Do Open Houses Sell Listings?
Five years ago I would have told you that Open Houses are a great venue for Listing Agents to meet new buyer prospects but not that useful for Sellers. Scratch that. Because of the persistent low inventory, Open Houses have become a crucial part of the sales process and should be a key component of any listing agent's marketing strategy. While this might seem somewhat counter intuitive in the age of the mobile app, Real Estate is still a very physical business in the aspect of you have to go out and see properties in person. Really.
Over the years I have held hundreds of Open Houses and attended many more with my Buyer clients. I've met 1000's of people at opens.
Surprisingly, after all these years, the 3 most common questions I receive are:
- How long has it been on the market?
- Why are they selling?
- How much are the taxes?
But you can do better at Opens. A lot better.
Tip One: Watch the other Buyers
You can tell a lot about the activity and marketability of a home by watching the other buyers. If you observe a lot of people walking in and out quickly, the home probably has some issues. Are the buyers hanging around, asking questions of the listing agent and huddling in the corner talking to their spouses or partners? If so, it could be a sign this is a well-priced and “hot” listing. If you’re interested, too, observing other buyers at the open house could help you learn about the competition.
Tip Two: Talk to the Agent Holding the Open
Very important point. Find out if the agent at the Open House is the listing agent or just someone holding the house open for the listing agent. Either way they will do their best to try to make you their client or prospect and you will undoubtedly hear about off market pocket listings that may or may not exist. Just ignore the sale pressure. And no, the Seller is not really asking you to sign in, the listing agent wants to put you on their spam mailing list.
So once you get past all that and how long has it been on the market*, you should find out:
- Do they have any offers?
- When are offers being reviewed?
- Does the Seller need a long or short escrow?
- Does the Seller need a leaseback?
- Is there anything special in an offer (other than the highest price) the Seller is looking for?
- Are there any known issues with the property or surprises in the disclosures?
Tip Three: If It's Nice See it Twice
If you are truly interested in writing an offer go back and see the listing again either that day or if you went on Saturday go back Sunday. Yes I know you are busy.
There's been times on a few of my listings when we were looking at almost identical offers that I advised the Seller that certain Buyers came twice during the Open House which told me they potentially had a higher level of commitment than Buyers who were in and out in five minutes.
*your mobile app most likely tells you how long on the market.