Southern Maryland Best Buys


Open Houses: Stop Lying to Your Client!

The real deal!

There have been a flurry of recent articles about Open Houses. Some say they work, some say they don't. Here's what irks me: we have to define what we mean when we say "they work". My first year in real estate, in 2004, I sat at an Open House approximately 40 out of the 52 weekends. Not once did I sell the house I was sitting. Since then, I've garnered alot more experience and polish, but I still haven't sold an open house that I was sitting. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with open houses, per se, if you can be honest about their traditional, intended purpose: to get Buyer leads for the AGENT. I know that they can "work" for the AGENT. The agent gets to show his/her mug to the public and hopefully convert a lookie-lou or two into a Buyer. Most Realtors have probably done that, myself included. 

HERE'S MY PROBLEM: we as Realtors are perpetuating the myth, to our Sellers, that an Open House is an effective means of exposing their home to the market. It ain't. According to NAR, Sunday is the slowest day of the month for home sales and Open Houses are one of the least effective methods. Why are we combining these two abysmal statistics and saying that "it works" for Sellers? Why can we not have a very frank discussion with Sellers and teach them that time and money are better spent on ALMOST ANY OTHER form of marketing? I just don't get it. Unfortunately, there are still enough Sellers out there that want Open Houses that I end up doing them just to make 'em happy but I am very honest with them about the hidden, or the REAL, purpose of Open Houses. Are we so hard up for Buyers that we have to USE our Sellers in order to get leads? If you wanna get leads from an Open House, that's fine. But tell your Seller that that is what you're doing, that is why you're doing it. Don't lead them to believe it might sell their house when in all probability, it wont. Let's be honest with our clients, shall we? 


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Comment balloon 4 commentsCheryl Ritchie • August 27 2010 11:06AM


You are spot-on with this observation.  I have sold lots of houses to people I met at Open Houses.  Lots and lots of houses.  But, I have only sold the house I was holding open twice.

What I really want is for someone to tell me where in the US do agents use Open Houses as their primary marketing strategy the way it is shown in the real estate programs on HGTV.  I watch those shows and I wonder.  All I know is Texas and we certainly don't do it that way here!

Posted by Judith Abbott (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 9 years ago

Cheryl, I am sorry that you haven't sold any houses at an open house. I have sold quite a few actually.

 I find it useful for both finding possible new clients as well as showcasing the house!  In fact I love to get the feedback from the open house clients and take that back to the seller.  For some reason unbeknown to me, Selllers will take the direct negative feedback from the Buyers....but not from us the person they trusted and hired to sell their home!  That feedback helps with price reductions, getting clutter cleaned out, painting etc...

Hope you get to sell one of your own listings soon! It's fun ! Especially when those Buyers call a few years later to sell it again! 





Posted by Susie Lemons (Keller Williams, Tulsa OK) over 9 years ago

Susie, with new Construction they have worked great . I do them monthly on resales  when I do Seller updates but prepare the Seler for the real dedeal in our turf. I get quality time with the Sellers this way and no harm, no foul. In this rural area, Judith, I am with you on resales. It is a lead generator for the Agent and as long as my Seller clients realize this, no problem.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge over 9 years ago

I totally agree!  Tell them the truth!  Open houses are a way of generating buyer leads for the listing agents!  This post is right on!

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Maximum One Executive REALTORS®) over 9 years ago