Profile picture for user3934168

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! 
  • August 10 2013 - US
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Answers (54)

Its a matter of opinion as to which agents you ask. They don't sell a house as a buyer usually comes from another source. However, I personally feel there is a right and a wrong way to do an open house. If she is going to insist someone be present at the open house with her, it would be better for her to ask that one or maybe two other agents be there to assist her. It's good for keeping track of traffic since there are more than one set of eyes there to watch what is going on. You have things you can be doing with your time, which is why you hired her, no reason for you to be present at the open houses. As to why your home has been on the market as long as it has while others have sold, there could a be a handful of reasons that may make all the difference if a few changes are made. However, right now, the price is the first thing one should inquire about. If anyone does come through, are you asking her to get agent feedback? That is important as well. There are a number of agents that can probably get the job done should you decide that another agent is worth a go!
  • August 22 2013
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Pasadenan,
 A property sitting for 3 months without a bite is not being marketed properly or is priced too high. This is not an accurate reflection of the current market's demand here in Las Vegas.

I understand your point about commissions being very low on some low end properties but I do not think that is the driving force for the decrease in open houses.

Your comments about Las Vegas in general being a place to "... bankrupt the people that go there, and to be a haven for organized crime." Is just ignorant and insulting. Neither of those factors have anything to do with the current real estate market or the decrease in open houses.
  • August 20 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
"My house has been on the market for a little over 3 months" "we haven't had a bite." -

That doesn't sound like "few days on the market" to me.

Everyone knows that if you have few DOM, you have either priced wrong initially, and/or you have a "desperate seller".

Price right, and the DOM will not be 15 days or less.

Of course, when houses are listed at only $25k, it is about how quickly an agent can sell them, not about what their client can net.  Their commission is not high enough to cover any marketing exposure, including open houses.

As for the desperate sellers?  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.
  • August 19 2013
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I would say yes, BUT still useful!  I am a newer agent and I have been able to get some buyers this way.  Great question!
  • August 19 2013
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Pasadenan,
In Las Vegas and Hendrson I would have to respectfully disagree. There is a definite decrease in Open Houses here as homes are selling so fast less and less agent/owners are holding Open Houses. As inventory continues to rise and DOM rises for available listings you will begin to see more Open Houses again in my honest opinion. 
  • August 19 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
There certainly is no reduction in the number of open houses, so it definitely is not "a thing of the past".

Correct, that it is not the primary method of marketing, nor is marketing the home the primary reason for having them.  But they do assist the neighbors in an area to know what it is like, and they often have friends or relatives that may be looking.

The bigger issue is curb-appeal, and the specific marketing strategies chosen.  Plus of course, pricing right the first time.

It sounds to me like you have selected an agent that doesn't have much experience in the neighborhood nor in marketing, and an agent that doesn't want to invest any time in selling your home.  It sounds to me like you need to talk to the agent and agent's broker about your expectations, and if not suited to your needs, terminate the contract and find another agent.

Yes, it is more work to shop for a good agent than it is to shop for a house; but it is also more important.

  • August 13 2013
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Open houses are sometime 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 correctly 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.
  • August 12 2013
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Profile picture for Michael Mei
My opinion is that having an Open House is a terrific way to drive traffic to the home in a efficient and effective way for both the Buyer and the Seller.   But I am a proponent of the listing Agent themselves holding the OpenHouse.  The listing Agent will be there to answer questions about the house etc.  For the Buyer...its an easy way and quickly see the home after having seen it online.= without having the need to schedule a showing with an Agent.  For the seller..it a scheduled time to be away from the house and allow the Listing Agent Marketing to drive as many folks to the house in a short burst.  net net...people have to see the home before they buy it.

