Do open houses work in the Windsor real estate market? My opinion is that open houses very rarely turn into sales. As I have said, if they worked, then real estate agents would have them every day of the week. But in reality, the odds aren’t good.
Today, buyers find homes via their real estate agent, Internet, signage or a friend or relative, in this order. People that go to open houses are usually:
1. Buyers who are just getting started looking at homes.
Here, buyers who are getting their toes wet, will walk through a neighbourhood that may appeal to them, yet they just aren’t quite ready to commit to a real estate agent. They simply want to check what is out there, prices and what they can get for the money. Usually, these buyers have yet to be pre-approved and/or they need to sell their current property. Most of the time they aren’t quite ready to buy, but they want to know what’s available.
Neighbours always like to walk through to see what the competition has to offer. They like to see how a home is decorated, what the backyard looks like or if it’s worth mentioning to family or friends that a possible home may be available. Neighbours can be effective in trying to sell your property, so by all means, let them know that you are moving so they can pass around the word. Someone always has a friend that is looking for a home.
3. People who enjoy walking through homes.
Many people simply enjoy walking through homes. They usually have no intention to buy, but rather, get decorating ideas, or maybe they like the outside of a home and are curious about what is inside. Normally, they don’t even know anyone who wants to move.
4. People who are looking for a real estate agent.
The best thing one can say about open houses is that it is a great way for real estate agents to find new clients. These people will walk around, look at the house, but then ask many questions about the neighbourhood, and in a sense, they will interview us while seeing how we handle ourselves. They will examine our sales materials and often times, ask about other properties that may be in their price range.
Should You Have An Open House?
Many sellers insist on having an open house even it won’t sell a home. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable, as long as a seller doesn’t have high expectations. So then why have an open house if it really only serves as added exposure for agents and their firms as opposed to the actual property?
Chances are, you will spend lots of time cleaning your home and getting it ready. You will also need to leave for several hours. And because open houses are public events, there are lots of strangers that will walk through your house and they may not be escorted by a real estate agent should the open house be busy. Valuables will need to be stored away and sensitive material, such as bills or other financial information will need to be removed or put in a safe.
Your home will get exposure and you never know, your home may be one of the very few that may actually lead to a buyer. But again, as I tell my clients, don’t get your hopes up. Open houses are generally more helpful in markets with low housing inventory and high buyer demand.
Instead, have your real estate agent do a virtual tour of your home and post on his or her website as well as YouTube. Believe me, you will get more interested parties seeing your property that way, then walking through your home on a Sunday afternoon. Here, buyers can look at a home at their leisure. I always say that a home that is well photographed, that looks staged and clean with lots of curb appeal will get more attention that an open house. In fact, virtual tours are great for those buyers who are moving into an area, but not available for open houses. Or, if one spouse is unable to tour a home, they can always see it online if the other spouse has visited and wants to make a second appointment. As long as it looks professional and focuses on the home’s good points as well as location if it is highly desirable, a virtual tour is one of the most effective marketing tools a real estate agent can do for his or her client.
Again, open houses? They don’t work if you think they will sell your home.