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Are open houses really a thing of the past?

My house has been on the market for a little over 3 months, and we are surprised that we haven't had a bite. My realtor said the house looks perfect and is priced fairly, but thinks there's just too much competition in my neighborhood. I suggested an open house and she really balked at it. She said she'd do as many as I liked, but said it wouldn't sell my home faster. She said they are unsafe and lead more to robberies than house sales. She also said we would need to remain there with her, if we did want to do one. She also wasn't available the weekend we were hoping to do one, and suggested we do it on our own, and she'd list it. I am willing to do what is necessary to sell my home, but wondered if it was worth my time, or recommended. Thanks for any input! 
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August 10 2013 - US
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Answers (54)

Open houses are sometimes affective and sometimes not.It depends on the market. In a hot seller's market there is no need as the home will sell itself if priced and marketed correctly. In a buyer's market a listing agent needs to use every tool possible to get the buyer to submit an offer on their listing and not the one next door.
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September 19 2013
Open houses do not sell houses.

I would not want you there during my open house.  If your Realtor is afraid tell her to bring her husband or a friend.  Usually my sister and I do them together.  If not we bring a Niece along who hands out information sheets and gets the buyers to register.

You run the same risk of exposing the property to would be robbers when Realtors show it.

It is a bad idea for you to do the open house on your own.
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September 19 2013
Hi,

Open houses are one of the pieces of the marketing strategy that bring traffic to your home. The general premise is more traffic leads to better exposure. and that leads to a quicker sale. If you remove one of the marketing strategies, you can still sell the house, but may be limiting your buyer pool.

All the best,

Arpad

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September 18 2013
I thought I had made my last comment but I guess not. I do have a woman on my open house team that will not do an open house alone. I fully understand this concern. As someone else mentioned, the agent could ask a co-worker to sit the open house as a partner.
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September 18 2013
Ask your agent is one of the other agents in her office would be interested in sitting it open.   True they can be dangerous - make sure to put valuables away.   Suggest agent hold open with lender. 
Open houses are great though rarely do they actually sell the home.
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September 18 2013
I feel open houses are very important for exposure and for potential Buyers to see it. If your Realtor is concerned about her safety at an open house she can have someone there with her so she is not alone. It is not suggested to have the Seller at the open house as it makes it uncomfortable for the Buyers to be able to view and comment on it freely.  Hope all works out for you.  
    
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September 18 2013
With so many people on the internet, open houses have become less of an attraction. Why go there when you can rule something out based on pix, video's and google map street view to navigate the street and neighborhood
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September 18 2013
When these 4 things are in perfect balance, a house will sell: Price, Terms, Condition and Location.

For an agent, the only thing they may be able to alter is Price & talk about condition. For an owner, the things they can adjust are Price and condition and sometimes Terms: offering financing, quick move in, etc. If your home is priced the same as your competition and nothing is moving, you may need to lower a little. Another tactic to try is to offer something of value to the buyer who buys at full price: a trip for 2, a new lawnmower, etc. "Buy this home and receive a brand new Lawnmower at closing! (conditions apply)"

Open houses are most effective for agents who need more buyers and sellers. They hope to capture the people who attend as clients. The open house signs are also free advertising.  I've sold maybe 4 or 5 homes over the years to people attending that specific home's open house. I've held tons of open houses. I've put up multiple signs in dangerous traffic situations in rock hard ground and arrived, less than fresh, to open houses that attracted nobody only to go and collect all the signs a few hours later.

In hot markets with lots of buyers, open houses are more effective than in slow markets where nobody is out looking. They are also more effective in an area with lots of traffic nearby that can be directed to the house with signs. My city has a population of a little over 150,000. I could well imagine how futile open houses may be in small towns during a slow market. As agents, we occasionally hear of another agent who was raped or worse in an open house or while meeting clients at a vacant house. These are very scary prospects.

Hopefully, some of this information helps.
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September 18 2013
It's like this it is going to matter or it isn't ... you don't know so when your client asked you to hold one you should.

