Product Manager for Statistics and Trends at Redfin, Tim Ellis wrote, “Apparently every weekend is open-house weekend in San Francisco. In fact, holding an open house is so expected there that homes that don’t hold an open house are a full seven percentage points less likely to sell than those that do. In Las Vegas and Phoenix, where open houses are rare, the exact opposite is true. Homes that don’t hold an open house are 17 percentage points more likely to sell than those that do.”
It sounds so scientific. And yet …
In the Phoenix real estate market there are two reasons to hold an open house – your listing agent wants to pick up more buyers and listings using your house as the bait, or he or she is getting desperate because the home’s not selling and doesn’t want to really work and tell you that something’s got to change – price most likely, staging or other scenarios following after that.
That whole 17 percent stuff is a considerable amount of bunk since in this hyperactive market there’s virtually no compelling reason for a seller to hold an open house.
In fact, set aside Phoenix for a second and drop down to this “conclusion” from the fine folks at Redfin:
Ellis added, “Everywhere else, the picture gets a little more fuzzy. In the other eight markets we examined, there was virtually no difference in the percentage of homes that sold, whether they had an open house or not.”
Absolutely earth shattering. And yet, in the online real estate world these days, this counts as news because we all know (or at least are told) that there are really smart people at Redfin who look at real estate differently – even though the company’s model has morphed into a traditional brokerage albeit with a cool website.
“So should you hold an open house?” Ellis asks. “If you’re in San Francisco, absolutely. If you’re in Phoenix or Las Vegas, probably not. Everywhere else, it most likely doesn’t really matter whether or not you hold an open house, but if you’ve got a good agent, he or she will probably hold one anyway.”
I guess I have a different view of most of what constitutes a good agent. Knowing full well that the odds of a home selling via open house are roughly equal to that of having a kid driving a Big Wheel with your address on the flag, I’ve developed into a fairly firm anti- … er … open houseist. There are open house signs in my garage that haven’t been touched in a half-dozen years and likely never will be, not until I send them. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s just that I’m honest with my sellers.
A truly good agent would be honest with the seller – “Bob, I need you to pack up and the wife and kids and get out of the house for a few hours. No, I don’t really think that your home is going to sell faster because I’m doing it but with any luck I’ll pick up some buyers and some additional listings because it will look like I’m working hard when I’ll really be spending the day playing Words with Friends.”
I assure you, there’s not an agent out there who walks into a listing appointment and displays that level of transparency, that level of honesty.
Oh, and by the way … happy National Open House Weekend. I’ll be in the office doing some real work.