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.”