Are open houses still relevant?

Open houses are considered old school in the Internet age.

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by

From the February/March 2013 issue of the magazine.

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Vancouver realtor Sarah Daniels has given up on open houses. “Basically, all the neighbours come over and look at your stuff. People come to get staging ideas or check out your kitchen renos. They’re not that helpful in selling a home.” In the 10 years since Daniels became a realtor, she says she’s never sold a home due to an open house.

In the days before the internet, prospective buyers often drove around neighbourhoods on Sundays, popping in to open houses. But today, serious buyers get their first look at homes on Realtor.ca. Some realtors have decided open houses aren’t worth the inconvenience or risk of having possessions go missing, while others insist they’re still a great way to sell a home. “Last year I sold five houses where the buyers were first introduced to the property through an open house,” says Calgary realtor Gord Piper.

According to economists, open houses are still very useful—for realtors. “People who are seriously interested can make an appointment to see the place anyhow, so the open house attracts a lot of people who are just kind of interested, and those are very low probabilities,” says UBC economist Tsur Somerville. “For realtors, open houses are a type of advertising. Name recognition is very important, so they want to reach people who might work with them in the future.”

3 comments on “Are open houses still relevant?

  1. Open houses exist to make it appear to the seller that the agent is actively doing something to sell the house. Getting the listing is the hard part of the job. Or working with buyers who aren't even paying for the service. Sellers are being gouged so the open house game makes it hurt less.

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  2. Your article stated that in the age of the internet going to open houses is a thing of the past. While it is true that the first step is to view the house on the internet you really DO have to go see the house [and seeing it during an Open House is easy] as unfortunately there are many photos out there that make the houses look far better than they really are, and in other cases not as good as they are…also some agents must be lazy as they don't post nearly enough photos, I like to see lots of photos when searching on line…and sometimes some agents put 1 photo??? Why, I'll never know….

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  3. In the hands of a professional and if properly conducted, open houses can be very effective. Some DIY's have had luck with them as well. Many Realtors including myself have many points to a plan of action to get a house sold. Which point is actually successful in attaining that goal is unknown so that's we do them all. For one house it could be the open house, another could be sold from an ad, another could be sold through the Realtors contacts, you never know. Real estate always seems easy to the layman and I can tell you after 26 years in the business, they're usually the same people that come in looking for easy money and end up a statistic.

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