Open Houses offer low-pressure opportunity to comparison shop
Q: I have a house I am planning to sell this summer. Is it still important to have open houses as part of the strategy for selling a home?
A: Open houses have been a staple of the real estate industry for as long as anyone can remember. In fact, before the Internet and some of the more contemporary marketing tools REALTORS® now use to help sell a home, the open house was critical in providing a way for large numbers of people to see a home on sale in a relatively short period of time.
Today, many buyers turn to the Internet first as a way of searching for neighborhoods and homes. They may narrow down the kinds of homes and features they are looking for and they are very likely to focus in on neighborhoods where they would like to live. REALTORS® today devote considerable effort to marketing a home through photos and videos that can be viewed through the selling broker’s website or on the websites of companies specializing in this kind of marketing.
Sellers and their real estate brokers may shy away from doing open houses as they historically attract a percentage of people not actually looking to buy the house — and some neighbors who are curious as to what the house looks like on the inside and how it might compare to the value of their home.
And yet, if you drive through neighborhoods where homes are for sale — especially on weekends — you are likely to see “Open House” signs as well as signs on street corners directing people to open house opportunities. The National Association of REALTORS® reported in its 2010 “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers” that 45 percent of buyers visit open houses as part of their search process.
For buyers, the open house offers the opportunity to “window shop” in a low pressure environment. Many people are more comfortable wandering through open houses than setting appointments and “being shown” properties. In similar fashion, some people like to visit car dealers’ lots on the days they are closed so as to be uninterrupted by a sales pitch while looking at the options. Open houses can help a buyer determine the features of a home that are most important to them.
Comparison shopping — whether on the Internet, through advertisements, sales or open houses — is a popular way for people to find that special home.
Open houses remain a popular and successful way for buyers and sellers to achieve their homeownership goals. The weekend of June 4-5, 2011 has been designated as National Open House Weekend by the National Association of REALTORS®.
In Colorado, members of the Colorado Association of REALTORS® will be hosting more than 1,000 open houses throughout the state. If you have a home to sell, take advantage of this high profile weekend event. And if you are in the market for a new home, Open House Weekend is a great place to do some serious shopping.