Neighborhoods and Activities in Baton Rouge

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It's Time For Realtors to Stand Firm on Not Doing Open Houses

I have almost completely stopped doing open houses, and here's why summed up: 

Via Lee Morof, Associate Broker/Attorney (RE/MAX Showcase Homes):

Every year I order the results of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers. I am particularly interested in How the Buyer Found His or Her Home in the last year because that determines where my marketing efforts will go to sell the homes that I list. Because the numbers pertaining to open houses are so dismal, it is no longer a category in the survey results. I do understand that open houses were more successful before personal computers and the internet but now, approximately 90 percent of buyers begin their home search on the internet. Thirty six percent will find their home on the internet, another thirty six percent will find their home through the help of a realtor, twelve percent from a yard sign and six percent from a friend, neighbor or a relative. That covers ninety percent. Another five percent, will purchase new construction from a home builder or the builder's agent.

So why do some realtors continue to do open houses? I find that generally two types of realtors continue to do open houses despite the numbers. The first category is the realtor who has not adapted to the internet. He or she refuses to accept that it is here to stay and plans to retire in the next few years, so why bother? The other category is the new and inexperienced realtor. Both categories of  realtors have just a few listings and hope to acquire some buyers from the open houses. The reality is that qualified buyers who are looking for a home such as the one listed by the realtor will find it from the top sources listed above and either call the listing agent or have his or her own realtor schedule a showing.

Open houses are also a HUGE security risk for the sellers and the realtor. We all have been notified by our Boards of murders, robberies, rapes, etc. that have occurred at open houses. Let's face it. A realtor has no control over who is coming through the door at an open house. By doing so, you are leaving the door wide open to those who have motives other than buying a house. Besides those who intend to do harm to a realtor, you invite nosy neighbors, people looking for free food or a bathroom, and burglars to see what the seller has inside the home for him to take when no one is home.

At every list appointment that I have, I advise the seller prospects about the facts of open houses. Almost all of them, after being given the facts,, respond with "That's great. We were worried that you would want to do open houses and we are not comfortable with idea." Since I have been doing this in listing appointments, I have never had a seller insist that I do open houses. If I do, I will pass on the listing. A seller who refuses to accept the facts, will probably be difficult when it comes to the many other things that come with selling a home such as pricing, taking care of the home, etc.

I sell approximately 85% of the homes that I list. I am not a "mega" lister. I am interested in the quality of the seller and his or her home they want to sell and its price. When other realtors are doing open houses, I am doing things that are much safer and productive like showing homes to buyers who contact me through the internet or yard signs or just having some me time.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
www.NorthWoodwardHomes.com
info@NorthWoodwardHomes.com
Call:  248-514-2640

Every year I order the results of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers. I am particularly interested in How the Buyer Found His or Her Home in the last year because that determines where my marketing efforts will go to sell the homes that I list. Because the numbers pertaining to open houses are so dismal, it is no longer a category in the survey results. I do understand that open houses were more successful before personal computers and the internet but now, approximately 90 percent of buyers begin their home search on the internet. Thirty six percent will find their home on the internet, another thirty six percent will find their home through the help of a realtor, twelve percent from a yard sign and six percent from a friend, neighbor or a relative. That covers ninety percent. Another five percent, will purchase new construction from a home builder or the builder's agent.

So why do some realtors continue to do open houses? I find that generally two types of realtors continue to do open houses despite the numbers. The first category is the realtor who has not adapted to the internet. He or she refuses to accept that it is here to stay and plans to retire in the next few years, so why bother? The other category is the new and inexperienced realtor. Both categories of  realtors have just a few listings and hope to acquire some buyers from the open houses. The reality is that qualified buyers who are looking for a home such as the one listed by the realtor will find it from the top sources listed above and either call the listing agent or have his or her own realtor schedule a showing.

Open houses are also a HUGE security risk for the sellers and the realtor. We all have been notified by our Boards of murders, robberies, rapes, etc. that have occurred at open houses. Let's face it. A realtor has no control over who is coming through the door at an open house. By doing so, you are leaving the door wide open to those who have motives other than buying a house. Besides those who intend to do harm to a realtor, you invite nosy neighbors, people looking for free food or a bathroom, and burglars to see what the seller has inside the home for him to take when no one is home.

At every list appointment that I have, I advise the seller prospects about the facts of open houses. Almost all of them, after being given the facts,, respond with "That's great. We were worried that you would want to do open houses and we are not comfortable with idea." Since I have been doing this in listing appointments, I have never had a seller insist that I do open houses. If I do, I will pass on the listing. A seller who refuses to accept the facts, will probably be difficult when it comes to the many other things that come with selling a home such as pricing, taking care of the home, etc.

