Open Houses Back in the News Cycle

My broker Jay Thompson had this post this morning, dovetailing on another blog post discussing the ethics of real estate open houses.

Diving into the All Phoenix Real vault, I found this from October 2009:

Real estate marketing tends to go the same way. Most examples of what sellers might call “aggressive marketing” are very high in action and very low in results.  My favorite still is the prospective seller who talked about an agent who held a house open every weekend for several months until the home sold, never once asking why such an “aggressive” sales technique failed weekend after weekend for months on end.

So why do agents continue to do this? Because of the expectations they build for their sellers in an effort to secure a listing. No one wants to hear that a home is going to be put in the MLS and then nothing else will be done. Yet more often than not, it is just that – an MLS listing combined with an effective price – that causes a home to sell.

And this one from July 2007, one year into this blog’s life and about three years into my real estate career …

This morning I spent 15 minutes talking to a third-party relocation specialist who said a seller was concerned about the time it’s taking to sell his home – 19 days as of today – and that she feels multiple open houses will be the solution.

As I’ve said many, many times in the past, open houses largely are an effort in futility. First, you have to have a motivated buyer. Second, they need to be fully qualified to buy the home. Third, they have to be driving down the road at the moment the open house is taking place. Fourth, they have to take the time to follow the signs to see what home is for sale. Fifth, they have to decide this is the home for which they’ve been searching. Sixth, they have to make an offer on the home. Seventh, the offer has to be sufficiently strong that the seller would accept it or at least negotiate.

Throw out any one of those seven factors and there will not be a sale. And you have to have every one of those seven factors in order to get the house under contract. I’m not a statistician, but the odds seem remarkably long – easily long enough to bear out the NAR stats that less than 7 homes in 100 sell at an open house.

Internet marketing has negated the weekend open house. Buyers can scan hundreds of homes from the comfort of their own living room, selecting and eliminating homes from the photos and floorplans available on line. Only if a home survives the initial online cut will most buyers take the time to drive to the house to take a look. Store-bought cookies and maybe a bottled water aren’t incentive enough to drive in circles in hopes of the right home appearing.

When I mentioned that the primary visitors to open houses were the neighbors, the relo agent excitedly told me that’s the best source of buyers because neighbors will tell their friends that there’s a home for sale in their neighborhood. In reality, they’ll be telling their friends there are dozens of homes for sale in their neighborhood including seven of the exact same model. What’s one more?

It was the topic of open houses, or one local brokerage’s claim to hold an open house every weekend until their listings sold, that also lead to some rather personal attacks online.

All these years later, little has changed … some agents still are busy conning convincing sellers that open houses are in their best interest while the rest of us work to provide real estate buyers and sellers a realistic view of the market and this business.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at

1 Comment

  • markbrian 7 years ago

    I like the peace and quiet Open Houses give me…….

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