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It No Longer Makes Sense to Hold Open Houses

Posted by Sherry Rioux on October 31, 2017
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Open House (2)

I was talking to a local OPP officer this morning about the topic of Open Houses. We both agreed that the need for them no longer exists with the advent of the internet.  There are many people who are likely to disagree so let’s take a look at the issue.

Who Attends?

While it is true that a bonafide, potential buyer may pop in, many of the other visitors are often just curiousity seekers.  They could also be people with not-so-pleasant ulterior motives.  Ask yourself, if you didn’t have your house for sale, would you spend a few hours cleaning it, open your doors to the public and wave people in off the street?  That’s essentially what you are doing with an open house. A serious buyer will find your home without an open house as almost all buyers today use the internet to search for properties and those who are serious, book appointments to view homes.

What Do You Know About the Visitors Who Drop In?

When the doors are thrown open to the public, anyone can walk in whether or not they are qualified to buy your home.  There is no vetting process to find out if they are pre-qualified for financing or if the home meets their requirements.  There may be a sign in form asking for their name and contact information but generally nobody is asking for ID to verify the information.

How Are Visitors Monitored?

Let’s say three parties arrive at about the same time to the open house.  I see this all the time. One set gets into a conversation with the agent who is present.  While the agent is busy, another party heads upstairs to check out the bedrooms and another down to the basement.  It is very difficult to secure the integrity and safety of the home and the owners possessions. While nobody wants to think it can happen, criminals could also be checking out the lay of the land so to speak, checking calendars for times owners may be absent, stealing valuables or even rummaging through medicine cabinets.

How Many Homes Sell From An Open House?

While it is not unheard of, the reality is that the number is very low.  And of those buyers who do view the house during an Open House, chances are they would have seen it anyway if it was within their search parameters. Serious buyers prefer to have private showings with their REALTOR® where they can have conversations about the pros, cons, pricing and other considerations of homes that may interest them.

I know agents who do open houses regularly and they do so for two main reasons: to appease the seller who thinks there is still value in them and, to potentially gain leads of potential new buyers to work with.  In my view, neither of these justifies the risks involved for both the seller and sales representative.

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