This is a question we get all the time and we often have to be brutally honest with our Charlottesville home sellers.
First lets define an open house. Wikipedia defines an open house as “a free, one-day event held by a real estate agent to show a listed residential property to any interested parties” and this is a good definition, but not complete enough.
In real estate, there are two types of open houses. One is a Broker Open House and the other is a Public Open House. Both of these would typically have the listing agent, or another qualified agent on hand to answer questions and show the home to visitors.
Broker Open House
We will typically have a Broker Open House prior to a Public Open house because it is an opportunity to not just show a home to other brokers and agents, but to also explain any unique characteristics of the home to other agents. Often these are more of a social event for agents to meet-up, grab a quick snack and yes sometimes discuss the home. Remember when a home is listed, all pertinent details should be included in the MLS, not to mention that the listing agent is always just a phone call, email or text message away.
Public Open House
In our area these are typically on Sundays. When you drive around you will see open house signs all over as well as listed on-line and yes, even in print media. This is an opportunity for the public to get a peek inside your home.
Many seller do not want a public open houses as they know that it will attract neighbors and lookie-loos who just want to see how they decorate their homes. Although I have not seen a problem in our area, some areas have stopped doing public open houses for not just privacy concerns but also for safety reasons.
Newer agents or agents looking for more business will be happy to sit at an open house for the listing agent. The reason for this is because there is the potential of an unrepresented buyer walking in the door. Since most homes do not sell from an open house, these buyers can easily be converted into clients. Here is an example.
A prospect comes into an open house and says, this is a nice home but I really wanted a larger kitchen. The agent at the open house will respond with something like, I know what you mean and I know the perfect place that will fit your needs, shall I show it to you? You get the idea.
Another point to consider is that your Charlottesville listing agent is representing your interests and what if a buyer wants to purchase? Will they use your agent (dual agency)? Or will they use another agent. Read more about agency at Charlottesville buyer broker.
So why do agents really do open houses?
This is where we have to be brutally honest with sellers. Agents do not do open houses to sell your home. This is truly a mis-conception and agents know this. There are two reasons that agents do open house. One reason is to make the seller happy. To the seller, it appears that the agent is working for them as they see them spending time. The second reason is to get more business (buyer leads), and this is not something most sellers even think about.
I am sure there will be some agents who will disagree with me on this subject and there are certainly cases where a home sells at an open house, but with over 90% of the public starting their search online, I would argue that the same buyer would still be able to see the home and even setup a private tour, either with a buyers agent or by contacting the listing agent directly.# of Views : 3155