose: to get Buyer leads for the AGENT. I know that they can “work” for the AGENT. The agent gets to show his/her mug to the public and hopefully convert a lookie-lou or two into a Buyer. Most Realtors have probably done that, myself included.
HERE’S MY PROBLEM: we as Realtors are perpetuating the myth, to our Sellers, that an Open House is an effective means of exposing their home to the market. It ain’t. According to NAR, Sunday is the slowest day of the month for home sales and Open Houses are one of the least effective methods. Why are we combining these two abysmal statistics and saying that “it works” for Sellers? Why can we not have a very frank discussion with Sellers and teach them that time and money are better spent on ALMOST ANY OTHER form of marketing? I just don’t get it. Unfortunately, there are still enough Sellers out there that want Open Houses that I end up doing them just to make ’em happy but I am very honest with them about the hidden, or the REAL, purpose of Open Houses. Are we so hard up for Buyers that we have to USE our Sellers in order to get leads? If you wanna get leads from an Open House, that’s fine. But tell your Seller that that is what you’re doing, that is why you’re doing it. Don’t lead them to believe it might sell their house when in all probability, it wont. Let’s be honest with our clients, shall we?