Massachusetts Public Open Houses Are a Waste of Time For Home Sellers

by Bill Gassett on February 28, 2010 · 32 comments

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Massachusetts Public Open Houses Are a Waste of Time For Home Sellers

Massachusetts Real Estate open house Yes… I am talking about the waste of time that thousands of Realtors continue to participate in week after week on Sundays in Massachusetts….THE PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE.

Let me rephrase that…A waste of time for the seller of the home.

This will probably come as a surprise to you but Nationally less than 1% of homes sell from a public open house!

In the majority of cases  serious buyers are looking at homes with Realtors. So who goes to open houses and why do Real Estate agents continue to do them? There are a numerous plausible reasons for both of these questions. 1st lets address who you can expect to show up.

  • Your neighbors – curiosity will be a driving force for many of the people on your street. You can also expect your nosy neighbor to be there to compare what you have in your home to theirs.
  • The “professional” Sunday open home looker – these are the folks that just like looking at homes. Homes after all are interesting…they all  have there own unique features. You can expect this person to just swing in for a quick look after seeing a Real Estate sign outside the home.
  • The Unqualified- This is one of the more common attendees of an open house. If you are selling a home for $500,000 you expect the potential buyers walking through to be qualified to spend $500,000 right? WRONG…more often than not the people walking through will be unable to spend the asking price. If there wasn’t an open house would you want your Realtor bringing people inside your home that are not qualified?
  • The “idea” person – this is someone that will walk through the open house to get “ideas” for their home. It could be any number of things such as  decorating, furniture, a granite counter color whatever. The idea person will most likely show up at the more expensive homes where there are things on a grander scale.
  • The “Robber” – although far less common than the above four, an open house is an open invitation for a potential robber to case your place prior to coming back to get what they want. There are also times where multiple parties could be in your home at the same time. It is next to impossible for a Realtor to have their eyes on everyone at all times. There could be a few parties on the 1st floor and someone else on the 2nd floor. Not good!

So why do Real Estate agents do public open house’s? There are a few simple reasons. Why do Realtors have a public open house

  • As an agent holding an open house chances are pretty strong you will meet one of the neighbors (see above). This is a great place to establish rapport for future business. Who knows, maybe a neighbor is thinking of selling their home in the near future. If the neighbor and the agent “connect” it could lead to future business in the form of another listing for the Realtor.
  • An agent could meet a legitimate buyer that can’t afford the home they are holding public (see the “unqualified” above) but may be a buyer at a lower price point.
  • Open houses give a Realtor the possibility of potential additional clients they can work with.
  • The seller insists on them! Most sellers will want an open house if they have not been educated by a good Realtor on why they are a waste of time.
  • An agent that doesn’t do much business will often “sell” this as part of their presentation to the seller during the interview process to get the listing. They tell the seller how wonderful open houses are and how much “traffic” will be coming through. What they don’t tell you is the traffic is of very low quality and that they are using your home as a place for them to capture new leads.
  • An open house is a quantifiable action that shows that the Realtor is making an effort to sell the home. There are lots of things that agents do behind the scenes to sell homes but this is the one that is physically apparent. An agent has to drive to the property set up an open house sign and man the property. A seller can physically see that the Realtor is making an effort.

Is it possible that you may get lucky and sell your home through a public open house?….Sure it is but don’t expect it. Again nationally, less than 1% of all homes are sold through a public open house.

I have been a Realtor for the last 26+ years serving all of the Metrowest Massachusetts area and towns further West. During my time in the business, I have sold two homes through a public open house. Yes you are reading that correctly just two! I have been involved in over a thousand real estate transactions during that time.

Is it any wonder that you see way more of the Sunday open house signs in a down market than you do when things are selling briskly….think about that for a moment.

When I meet with a perspective seller client I explain to them right up front about open houses and what they can expect from them. I explain that I do not personally do them, as I have other more productive things to do with my time. If a seller really wants one there will be someone in my office that will be happy to provide this service for me.

After all the agent isn’t foolish enough to believe they are going to sell my listing that day. They believe they will find a few clients to work with!

It is really silly to believe that a ready willing and able buyer is not going to schedule a showing on your property if they are really interested in seeing it.

There will be no lost opportunities if you do not hold your home open. When choosing to work with a Realtor pick one based on their credentials, past track record and their ability to bring real buyers into your home via their marketing efforts!

** It should be noted that an open house for new a new development is different than a re-sale home. Often times builders use an open house to showcase their homes and to provide an example of the type of homes they build including floor plans and construction quality.

Want to learn even more about why a public open house is not necessary to sell a home? How about seeing the one way you can actually set up a strategy to make an open house work in a hot market? Take a look at are Real Estate open houses necessary to sell a home. The strategy discussed will only work in an extremely hot sellers market as you need outstanding demand and little inventory. It is well worth the effort though if this happens to be the case in your local real estate market.

Other Real Estate articles  worth reading:

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Massachusetts public open houses was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at billgassett@remaxexec.com or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out ofmany Metrowest towns for the last 27+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, and Douglas.

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