Open Houses: What Good Are They?
While Hadley and Sally are driving to the next house on their open house list, let’s take a moment to look at the concept of an Open House.
As entertaining as they are for the neighbors who invariably show up to nose around, what benefit do they provide in the marketing of homes for sale? Our opinion is that public open houses (as opposed to open houses held for agents when the house is first listed) are an outdated concept.
Open Houses are Definitely Not the Right Way to Buy a House
In 1995, only two percent of home buyers used the Internet to look for a home, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Now over 90 percent of home buyers shop online.
Although buyers today can see the home online, seeing a home in person is always preferable. But arranging to see it at a private showing with a knowledgeable agent is leaps and bounds better than walking through an open house with all the neighbors, or having the listing agent overhear what you want to criticize or suffering through being “guided” through the home.
Open Houses Are Not the Way to Sell a House
Many Realtors® now refuse to hold open houses, considering them a misuse of time. They believe that public open houses rarely generate serious buyer prospects and can result in theft or inappropriate snooping. I once saw an unattended young child break a valuable piece of glassware at an open house.
If pressed, most listing agents would admit that the main reason to hold public open houses is to find new clients. They either want to represent the shoppers in a dual capacity on the sale of the home they are showcasing that day, or, they would like to show the buyers other homes. Either way, there is no benefit to that seller. Under the first scenario, the agent has a reduced duty to the seller and under the second scenario, they have a conflict of interest. So open houses are good for one thing: getting new clients for the listing agent. Hmmm.
Smart sellers know that the qualified buyers who are serious about buying usually have their own agent. Those agents have already screened out the houses that are not appropriate or have issues. So the buyer is much more likley to be a “fit” if they are coming for a private appointment with their agent.
Open Houses are Not the Way to Find an Agent
A potential home buyer who chooses an agent sitting at an open house has missed a tremendous opportunity to make an informed decision about a professional that may have a huge impact on his or her financial health. If the agent is representing the seller already, there is a conflict of interest that, while legal, is inadvisable. In addition, the skills that make a good listing agent are not the skills that make a good buyer’s agent. Buyers today have the additional right to select a special type of buyer’s agent who only represents buyers: an exclusive buyers’ agent. This ensures no conflict and the help of a professional who specializes in all the issues that buyers face.
To avoid the problem of public open houses when buying a home,use the services of an experienced, trustworthy exclusive buyer’s agent. Sage Realty is one of the ONLY exclusive agencies in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Even if you are buying in another market, ask us to refer you to the best EBA in that area. If you are a first-time home buyer, your fears will be eliminated. And if you have bought a home before, you will have a completely different experience. So Contact Sage today!