We are big fans of open houses, unlike many agents who tend to pooh-pooh their use. (That’s a topic for another day!)
We have found tremendous success for our sellers by using a dual open house strategy during the first week our listings launch. Here are some of many reasons this strategy works:
Facilitates access for buyers:
Buyers like open houses. It is an easy way to have a look at a property with a low commitment level, regardless of where a buyer may be in their purchasing cycle. Many buyers fall in to the “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it” category and may watch or browse the market for an extended period, before finding one that ticks all their boxes.
These buyers often “don’t want to bother their agent” and would probably not otherwise book a showing to see the property, without open house availability. Many buyers don’t wish to engage their agent until they are really ready to buy. Many an agent will get a phone call on Sunday evening or Monday morning, from a client who has seen a property at an Open House on the weekend.
We get to “sell” our client’s property!
The MLS® network is remarkably effective at putting buyers and listed properties together. One drawback is that as a listing broker, we rarely get to speak directly to a prospective buyer of the property, since that buyer contact is normally managed by another agent in the buyer representative role. So, while we can sell to the buyer rep, we rarely have the same opportunity to speak directly to the buyers. Open Houses give us that opportunity and who better to speak to our own listing than us?
Many open house visitors are quite cautious and reserved (wonder why that is?…we’ll have a post on that in a week or two) but generally speaking, the most interested buyers are very engaged and detailed in checking out the house. Many ask excellent questions too and it is a great time to field those questions and address any objections or possible misconceptions.
The better informed a buyer is and the more chance they have to investigate a property, the less the chance of a conditional sale falling through which is happening with almost frightening frequency in this hot sellers’ market.
We can get a read on potential buyers:
We can gauge interest levels by the amount of time a buyer or couple spend in the house. Usually, the longer the stay, the greater the interest. We can also often tell if one half a buyer couple is more interested than another. We can often get a feel for the buyer’s level of interest and key features that may come in handy at offer/negotiation time.
Buyers can get multiple chances to see the property:
Too often in our hot sellers’ market, a buyer gets to see a property once and then has to make up their minds about submitting an offer. This is leading to an unprecedented number of conditional sales falling through. By providing two additional chances to visit the property via our open houses, buyers may get a better feel for whether the property is the right one for them.
We even see some buyers twice when the visit both open houses, which is also a good sign that they are activity considering the property.
Buyers see level of interest from other buyers:
While we don’t intend to create a boiler room high pressure sales environment, (and we are not high pressure!) we think it is very much in the sellers favour for all buyers to see a house full of prospective buyers at an open house. This shows everyone that the house is getting strong demand and may help motivate them to make an offer and make a strong offer. The fear of loss and need to compete motivation of some buyers is tweaked when a busy open house is experienced.
Open Houses are very democratic:
We think open houses allow a wider cross section of buyers to consider the property and in generating more face-to-face visits to the property, we are engaging a larger cross section of the buyer pool. This is both fair to all buyers (not just the early-bird-gets-the-worm buyers and their agents) Many properties are publicized in advance of MLS® publication which often skews the playing field in favour of just a few buyers. While this may be good for those buyers and their agents, it is not necessarily best for our sellers. More exposure-more buyers should equal better and true market value in our opinion.
Best when holding offers:
Dual open houses are a great strategy when holding back offers, too. It gives Realtors and buyers ample access to see the property 2 or even 3 times and determine their level of interest and how they plan an offer strategy. Some may even choose to do a pre offer inspection which would help strengthen their offer.
There are a ton of other intangible benefits to dual open houses too but we’ll leave some of those for another post. Right now, it’s late Saturday morning and we have to get ready for our first Open House this weekend!
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Principal Broker, Ottawa Real Estate Board
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty 613-435-4692 firstname.lastname@example.org