Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Are Open Houses Still Relevant?

In the not so distant past, open houses were a coveted piece of the real estate puzzle.  Back before the internet or even color pictures in the newspaper, open houses served a very valuable purpose.  Back then, it might have been the only opportunity for people to actually see your home.  One grainy black and white picture in the newspaper was never enough to make a sale -  folks needed to engage all five senses while in your home to really understand if it would be a place they could see themselves living in.  Outside of broker/agent showings, open houses were one of the most valuable tools to get your home sold.  Have things changed?

My opinion is yes, things have changed, but open houses still do serve a valuable purpose in today's real estate world.  With the advent of the internet, searching through homes has never been easier.  Most multiple listing services allow for up to 25 photos, so it's quite easy to get a grip on the condition and style of a particular home.  Virtual tours and YouTube videos literally place you within the home, so the question is, are open houses useful anymore?  Of course they are, but not in the way you might expect.

You may want to sit down for this, because it might come as a shock...ready?  CHANCES ARE YOU WILL NOT SELL YOUR HOME DURING AN OPEN HOUSE.  Shocking as that may be, it's true.  Statistics from the National Association of Realtors show that only about 3% of homes are sold because of an open house.  Although this might sound like a waste of time and money, let me describe how you can benefit from an open house and why it's still a great tool to use.

A home not might not sell because of an open house, but it's my opinion that open houses will lead to a sale in several tangible ways.
  • Increased Awareness - Just because your home might not sell at an open house doesn't mean people aren't noticing your home.  Your Realtor will likely have directional signs and some may even have streamers, flags and balloons drawing attention to your home.  Although someone might not come in for the open house, they're aware of your home, and might stop in for a showing within the next week.
  • Increased Feedback - While holding your home open, your Realtor will typically try to draw as much feedback as possible from those who come through.  Although these folks might not buy your house, their feedback is incredibly valuable.  Maybe they perceive the price to be a little high.  Maybe the home is lacking curb appeal or perhaps the color of the carpet is off-putting.  If there is repeated and resounding feedback, make a change.  This will lead to a sale.
  • Neighborhood Interest - It's my experience that a hefty portion of folks coming through your open house might just be interested neighbors or folks from the neighborhood who happened to be walking by.  They want to compare your home to theirs.  They want to know the price.  Neighbors are a gold mine for feedback, some may have the same floor plan and may make comments.  On top of that, these folks might have someone in mind, a friend or family member, who might be looking for a home.  If it impresses a neighbor, chances are you might have some follow up showings from people they know too.
Open houses aren't a thing of the past - they just need to be utilized differently.  You can't expect someone to come in with a contract in hand, unless you have an under-priced home in a super-hot market.  Think of open houses as just another tool to expose your home and create awareness, manage your expectations and a sale will come!

Jared Reimer is a real estate broker with Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Northern Colorado.  Real estate is his passion and he always wants to connect with like-minded and savvy real estate fans.  For more information or to get in touch with Jared, please visit his website at www.ReimerRE.com or email him at JaredReimer@ReimerRE.com

No comments:

Post a Comment