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Should You Have an Open House or Not?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

 

One of the most frequently asked questions I have from my new sellers is about the value of open houses to their sales process. I know that may of my colleagues argue this point from both sides of the question. I for one think they are invaluable and one of the most important things I can do for my sellers. Now don't get me wrong, I waste a lot of time on a lot of Sundays, but the vast majority of theses efforts yield the fruit. (Buyers!)

Now in reality, the open house that I do today may not yield the buyer for that house on that day. But often I will sell another house within current inventory to someone I met at the open house. The good news is that I also may sell this house from another open house held somewhere across town that produces a perfect buyer.

Agents that list a volume of properties in any market have an enormous advantage over agents that may only have one or two listings. The truth is that signs breed signs and signs breed buyers. So when my clients ask if I will sell their home from an open house I am very candid about the chances. My agents sell at open house s almost every weekend. They sell the homes they are sitting in, and they gain the confidence of buyers that are serious and active. The goal is sell them other homes in the market if the subject property does not suit their needs. I ask my sellers to be part of that process. It is in their best interest.

I have met many wonderful clients at open houses, some of whom who have become long time friends. Several have bought and sold many times. I have also met some professional open house shoppers. There is one lady in particular that I have seen in open houses in East Greenwich for nearly 20 years. She says she may sell and buy someday, but I'm not holding my breath.

Some people take open house shopping to a sport level. Half the fun of going to an open house for some is seeing how other people live. From their photos, to the decorating and trinkets littering their lives. People get decorating tips for their own homes, and dream about the next step up in home ownership. As an agent, I welcome all kinds of lookers. Who knows when they will buy or when they will become my next real client. I treat them all the same.

We have all met the crabby Realtor that pokes and prods and makes you feel unwelcome... Usually these agents will burn out early in their careers. Buyers, (and sellers), want to work with a friendly, knowledgeable professional that will work hard for them and keep all options open to produce the best possible results.

The benefits of doing an open house

Time is Valuable: Keeping your property Martha Stuart Ready can be near impossible, particularly if you have small children, pets or a lazy husband!. Attracting multiple prospective buyers by holding an open house that lasts one afternoon could result in fewer individual showings, resulting in less frequent last-minute preparation and staging.

Some Buyers have a fear of working with one Agent: An open house allows visitors a less intimidating way to view your home. Without a clipboard wielding Realtor hovering over their every move, potential buyers might actually get a better feel for whether they can see themselves living in your house.

You are not Martha Stewart: For most of us it takes hours to make a home look its best. If you have time to get things just right, your house can really shine – and you won’t be running out the door wondering whether you moved the dog bed out of the way or left the toilet seat up. An open house provides an opportunity to show your house at its best – a freshly manicured lawn, elevator music in the background, or a plate of cookies waiting on the kitchen table will make your home seem more welcoming and “homey.”

BINGO: Sometimes the stars and the moon line up and you attract buyers who weren’t actively looking or who don’t have an agent aiding in their home search. In my business, this is like the Holy Grail. This happens a lot more than you might think.

Strength in Numbers: "Yes, you get the nosy neighbors who drop in, but it's amazing how many people move to another house in their own neighborhood. You want as many advocates as possible for your home—co-workers, friends and neighbors", says Dean Benjamin, Top Producer at Prudential Gammons Realty.

The Judges: Open Houses will help us to get a feel for the amount of interest in your house based on the traffic. By talking to a variety of prospective buyers, we can elicit some feedback that could perhaps cause you too modify your listing. Perhaps buyers feel that your asking price is too high or that some key repairs could increase your home’s appeal, which is why this feedback is crucial.

 

This column is part of an ongoing sponsored content series with Prudential Gammons Realty.

 

Related Slideshow: 10 Great RI Houses That Just Came on the Market—March 13, 2014

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