The Open Home - there to sell your home - right?

Saturdays and Sundays – 10am in the morning until 4pm in the afternoon.  Directional signs everywhere, flags up, people driving by, smartly dressed real estate sales people jumping in and out of cars rushing to their next property.  
The open home circuit.
The chance to show your property to potentially interested buyers and catch that buyer who happens to be driving past, decides to visit and falls in love – right? Not exactly. Many real estate sales people don't like Open Homes. They find the prospect of sitting in a house on the off-chance someone may turn up to be a waste of time. And very often, particularly in todays market, they are right.
Why do real estate sales people do Open Homes?
  1. Sellers have come to expect them
  2. Their next listing may walk through the door
  3. They might just get a buyer visiting
The number 1 reason for an Open Home - the seller expects it.  Open Homes are a relatively recent phenomenon and have really only taken off in the last 10 years. Prior to that it was all about appointments. The industry has progressed. Mind you it used to be that real estate was conducted during the civilised 9am-5pm week day hours too.
Buyers do come to Open Homes and you will find, if they keep a record of it, that a proportion of an agents sales will come from them (of course which came first - their visit to the Open Home or the advertising that dragged them there?).  It will be a small proportion (maybe 10%) normally and the agent will question whether it is a "dollar productive activity". In other words is the activity generating income for them, or are they better served spending time on activities that will generate a better return.
So why do agents do Open Homes? To gather more listings.  Every person that walks into an Open Home is a potential new listing and is treated that way by the sales person.The Open Home is their ‘shop window’ – they are on display, auditioning for their next client. Often the most frequent type of visitor is the person considering selling their own home doing market research on similar properties. I remember the words of a well known real estate trainer at a public conference on how an agent should get started - "do all the Open Homes you can. Get a listing. Do more Open Homes until you get your next listing. Only then think about selling the first one".
I told this story to a client once. His response? "Kind of makes you wonder why they don't look a tad more interested when you walk in the door!"

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