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Open houses waste of time?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis April 19, 2012 07:01 AM

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It's something to consider, especially with the National Association of Realtors going all out to promote its annual open house weekend on April 28-29.

If you are a seller getting pressured by your agent to take part, you might want to think it over.

Open houses are ostensibly for the benefit of sellers. But sadly for sellers, the open house can be a high pain, small gain proposition.

There's just a slim chance an open house will trigger the jackpot, a buyer who falls in love with your home and makes an offer after walking through.

The percentage of sales that come about from open houses is in the single digits, according to published interviews with agents and at least one academic study.

So if open houses aren't all they are cracked up to be for sellers, then who do they really benefit?

Well open houses can be great marketing. But the beneficiaries are the sales people, not the actual sellers.

Agents certainly have a lot to gain from showing your house, getting the opportunity to meet and mingle and get contact information from a wide pool of buyers who they can follow up with on other listings.

For buyers, open houses can be helpful too to get a sense of what's out there in the market and, if you are in a couple, to hash out with your significant other likes and dislikes.

But if a house is hot - as in good shape, good location and reasonable price point - there may very well be offers already in hand by the time the open house is held.

For sellers, it probably can't hurt to do an open house, but it should be just one part of a multimedia sales effort.

If your agent wants to do multiple open houses, then it's worth asking some tough questions.

Capitalism is great, but you have to make it work for you.


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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