I remember when I was way younger and my first job was a grocery store. Boss said that if someone asked you 'do you have a particular item' even though you know we don't...say to them ' I'll go check and see.

It's called doing the right thing, when I drive up to a house that is falling down to do an estimation, I don't turn around...I give that customer the same respect as my high end clients.

And if I have to work on the weekend..which is the time most people (potential clients or buyers in this situation) are not working and can take the time and actually look at a home they maybe interested in.

We went on all of our road trips on the weekends, would we have went to an open house on a property we had been interested in?  we did.

It doesn't matter if you say I will do it then turn around a give your client a negative statement making them feel you don't really want to... I would have fired the agent also.
-Joseph-
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September 18 2013
Hello,

The reality is that most flyers, open houses and signs are design to attract the interest of neighbors, curious people in the neighborhood and some times prospect buyers. However, 14 out of 15 people visiting your home during an Open House and than realized that your home is not for them or is not exactly what they are looking for.

I am certain your Agent/Broker is an expert in your area, a very Successful and knowledgeable Realtor. But may be the techniques, marketing strategies or price may not be the appropriate for your home. In the past I've noticed that some Realtor just send random information to random people and seldom create an individualized strategy for each property they have for sale; it is like shooting thousands of bullets to hit a single target. Random open house will bring random people to your home, a strategic open house will bring the right people and traffic you need to sell your home.  

I hope your home sells soon and that my comment was somewhat helpful.  
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September 18 2013
Open houses rarely sell homes.  It sounds to me that, although your agent says your home is priced "fairly", there is some element of the mix that is wrong.  If there is too much competition in your area, and you have not gotten a bite in 3 months, perhaps your price is a bit high.  Sometimes just adjusting below a "threshold" number - such as $249,900 rather than $255,000, or $199,900 rather than $210,000, will give you that edge since agents often search in increments of $10K, $25K, or $50.  Have you asked anyone other than your agent (who might a close friend and might betrying to be kind) to be objective in telling you how your home looks AND smells?  Have you asked your agent for her honest professional opinion about appearance and odors?  Are you de-cluttered? 
If your home is not selling on the open market, it won't sell at an open house either!
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September 18 2013
Typically homes don't sell on an Open House. However it can be a positive thing for the seller to have buyers come through and give feedback both regarding the house and the price. What you do with the feedback is of course of to you and how you want to proceed but sometimes if the Open House is well attended its nice to get the exposure and know what others are thinking. Best Of Luck!
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September 18 2013
One more thought. It sounds to me like you wanted your agent to hold an open house. That is the bottom line here.
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September 18 2013
An open house will not sell your home. With the internet any buyer that is looking for a home in your area and within your price range will see your home and make an appointment if they want to take a tour. Pictures and virtual tours are all important and most buyers will not look at a listing without pictures. Quality pictures will get the buyers to make an appointment to see the property.
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September 18 2013
I agree that it depends on the market and the specific scenario of that listing. Sometimes they are needed and other times not. I don't think they are a thing of the past though. That implies that people are phasing out open houses for good. 
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September 18 2013
Hello. It sounds to me your agent is either way to be busy or just does not want to put in the foot work to sale your property. From experience with my clients I would have to say that open house's are beneficial to your home because it gives it attention and also because it can make it easier for potential buyers to come and look at the property if their agent is not able to get them in to see it during the week. Also, I always recommend that my sellers are not at the open house. If they choose to be there thats okay, but I am a get it done agent and I do all that I can do to make sure my clients sell their home for what they want so I always tell them I am able to hold the home open on my own (it is part of my job as their agent). If your home does not sell soon, maybe you should think about going with another local agent thats willing to give it all they have. Good luck!  
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September 18 2013
I'm back to say once again that for me, open houses are for now. By doing a day where you invite neighbors they may very well know someone who likes the neighborhood already and has been waiting for your home to come on the market. Also, if the agent is doing digital and internet marketing, they are going to market that open house, and therefore your listing, on their Facebook page, their YouTube channel as well as the MLS and many other sites online.

