That little gem of a title contains neither my words, nor my opinion. It’s a quote from one agents response to a question on Trulia Voices this morning.
The question came from a home seller in Glendale, AZ who was in the process of interviewing six agents to list their home (which I might add, is a very smart thing to do. Nothing is magical about the number 6, but both home buyers and sellers should interview more than one agent). “S.M.” said they were frustrated at how little work agents were offering to do while expecting a “full commission”.
S.M. said (in part):
They do not want to do open houses, broker open houses, company caravans, tour new listings, showcase or feature my home, advertise in local paper or other means, will not personally show my home (I have to deal with buyers agents to set up showing and leaving my property) or any other effective marketing tools a professional Realtor will utilize.
Several agents immediately chimed in. Some were local Phoenix real estate agents. Others hailed from opposite sides of the continent with the ubiquitous offers to “refer a qualified agent”. Many opinions were proffered.
Here is what I originally had to say regarding open houses:
Open houses rarely sell homes. They are great at finding the agent buyer clients, but the chances of someone buying your home through an open house are remote. You’re opening your home to total strangers, and hoping no one rifles your medicine cabinet or is staking out the goods to rip off later.
Shotgun marketing vs. laser focused
Many agents realize this. Others seem to believe in “shotgun marketing” ”” throw everything including the kitchen sink and open houses at in the dim hope that maybe a person serious about buying will be driving by, see your sign, and stumble into their dream home waiving an offer.
Heck, you might as well post flyers on all the palms trees on the corner. You never know when someone is going to be stopped at a red light, see your flyer and jot down the number so they know where to send the offer.
Our title quote came from a local agent who also had this to say:
I know you have probably been advised to use one of the bigger agents, there are pros and cons to that. The pro is that they get more leads, the cons is that you get less service. The bigger agents tend to list your home on MLS and that’s pretty much it.
Yes opens rarely sell homes, and broker opens are mostly for agents to get together to network. Print ads have little efficiency. That does not mean that they should not be done.
Another very important thing to look for in a listing agent is that this agent has showcase membership on Realtor.com. Realtor.com is the most important advertising channel there is. . .
And of course my favorite: “The agents that say they don’t sit opens is in my opinion lazy and they use the excuse of “open houses does not sell a house”
My intent here is not to slam this agent. She is free to run her business as she sees fit, and use whatever marketing techniques she deems worthy. Oh, I’ll freely admit that I don’t appreciate, one iota, being called lazy by someone that has no idea how I run my business nor any clue about my work ethic. And much of the conversation in this thread reminded me of our current elections, complete with candidates/agents pandering, groveling and slinging mud at their opponents rather than focusing on what they have to bring to the table. That is pathetic, but not really the point here.
The point is, it is exceedingly rare for an open house to result in a sale of that home. Of course it happens. You could also try dropping leaflets from an airplane or sky writing too. Plaster your face on bus bench while you’re at it. All of these could in theory land a buyer.
I don’t have any empirical data to support just how rare it is, but there is certainly a boatload of anecdotal evidence that supports very few homes are sold at open houses. It’s quite possible that the number of people casing your home for future burglary (if not outright theft of your belongings AT the open house) outnumber the direct sales figures.
In my experience and in discussions with dozens of other agents, the overwhelming consensus is agents hold open houses for two major reasons: 1) to find buyer contacts and build their lead database; and 2) to appease their sellers.
I prefer to find buyer clients and build a prospect database sitting in my house, not dressed up and sitting in your home, tapping into your network while baking bread so the house smells good. I’m not terribly found of dragging A-frame open house signs across the neighborhood tying balloons to them and wondering if some punk is going to steal them. Open houses are a pain in the posterior for the sellers too, as to do it right, they need to clean the home. lock up or nail down anything that can be stolen and vacate the premises for hours, usually on a weekend. Why? So I can find some clients ”” for me.
Personally, I’d rather target my marketing efforts to find serious qualified buyers looking for the kind of home we are selling. Print ads, broker caravans and open houses don’t fit that model.
This doesn’t mean I’m better than the shotgun marketers. It doesn’t mean they “suck” or are inferior agents. It just means we are different. If you are a home seller and you want an open house, talk to us. The odds are overwhelming that we won’t hold an open, but there are always exceptions. Depending on the home, and more importantly certain location factors such as traffic flow, there may be some times where holding open houses makes sense. In every case, you will know up front exactly how we plan to market your home.
But unless you’re a licensed pilot, you can absolutely forget about the sky writing thing.