Open houses do not sell houses

February 11, 2009 · Print This Article

I am about to let the readers of this blog in on a very well kept but very guarded secret among Realtors which may or may not cause controversy among my fellow agents but here it goes… open houses are not done to sell the sellers home they are done too……make the AGENT more money.. shhhh don’t repeat that too loud.

What do you mean they do not sell houses? How do they make the agent more money?
Years ago when 1st received my real estate license the open house theory was burnt into my brain, all I did was open houses every weekend and I made a LOT of money from the open houses. Did I sell the house at the open house and that is how I made so much money? NO.. I built my database and received TONS of new clients at the open house.
How do you get more clients?
You see open house attendees typically are in the VERY EARLY stages of the home buying process, they are often neighbors who have no desire to buy anything or buyers who have NO idea what the asking price of the home is because all they did was see some open house signs and balloons and they came in the door. The people who come in that do want to buy as I said are very early into the process, have not even spoken to a mortgage broker or their bank to get pre approved and have no idea how much they can afford. Others still have to sell their home and have not even spoken to an agent to list their home!
I have met so many people who visited my open houses who were “scoping out” the competition for when they put their home on the market. They often come to the open house to see if that agent will LIST THEIR HOME. It used to happen to me all the time, I got so many listings from doing open houses. I got tons of new buyer clients and sold so many houses to these clients but NEVER the house I was doing the open house for.
Of course the main job of any Realtor at an open house is to sell THAT HOUSE and that was always my 1st priority but 99% of the time there is a reason why and the people coming into the house do not want that house. So after confirming that there is nothing in the world that will convince them to buy the house, they always say “hey can you help us find what we are looking for?” BINGO!.. that is what every agent loves to hear and the real reason why agents do open houses, so they can sell more homes to more buyers and use your house as the means to getting more clients. Of course some agents or buyers will tell you how their cousins sisters neighbors uncles boss’ dog , etc just bought or sold a house at an open house, as I said there is that TINY percent that do that at the open houses, but VERY tiny.
I did open houses in the peak of the market when homes sold in 1-2 days all the time with zero effort and even then I never sold a house at the open house. I was on a VERY popular TV show not too long ago on a VERY popular home show network that films an agent doing an open house for a seller. They then show the people coming into the open house, putting a bid on the house and viola! buy the house. Ok, its all a LIE.
I already found the buyer 2 days before the filming of the open house, I called the producers to tell them we better cancel the open house and they said no way and that this is exactly what they hoped for. You see they said this to me “You see how we do all these shows and do open houses and we always find buyers on the show?… well we never find them at the open house, the show often airs 6-9 months AFTER we film the open house and a few months later when a REAL buyer is found we go back for a 2nd day of shooting and work it into the episode and PRETEND we found the buyer at the open house.” And then the producer said this which was just unreal…. “c’mon you know open houses do not sell houses!!”
So why do agents do open houses?
Honestly because sellers think that is how you sell houses and if an agent sits for 4 hours in your house doing nothing that means they are doing their job. Even scarier, some agents think that is how to sell a house! Then of course as I said before the real reason they do them, to make more money from the business they generate from the open houses. The longer your house sits on the market the more money they make!
I recall one time on a listing appointment and wowed the client with my presentation and she specifically said she is looking for an agent who will do a brokers open house and public open houses. I told her I have agents who can do them if she really wants but told her I really do not think they will do much for her. I ended up losing the listing to another agent. When I asked the seller if she can please critique me and tell me why she did not choose me, she said it was because I did not want to do open houses. I told her I understood and wished her good luck.  Not too long after that I ended up getting 3 other listings in her complex and sold all 3 of them for $30,000-$50,000 more than what hers finally sold for nd I sold them all in under 90 days, hers was listed for 6 months. I bumped into the listing agent one day and she told me she was doing open houses every weekend for 3 months and never had 1 buyer put in an offer, the offer ended up coming a buyer who saw the home listed online!
Now I could have easily had open houses done for her every weekend if she wanted them but she wanted an agent to do open houses, she never told me she wanted and agent to sell her house. So I guess she got what she asked for.
One thing every seller needs to ask themselves, if there is something out there for an agent to do that will sell a house and costs nothing to do, wouldn’t the agent do it? You have to really think why an agent would not want to do something that will sell the house? As I said, open houses DO NOT sell houses, if they did I would do them 7 days a week.
Having a seller who thinks open houses sell houses and means the agent is doing their job is as crazy as if a seller told me to please not spend money on marketing her home! Why in the world would I not want to market the home? It costs me money and I WANT too and MUST market the home, open houses are FREE and make me more money sitting there but yet I prefer to do the one that costs money because that is the one and ONLY one that will sell the home.


So what does sell houses? Read part 2 in this series entitled Ads do not sell houses



2 Responses to “Open houses do not sell houses”

  1. Ads do not sell houses | Real Estate for sale ads do not sell houses | on February 11th, 2009 12:06 pm

    […] and why agents do them.   As a follow up to part 1 of this series I talked about the fact that open houses do not sell houses and why real estate agents still do them. In this blog I will talk about ads whether they are […]

  2. Deb on June 11th, 2010 9:35 am

    Just a note: please proof-read your blog…. there are several typos & poor usage of grammar, especially towards the end…. maybe you got tired!

    However, regarding your message… This was enlightening! As a homeowner that has bought & sold a few homes…. I hated when the realtor would want to do an open house, and me & my pets had to find someplace to go for several hours…. and now to read this… it makes so much sense! Never did the buyer come from an open house & never did I buy a house at an open house….. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HONESTY! This is great information to know.

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