I sell approximately 85% of the homes that I list. I am not a "mega" lister. I am interested in the quality of the seller and his or her home they want to sell and its price. When other realtors are doing open houses, I am doing things that are much safer and productive like showing homes to buyers who contact me through the internet or yard signs or just having some me time.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
www.NorthWoodwardHomes.com
info@NorthWoodwardHomes.com
Call:  248-514-2640

Comment balloon 6 commentsAnn Dail • December 27 2009 02:10PM

Comments

We have sold homes from open house, received buyers who also had to list - so two sales there, had investors visit our open and sold them several other properties, etc. How much do you spend on different marketing efforts? Probably much more than you do than on directional signs. Of course posting your open houses online a week ahead of time is key to getting feet in the door. Our MLS system IDX's to dozens of sites. About 9 out of 10 visitors find out about our opens on the internet. Mixing the old with the new has been very successful for us.

Posted by Rob & Jeannie Steward - RealtorsĀ®, We Work TWICE As Hard For You! - Ashton Group (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 10 years ago

When I first got my license, I fell into that inexperienced category.  I shortly became known as the "Open House Queen" in my office for the open house events I would do--one, sometimes two every weekend from June-November.  I DID NOT obtain ONE qualified and serious buyer from those efforts.  I started to pray about my business and asked God to give me the source of a better use of my time to obtain serious and qualified buyers for my business.  I am now building a referral business from lenders who are looking for an agent who cares about the service they provide to buyers and who is accessable to them.  In less than 6 months, I closed almost $1M in volume ($130,100 short).  I gave up on Open Houses.  Now that I read your blog and see the dangers of doing them, I'm more convenced than ever.  I'd thought about doing some in March and the first week in April, because of the expiration of the tax credit, but beyond that, if it's not a Broker's Open, I'm not doing it!

Thank you for the insight.  I am going to order that report also from NAR and include it in my listing presentation.  I have found that good sellers, will do what you ask if you position yourself as the expert. I have been in the business for what will be two years in June and I am like a sponge--willing and eager to soak up good information.  Thanks again.

 

Angelia Williams, Long & Foster, Norfolk, VA

Posted by Angelia Williams almost 10 years ago

I still like open houses partially because we as a company have an online list that generates traffic if the house is up on the list  all week for buyers to look at.

Agents and sellers who don't want to do open houses should not do them, but they should really not need to get the support of the whole industry because it is not part of their repertoire. The new house industry still allows buyers to see homes without an appointment.   In Columbus only some areas are good for open houses, but I am always glad for a big list of open houses online. 

I sold my first listing at an open house back in 1986.  Ancient history?  Yes it is.  I have sold a number of houses over the years from the open house.  It gives a house more exposure in my market.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Hi Ann.  I'm with you on this one.  Open houses can be a great place for Realtors to get new clients, but I've never personally heard of a Realtor selling a house they've held open.

Posted by Gary Swanson (Century 21 Harris & Taylor) almost 10 years ago

Rob, Jeannie, Angela, Maureen, and Gary.  It seems we have different opinions on this issue!  While my position as in the blog is that I don't usually do opens, I have conducted two open houses over my 12 years in Baton Rouge residential that were successful (resulted in an open house buyer writing a purchase agreement on the home).  In both instances I decided to do an open house as the property had unique, highly desirable features that could not be imagined from the street driveby and internet photos.  One was a property owned by the president of a garden club on a cul-de-sac where there was a hugh back yard not visible from the street of that garden homes.  She had turned that yard into a series of walkways and gardens with a running stream (self contained) and numerous redwood arbors and walkways and swings.  I created excitement in print and online with descriptions and a 1/4 page newspaper ad.  I had 20 potential buyers show up and it created a feeling of competition.  By the end of that day, I had 2 offers from two individuals who came thru the open.   My second scenario was similar....in the garden district.  Sometimes pictures just don't do justice to nature.  But in 99% of the cases, I just don't do open houses.  Risks and time waste outway.

Posted by Ann Dail, Broker/Realtor,CRS, ePRO, SRS, B.A.Chem (Baton Rouge Area Homes, Louisiana, USA, 225-761-0551) almost 10 years ago

Rob, Jeannie, Angela, Maureen, and Gary.  It seems we have different opinions on this issue!  While my position as in the blog is that I don't usually do opens, I have conducted two open houses over my 12 years in Baton Rouge residential that were successful (resulted in an open house buyer writing a purchase agreement on the home).  In both instances I decided to do an open house as the property had unique, highly desirable features that could not be imagined from the street driveby and internet photos.  One was a property owned by the president of a garden club on a cul-de-sac where there was a hugh back yard not visible from the street of that garden homes.  She had turned that yard into a series of walkways and gardens with a running stream (self contained) and numerous redwood arbors and walkways and swings.  I created excitement in print and online with descriptions and a 1/4 page newspaper ad.  I had 20 potential buyers show up and it created a feeling of competition.  By the end of that day, I had 2 offers from two individuals who came thru the open.   My second scenario was similar....in the garden district.  Sometimes pictures just don't do justice to nature.  But in 99% of the cases, I just don't do open houses.  Risks and time waste outway.

Posted by Ann Dail, Broker/Realtor,CRS, ePRO, SRS, B.A.Chem (Baton Rouge Area Homes, Louisiana, USA, 225-761-0551) almost 10 years ago

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