Open Houses and Broker Tours
Often we are asked- “Do open houses really work?” Our confident reply is a resounding “YES”. We have sold 4 homes right from open houses, and plan to sell more in the future! If an open house has 10 people walk through- that is 10 more people that have been inside the property. There is a large pool of buyers who frequent open houses in lieu of setting appointments with their agents. Look at it this way- if an agent has 10 active buyers at any given time, and most of those buyers have the weekend off to look at homes, is it a reasonable assumption that the solo agent cannot show all sets of their buyers around to every listing the buyers might be interested in seeing as soon as they hit the market? Many of those buyers will hit up the open house to check the property out. This is a GREAT opportunity for your home to be seen, while another home on the market that is not hosting an open house goes unseen. Additionally, it can be a great opportunity to receive helpful feedback on the property. We advertise our open houses on the MLS, our website, the Long realty website, Trulia, Zillow and via social media.
Now, that being said— there are drawbacks to consider as well. The general public will be walking through your home, and if there are several sets at once it is difficult to maintain an eye on them at all times. Many of your neighbors (who you did not invite in while you lived there) will now be able to stroll right on through your bedroom and closet. Although theft can be an issue as well from people who target open homes, it's pretty rare. What we are seeing more of lately due to the opioid epidemic is people seeking out prescription medications that an owner may have left unsecured. (We will coach you to lock up all valuables, firearms and prescription medications during the time the home is on the market when we discuss showing parameters.)
Additionally, sometimes it is too much to ask of the seller. Perhaps they have children, pets, are infirm or there are other limitations or concerns. A seller need not panic if they feel that open houses are not for them. We do everything we can to blanket the market with your listing so it will be seen in a multitude of ways, and an interested buyer will make an appointment to see your home if they are quite serious.
Holding the right number of opens is also important. We recommend one or two at the beginning of the listing, and then assess things from there. Some neighborhoods just don't receive a lot of open house traffic, for whatever reason. Sometimes holding open houses in gated communities is difficult due to HOA's not allowing us to open the gate, or neighbors becoming angry that the public is coming into the gated community unaccompanied by an agent.
Broker tours are another route to take in certain cases. However, we have noticed that broker tours are declining in popularity with agents for a variety of reasons. In some communities (SaddleBrooke, for example) broker tours are still very well attended. There are a few different broker tours, and when we meet we can discuss if a broker tour would be of benefit, and when.
Again, no two properties or sellers are alike—so this is something we discuss with you and decide together on a case-by-case basis.