Broker Open House Versus Total Stranger Open House
There is a world of difference between a broker open house and an open house held for a couple of hours on a random Sunday First a definition of each…
- Broker Open House. A Broker Open House is when real estate agents or brokers are invited to view another agents listing to provide feedback and comments.
- Open House. An Open House is when an agent opens the house for a few hours on the weekend and anyone can come in and look around.
When a real estate agent decides to hold a broker open house it could be for a number of reasons, the house could be new to the market and they want to let other agents know about it. It could be a unique property that the agent wants other agents to be aware of. It could over priced and some honest feedback from other agents might prove that. The seller may be of the mind set that their home staging is to die for and in fact it isn’t so 10-15 opinions similar to the agents might persuade them to make some changes. The home may be sitting on the market with little or no showings with no obvious explanation.
What Do You Get When You Hold A Broker Open House
Feedback, constructive criticism, pricing opinions, staging and landscaping tips. If you want to have a successful broker open house you have to be prepared to hear the good the bad and the ugly. Remember this is to help you sell your home and the advise will be coming from a number of agents probably with all levels of experience in the local market. My advise is to have a short anonymous questionnaire with three or four questions pertaining to any issues or concerns about the house. So for example the questionnaire could ask
- Do you feel the house is priced correctly?
- What do you like most about the house?
- What do you like least about the house?
- What advise would you give you believe would help sell the house?
That’s it, unless there is something specific you need comments on, trust me some agents will give you two word answers while others will go into great detail. Be prepared for conflicting answers as well these are all individual agents with their own taste and style so while the home owners decorating might click with some it won’t with others. If you have a majority of negative comments that might be something to change , if t’s only one or two it’s probably just a personal opinion.
As an agent we can offer our expert opinion on pricing, repairs and upgrades, landscaping and painting to our clients but we often don’t get the entire message across. Emotions play a huge role when it comes to selling a home and you have to respect that a seller may have sweat equity, years of raising a family and the memory of paying a mortgage on the house for possibly decades. It’s a fine dance sometimes to persuade a seller what they need to do and if your broker open house agents share your thoughts it is a lot easier to make the argument for change.
A Succesful Open House Requires Planning
In order to have a successful Broker Open House there has to be some planning otherwise you might not get enough agents. A good tactic if possible is to team up with another agent who has a listing in the same neighborhood this will be more appealing to busy agents. Picking the right day is very important if your office has a weekly or monthly meeting in the morning pick that lunch time if you are doing it during the day. Just make sure it does not conflict with other broker open houses, seminars or training classes. When planning for a broker open house you need to start at least three weeks in advance to promote it properly. Make it short, 2-3 hours is the optimum amount of time to allow agents to attend. Feed Them! You will need to provide food and drinks whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. I just did one where we had lunch set up at one house and dessert in another, that way they were likely to visit both homes. Have a raffle for a gift card for those agents who leave a card another incentive to get agents out. Some agents have done broker open houses in the evening having a wine tasting as an incentive and others will do a morning open house with breakfast for the agents. A good tactic is to have the monthly meeting in the house.
The Other Kind Of Open House
The whole concept of the open house dates to way before the Internet when agents were limited to advertising in the newspaper or in real estate magazines such as the The Real Estate Book or Homes & Land. This is what you get…
Not a whole lot to get buyers excited about your listings and not cheap to run either. Remember when the real estate section of the Saturday and Sunday newspapers were pages and pages of homes for sale with each big real estate company trying to out do their competitors. New home communities would have whole page ads paid for by the developers and agents would advertise their “Open Houses” for the weekend. The ad would say Open House 2-4 Sunday or 1-3 on Saturday so the only time someone could see what the house looked like inside without scheduling a showing was for maybe two hours on a weekend. Back then that’s what we did and it might have worked a little better then but not now. I realize there are some markets in the States where open houses work and agents sell their listings that way but they are rare and typically in markets that are on fire with multiple offer situations and very low inventory.