And yes...please put away all jewelry and valuables and wath everyone as they walk out... 
  • August 12 2013
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Profile picture for Connie Klemme
have you asked your agent to do a broker's open and at the broker's open ask that visiting agents fill out a feedback form on the price and presentation of the home ?   you might simpy  ask.
do you feel the home is priced appropriately
do you have buyers looking in this price range
what obstacles do you see in selling my home
and some other questions.  This way you are getting feedback from local experts that might have some valuable insight.

open houses rarely sell to the person visiting the open house, they benefit the agent however, the more contacts an agent has the more sources of referral the agent has to other contacts that might be interested in your open house and there are some buyers out there that DO just go look at open houses because they don't want a relationship with an agent until they find the house they want.

it all depends on many details.  I've had open houses that felt like a total waste of time and I've had some where I sold the house to someone that came to see it.   Have you thought about just doing an open house yourself, or ask your agent if there is a newbie in their office that might want to host it, it might be good for them to pick up some buyers and who knows....it might sell.
  • August 12 2013
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We get this question often here in the Norfolk, VA area. The truth is over 90% of buyers are searching online for a home. Think about this: where did you go for advice? You didn't walk into a real estate office, you turned to Zillow to ask your question. That is indicative of the times we are in. Gone are the days of driving around looking for homes. Serious buyers can have their own personal tour right in their living room, so to speak.

That said, you should be comfortable and have a high level of trust in your agents ability and efforts. What is your agent doing to market your home effectively? Do they offer a marketing plan that is clear and concise? We believe that is critical to the listing process, and to the relationship between our agents and sellers. Paramount though, is pricing your home appropriately. It doesn't matter what type of marketing your agent has done. If it is not priced to sell, it wont. So, be realistic with your expectations, evaluate whether you have chosen a well educated agent and trust in their expertise. Remember, we want repeat business and that means making you happy. The more money you get for your home, the higher the commission. So, besides you,  there is probably nobody who wants your home to sell more than your agent!

Best wishes to you!

  • August 12 2013
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If you are not happy with your realtor, you can terminate your contract with them. You just have to let them know and get the form to fill out and sign to terminate. If you have concerns, talk to your agent. Markets change constantly so the agent may have felt the list price was on the mark and then some other sold properties posted and now feels the value has lowered. Just ask.
  • August 12 2013
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Profile picture for HighDesertAgent
Did I read that right - you have lowered your price only $2,000 every 30 days?  Why so little?  A price reduction should be much higher than that.
  • August 12 2013
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I do Open Houses almost every weekend.  I also host open houses for other Agents in the office that are unable to host them.  Rarely will you get an offer at the open house, however it does happen.  Open houses will increase exposure to the property (someone who saw it tells a friend, who tells a friend) and can lead to someone wanting to make an offer on the property.

If your Agent does not want to do it, have her ask a fellow associate to do it or do it with her.
  • August 12 2013
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Profile picture for user3934168
I appreciate all the feed back from my question! wow! We have dropped our price $2k every 30 days, as I have heard is about standard, and did have a showing every week-week and a half, until this month. I have noticed that there are definitely other homes in our neighborhood that are cheaper by $5-even $30k less, but the very cheap ones are in a crummier part of the neighborhood, or very old, or on a cliff. ours is none of the above, and I have been told shows very well, with good feedback. I am not excited about an open house now, so we will see! I am puzzled because the realtor was very confident of the comps when we listed the house, 2 weeks later suggested lowering the price (we thought, "already?") and recently told me there are a lot of cheaper properties nearby (this didn't just happen this week) If we list the price MUCH lower, we have no wiggle room. Don't people expect to offer a little less and negotiate? Makes my head swim!  We discovered our contract is for a YEAR, which I've heard is very unusual, or we'd try switching agents. Things ya wished you knew to ask when signing....Thanks everyone!
  • August 12 2013
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As a new agent, I LOVED open houses!!  I never worked as a dual agent so I always volunteered to do open houses for top listing agents in my office.  But the objective wasn't necessarily to sell that particular home!  The objective was first to get feedback for the seller (because while I was there, I was representing the seller), and to form relationships with prospective buyers who usually were looking for something entirely different and in another price range! 

You are not likely to find the perfect buyer for your home from an open house and regardless of where you live, there is always the possibility that someone with ill-intentions will be coming through. Remember, an open house that is open to the public means just that!  Unless you have a loan officer ready to run credit to willing buyers BEFORE they step inside your home (highly unlikely), you have no idea of knowing whether or not these "buyers" are even qualified to buy your home!