Hope this helps.
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September 18 2013
Just to sum up what opinions have merged here and offer my two cents, Open Houses can be beneficial to both the home seller and the agent.  The Open House gives more immediate exposure to potential buyers by allowing buyers to view the interior without having to schedule a showing AND if the agent is possibly looking for buyers in general it gives them the opportunity to interact face-to-face with buyers.  However, as many listing agents are not looking to work with buyers, they will not see an open house as a real opportunity to gain new business.

Hope this helps..
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September 18 2013
I have been having some great open houses lately, they are definitely not a thing of the past! One thing I like to do is to highlight the features of the house... For example... if the house has a gourmet kitchen, ask the seller if you can host a cooking class in their kitchen to promote that specific feature of the house!
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August 28 2013
Good luck with your new agent and the sale of your home!
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August 28 2013
Be sure to let me know when you are ready to market your house again. If I am out of the area I'd love to help you by referring you to a Realtor locally.

Good luck.
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August 28 2013
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Thanks for the all the great input from everyone! We have decided to take our home off the market for a while, and start over with a new and more motivated agent! Thanks again.....
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August 28 2013
Open houses are a great way of marketing your property if done properly. Your agent should blanket the neighborhood with marketing flyers for your home and knock doors letting the neighbors know your home is for sale and ask if they know anyone interested. Yes it will possibly help them with their business but there could be a home owner that knows someone interested in moving into the neighborhood and is fully unaware of your home for sale a few streets over. 

In this market especially where I am from, San Diego, some agents think they do not need to do open houses because homes are selling quickly by simply pressing enter on the keyboard and submitting them on the MLS. A good agent will market your property to as many people as possible and increase the chance of your home selling for the highest price possible

If you want open houses tell your agent you want them hosting open houses. If they refuse get an agent who will work hard to sell your home and market it aggressively and not make excuses. 
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August 27 2013
Open Houses are for agents to find buyers. It would be very rare for someone to walk into an open house and buy it.
The people showing up at open houses probably don't have a broker and are early in their buying process.
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August 27 2013
NO! Open houses are a thing of the NOW. I hold an open house almost every week. Usually Friday and Saturday afternoon. It's another great marketing tool along with online marketing and video marketing.
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August 27 2013
I feel the decision of whether or not to hold open houses is a matter of personal preference and typical practices for your area.  In Nebraska open houses are very common.  It is true that the chances of selling your house off of an open house is not very high but it does happen.  The idea with many agents doing many open houses is to create buzz, get buyers out into the neighborhoods and allow agents to network with potential buyers.  This way an agent in an open house that does not match for would-be buyers can connect with them and bring them to your house later if it is a better match.  Real estate is still very much a people-oriented industry and cannot be done by search engines alone.  There is always the concern of theft with strangers walking through your home so it is vital to have anything of importance locked up.  I always recommend being "half packed" with anything of value or importance stored safely in totes in the garage as thieves are not going to take the time to rummage through totes during an open.  If it is safe to do so, I highly recommend open houses.
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August 27 2013
user3934168,
I was not saying your post was derogatory towards Las Vegas. My comment was directed to Pasadenan who stated' "We all know the primary reason Las Vegas exists is to bankrupt the people that go there, and to be a haven for organized crime."
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August 27 2013
Open houses are usually not effective for selling your home.  A lot of agents hold an open house to pick up new buyers.  Sounds like you may need a new agent since she's not available on the weekends.
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August 27 2013
Your original post was posted in the "U.S." section. No city was selected and your post didn't specify a location. That is why you are getting responses from all over the country. I was not saying you are located in Vegas, I was simply giving input about the topic from my market.
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August 27 2013
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I don't know why I've received comments on Las Vegs market, I live in Pittsburgh and didn't mention Vegas in any way, derogatory or positive. thank you. 
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August 27 2013
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