Are Agent Open Houses a waste of time?

I've been highly successful in real estate for well over 20 yrs.  Over the past several years (the bust years) agent open houses (agent tours) have appeared to become the absolute focal point of many agents' marketing plan.  I think they are totally useless.  They have always been around, and I don't they are harmful.  But, IMO they are a perfect example of the kind of useless junk we do strictly for the purpose of making sellers think we are doing "something."   This type of "something" often then morphs into things we as agents feel we must do, forgetting that it really has no effective purpose.  I think these things have no value.  What do you think?
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January 12 2013 - US
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I believe that agent open houses are important when a property is first listed. I schedule time to attend these every week so that I am fully aware of the condition and property of every home on the market in the areas I cover. The visits save me the trouble of having to make appointments with individual agents to preview properties before my client showings later. I try not to take clients to properties I have not previously seen. In addition, viewing house photos on the Internet is not enough to determine value differences when preparing a CMA for a new client. When I have a listing I want all agents to have the opportunity to walk through my client's home and give me honest feedback so that the home owner may make adjustments or repairs before the client showings start. When I schedule public open houses, my office advertises in surrounding "move up" communities and we get many showings on those days.
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January 12 2013
I tend to agree with you Whit, attendance to broker open houses has steadily decreased over the years. Agents don't seem to be that interested in the average priced home even when a lunch or dessert is served. They do seem to show for multi million dollar homes in the evening when you offer wine and a light snack. But sometimes brokers or top agents will show at a broker open in an attempt to recruit new agents.
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January 12 2013
It will be somewhat dependent on your market. When I was selling in Virginia in a normal market like most of you are in we had office tour day and many agents had broker open houses. We would go see any new listings in the office and pop by a couple broker opens for lunch or a snack. It was a great way to see a few new homes, meet other agents and get to know a new area.

Here in the market where I am now we don't do office tours, buyers have to come in for a few days or a weekend and agents don't have or go to open houses, or very very few will try one to appease a seller. I once had a broker open where I offered a $15 gift certificate to a local pizza place where it would buy a large pie. Not one agent came in the 4 hours I had it open. I never did that again. It just depends on your market.

I guess the bottom line is what would you be doing if not having a broker open? If your answer is fishing or watching tv then maybe the broker open is not so bad of an idea.

tim
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January 12 2013
edited because I thought this was for open houses in general.

I think broker open houses are positive when first listed because it puts the home in the brokers mind.  I truly think that an agent is more likely to sell something they have been in and not just seen online.
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January 12 2013
Only use I see in open houses is to make the client happy.  They see others doing it, so they expect it.  I had one client that would not sign with me unless I aggreed to do an open house every weekend. 
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January 12 2013
This was about Agent or Broker opens, not standard open houses.
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January 12 2013
What is probably more relevant to day is using electronic methods like 'Network 1' which is a proprietary product used by my broker. The property is pre listed and the information is available to all agents within the company.

I became disenchanted with broker opens when more and more agents merely provided lock box instructions for agents to preview the home. In other words, they wouldn't even show up for their broker opens - which really defeats the purpose of doing a broker open.
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January 12 2013
I like the free food.
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January 12 2013
@ Vince

I use to have an agent in my office who decided which house to preview based on whether food was offered. Hey, a free lunch is a free lunch!
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January 12 2013
I think any chance to interact with a potencial client is worth it.

There has to be a method to the open house. I usually start, by door knocking in the neighborhood a few days before the open house to let people know the home will be open. Of course most of my traffic is from people who already live in the area. Some of them come out because they want to know what the home is selling for, as they too want to sale in the new future. This gives me a chance to chat with them and perhaps become their listing agent.

Open houses also show your seller you are ACTIVLY trying to sale their home , and not simply relying on the MLS to bring in potencial buyers.

Not to mention, once in a while you may pick up a buyer at the open house :)

Kawain Payne, Realtor 
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January 12 2013
I agree. Agent open houses are useless.
Public open houses are open to everyone. The agents can see it then if they think they have an interested party.
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January 12 2013

I think agent open houses work best in certain areas of town where agents have a very specific local expertise, and perhaps less well in large cities with numerous suburbs and an abundance of realtors. If you live in a smaller town with a more captive agent audience, agent open houses work well if you can get high attendance. I think the hardest part is getting the agent attendance given that agents are busier these days and can schedule our own private previews for a house that might work for a client. In other words, providing free food to agents who have a light schedule doesn't support the purpose of holding an open house.

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January 13 2013
It seems like it's nothing more than a place for agents to get free lunch and socialize in my opinion.  We show homes based on our client's requirements.  Whether or not an agent holds a broker tour makes little ddifference. 
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March 19
To me, an Agent Open can provide a good opportunity to 'network' with other agents, although most agents are so busy juggling their own listings and trying to satisfy their own clients by moving their own properties. To me, you shouldn't have to clobber agents over the head with your new listing by holding a broker open.  "If" they have a buyer whose looking in the area of your listing, any agent worth his salt (and knows how to read the MLS) SHOULD know it's there.   
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June 17
Very few homes get sold via the open house.  They benefit the agent much more than the seller in my opinion.  Agents can still pick up buyer leads, but that doesn't sell the home. 
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June 18
 
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