We wrote a little while ago about the benefits of our dual open house strategy (see that post here: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/dual-open-houses-great-strategy-sellers/ ) and here is a follow up piece with a few more thoughts on this topic and real estate open houses in general.
Motivates buyers to book a showing:
Quite often we find that buyers will choose to book a showing in advance of a scheduled open house. This may be just a matter of scheduling or it could mean they want to get in early to take a look at the property and potentially get first crack at it. Getting buyers in to the property is always a worthy goal and we do believe that the scheduling of an Open House does spur other buyers to get in to see it asap.
Aggregates showings and saves seller time and trouble: Buyers will schedule a private showing at random times throughout the day and in our hot sellers’ market, this can mean a lot of private showings on a daily basis. So much so, that some sellers even vacate their properties for the first 3-5 days to allow the buyer/showing frenzy to happen without totally upsetting their lives and schedules. By scheduling an Open House, some of these buyers may choose to attend that event, rather than booking a private showing thus alleviating the need for the seller to vacate the home. (and making sure it is clean and tidy when the do)
This really works well for families with small children or pets that can spend less time tidying up for multiple showings and also removing pets.
We get feedback:
When we get a chance to chat with buyers about the house or hear their comments to one another, we are getting valuable feedback for our own knowledge and for the sellers. What do the buyers really like about the property? What don’t they like? When we here the same things consistently, it helps clarify where the property and price fit in the marketplace and may help us tweak our marketing strategy for the sellers. If all buyers have a similar issue or concern then it helps us build a strategy to overcome that objection and/or discuss remedies with the seller.
We get to know our product better:
Even though we may know the property quite well, the more time we spend there and the more feedback we receive-the better we fully understand the property. After all, in most cases, we may get a couple of 10-15 minute tours through the property with the owner which is certainly not enough time to commit every detail to memory or notice the level of details that buyers may wish to have explained. We often find little things that a seller can do as a result of our time in the home during an Open House. We can often find corrections to listing information that may been incorrectly supplied by the seller or through a typo on listing input. Ie the age of a furnace, air conditioner, windows or some other important system or component.
Events drive activity and greater activity usually means more sales opportunities:
Open houses are great events for a listing agent to advertise around and focus their marketing efforts to gain the best possible reach and exposure. Because there is a time deadline, it should focus those potentially interested in the property to have a good look at it.
Even if they are unsuccessful, they still work:
Huh??? We have had a lot of blockbuster open houses that result in multiple offers and sales and we have had just as many that are total duds. As a listing agent, there is nothing worse and more boring than feeling like the Maytag repair man for a couple of hours on a weekend afternoon when no one is coming to see you! After spending time and money in scheduling and prepping for the open house and getting the sellers to vacate for 2 or 3 hours and investing one’s own time, it can be more than annoying when the turnout is poor.
It really does force one to have a good look in the mirror, though and a critical look at the property as well. If one is getting good online activity and reasonable private showings then one should get decent open house turnout as well. If not, one has to assess how well the event was advertised/marketed and if the listing, photos, presentation and pricing on the property are correct.
The more focused activity early in a listing should bring great attention from buyers, since the listing is new and they have not seen it before. If hundreds or thousands are looking at the property online but not booking private showings or coming to an Open House, then there is some kind of disconnect. Buyers are not seeing enough appeal or value at the price level to take the time to come and see the property in person which is not a good sign. It does however, give us some good comparative data and perhaps some feedback from buyers who did view the property. On that data and feedback, we can often have important discussions with sellers or amend some portion of our online presentation, marketing or pricing.
Other open house types:
Some listing agents have had success with the “neighbourhood” or “ commuter” open house. These may be along the “sneak peek” marketing line and advertised locally. The commuter open house will typically run 5-7 PM when buyers can pop by on their way home from work and typically occur very early in the listing when it appears it is a good first chance to see the property.
The oft flaunted “Brokers’ Open” one sees on HGTV or Millionaire Listing tv shows, is rarely practiced in our market. (talk about the Maytag repairman!)
Use of open houses can be a contentious topic:
There are quite diverging opinions on the value of open house marketing, with some realtors being strongly opposed to their use. Just look online and you can find dozens of articles on why sellers should never consider holding an Open House. We feel completely the opposite, of course, but the bottom line is that sellers can make their own choices and if they don’t see the value then of course, are not required to hold one.
We have many thoughts on why these other Realtors so strongly “DIS” open houses and we will cover these in a future post. Plus “How so many Realtors sabotage their own open houses”, coming soon!
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
Ottawa, Canada 613-435-4692 firstname.lastname@example.org