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  • Liann Walborsky
    Liann Walborsky
    » Communications Manager, Technology Credit Union
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    do open houses still work?

    April 25, 2012 Posted by: Liann Walborsky

    When we put our condominium on the market in 2005 in Boston, MA, the main selling tool used appeared to be the ubiquitous Open House. Of course, this was at a time when the market was quite strong and selling within three weeks felt like an eternity. There was no staging — the broker felt like the condo would sell itself, and our fees boiled down to paying our broker (seller) her commission.  

    As the market has cooled down, selling methods have also changed — with the need for Open Houses appearing to be on the wane. According to a recent article in Smart Money, not only are Open Houses a somewhat dated concept, but very few serious buyers begin their search or make an offer based on walking into a house they have never seen before or researched. A couple of other reasons these meet and greet sessions no longer have the same cache… 

    1. While staging can be effective and possibly reduce the time a home spends on the market, it isn’t cheap. Sellers can spend anywhere from $1800 to $5000 on staging companies. Hard to quantify if it is actually worth it.  
    2. According to the article, only 11% of buyers claim to have found a home through an Open House. This compares with 35% who found their home through an agent and 40% who found their home online (this appears to be the preferred method these days). Also, remember that literally anyone off of the street can walk into an Open House, meaning that many of these people are simply curiosity seekers and either have no interest in buying, or can’t qualify for the necessary mortgage anyway.  
    3. Agents often use Open Houses as a means to find new clients. I can’t remember how many times my husband and I have written down our name and contact info when “signing in” to an Open House and then receiving a call or email shortly thereafter. You may have spent hours cleaning your home as you open it up to the public, but really, the only person potentially benefiting is your agent.  
    4. Although it is not a common occurrence, Open Houses can be the perfect place to lose some of your belonging due to theft. Brokers can’t follow every person who enters the house, and there have been instances of valuables disappearing when left out. 

    So, if you are thinking about putting your home on the market and the first thing your agent recommends is an Open House, think again. There may be more effective ways of marketing your home in this still uncertain economy.   

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