These days if an agent is marketing a house properly they will have multiple high quality photographs, possibly a video and a website with a community page for the neighborhood and the town (this is where we lose a lot of agents). The simple reason for this is because the home buyer of today is equipped with more information available to them on their phone than every Saturday and Sunday newspapers real estate section ever. They aren’t going to wait for a two hour window on a random Sunday to check out a house they might be interested in, they will pull it up on their phone in a nano second and if they like what they see they’ll call an agent to schedule a showing.
So Who Goes To Open Houses?
The answer is anyone who wants to, any stranger, neighbor, weirdo or thief can saunter into your open house and spend twenty minutes going through your stuff. You’ll likely get some nosy neighbors probably the same ones who took all the flyers while they were out walking the dog and trashed as soon as they got home. They are there to check out your stuff and see how your house compares to theirs. If the open house is to get any traffic the agent will have directional signs with balloons on the main roads around the neighborhood to attract any stranger that has nothing better to do than wander through someones house on a Sunday afternoon. Think about the scenario of having 2 or 3 groups of people show up at the same time, how will the agent be able to monitor them as they split up and wander through your house. This might be a good time to invest in a set of security cameras to record the visitors to the open house but check the laws before you do.
What are the chances that a buyer will be driving past a sign that says Open House and be drawn to the home of their dreams at the exact moment the house is open, pretty slim these days. Nationally only 9% of home buyers say they found their home through an open house, that’s a shockingly low number for an activity that takes a lot of time for an agent to put together.
Why Do Agents Hold Open Houses?
If agents who do open houses were to give an honest answer as to why they do open houses,the number one answer would be to get buyers as clients. It’s a well know tactic that has been used forever in the real estate business that doing open houses is a way to meet potential buyer prospects who are out looking at houses. In fact it’s very common for new agents to be recruited by experienced agents to do their open houses for them, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to not be at your own open house does it.
Establishing a presence in a neighborhood is another reason agents do open houses, it gives them an opportunity to put their signs with their names on them all over the neighborhood for a few days. As the neighbors are likely going to be going through the house as well it gives the agent an opportunity to get their business card in the hands of potential home sellers.
Look at me I’m marketing your house, holding an open house is a way for agents to let their sellers know they are working on getting their house sold by doing an activity. While the open house may only be for two hours on a Sunday the agent will probably spend a lot more time creating flyers and ads, putting out signs and blowing up balloons.
When Open Houses Should Be Held.
There are situations when doing an open house makes sense and in fact is an excellent marketing strategy employed by sellers.
- New Construction, there is no question that open houses work when it comes to new construction as it gives the builder an opportunity to showcase their work, offer different floor plans and discuss features of the homes. It depends on the size of the builder and neighborhood but most are open daily and certainly on the weekends, staffed with trained new home specialists that can explain the building process to potential home buyers. They will be able to show off the neighborhood amenities like pools and playgrounds and any future development plans such as retail or schools.
- In some of the real estate shows on TV that are in markets with a severe shortage of homes and a large number of buyers looking for homes it makes sense to hold an open house. These buyers are clambering to get into a house and often money is no object so it benefits the seller to get them all into the house in a short window of time to create a sense of urgency. Many times the buyers will come with an agent and write an offer right there and then.
- A fairly new house preferably vacant where the competition is new homes nearby that are selling. If the house is say two years old or less and is similar to the new homes that are still being built it can be a good idea to hold an open house. If the builder does not have many homes in move in ready condition buyers will look a similar home that is not too old. Especially if you can compete on price or location with the new homes this could be an opportunity to find a buyer who is looking at new homes but would like to save some money or a nicer lot.
Check out these great articles about open houses from industry experts.
- Does A Real Estate Open House Work? from Maximum Exposure Real Estate
- The Pros And Cons Of Open Houses In Real Estate by Kyle Hiscock
- A Brief History Of Opening Our Homes To Total Strangers by Realtor.com
- The Truth About Real Estate Open Houses by Listly