  • August 11 2013
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Female agents sometimes don't like open houses due to the safety factor. And yes, its rare to sell an open house to a client who just drives by. I did, though, but Im not sure if they would have eventually have seen it in the MLS or not. The buyer purchased the home via their agent.

Bottom line - If you home isn't selling, lower the price, its too high.
  • August 11 2013
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Did you hire a Realtor and list on the MLS with a coop to the selling agent or a discount broker that saves the seller money by not listing on the MLS and not offering a coop to the selling agent?
  • August 10 2013
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I still do open houses.  I use a feedback form and ask buyers to complete it honestly.  They do not have to sign it.  Helps track the public appeal for the sellers.

I'm wondering why the agent wanted you to stay with her when she did the open house.  Why does she feel it is not safe?  Do you live in a bad neighborhood?  The last thing I want is to have the sellers hanging around.  Buyers do not feel comfortable with sellers there.

It's a bad idea for you to do the open house yourself.  I never heard of such a thing.  I'd be afraid my seller would say something wrong, give up too much information or turn off potential buyers.  BAD BAD idea.
  • August 10 2013
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I agree with the rest, open houses benefit the agent more than selling the home. It is an opportunity for the agent to pick up prospects to sell or buy. 
Depending on where you live, it could be unsafe too. 
When competition is present, I think the best approach is to focus in how to be on TOP, perhaps paying higher commission, selling BONUS.
Pride of ownership when showing and having the right price also helps. Listing with a Real Estate Agent that has effective marketing campaigns, such as Zillow Premier Agents.   
I am not sure if open houses are a things of the past BUT in today's market having the right combination of tools is KEY! 
  • August 10 2013
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I believe in Open Houses.  The Internet is a great way for Buyers to have "an idea" of what your house is like but it will never replace walking in the door, feeling the space and "trying it on for size".  I speak with lots of analogies but it's true.  You as the Seller need to know the Agent is doing everything possible to get your home sold. When was the last time the price was reduced?  Just because the Agent thinks it's priced right doesn't necessarily mean it is.  If it's been on the Market for 3 months or longer and still not under contract, try another price improvement. As far as an Open House being "unsafe", have 2 agents at the Open House and never let people wander around by themselves. It's only an unsafe atmosphere if the agent allows for unsupervised prospects.  One last thing....you definitely do not want to be in the house during the Open House. It's the same reason why all personal photos should be put away.  People need to envision themselves in the house without another family staring at them. Best of luck and I hope these suggestions help.   
  • August 10 2013
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With the internet, open houses really are becoming a thing of the past and benefits the Realtor usually more than your house.
  • August 10 2013
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Profile picture for Outer Banks N C
Usually an agent does an open house for 1 of 3 reasons. Here they are in order of importance:

1.  to appease the owner to make it look like you are doing something to try and sell the house.

2. to find more buyers that you show homes to and sell them something.

3. to sell the house you are holding open.

Number #3 is a very distant third and it so rarely happens it makes 1 & 2 more likely the reason to do one.
  • August 10 2013
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Open houses, these days, may or may not work, a lot depends on how the open house is marketed. There is an Open House App on iTunes that may help you bring in more people who look on a smartphone for information. Zillow will also help with the Open House.

I think agents who do not do an Open House are missing opportunities, after all, the people coming through the house will either have a need to buy or sell a house at some point. Why not? Your agent must have so many sales and buyers, you may want to look for a new agent when your agreement is up, sounds like they are not the best match for you. Or, if your agent is a Realtor, ask for a new tool the Realtor Property Report on your house to show comps, the neighborhood and other data. Things can change in a neighborhood to affect pricing, he/she may not be aware of changes since the property was listed. They are free to create, only require the precious time of the Realtor...

Best of luck to you,
Liz
  • August 10 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Open houses rarely sell homes, so she's right.   Many agents do have open houses but they benefit more from getting more clients than actually selling the home.

Have you had people looking?   Have you had feedback?   Have you dropped the price.

  • August 10 2013
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