Antonio & Alexia's Blog

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Open Houses, are they worth the time and effort? If they are, how we get them ready for ShowTime.

The debate has never been settled; Sellers and Realtors disagree as to the possibility of finding a buyer for the house while holding it open for the general public. Some think it is a waste of time, others believe there is a valid reason to set up shop for 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon in somebody's house.

After 23 years selling real estate I am a true believer of the power of open houses. Not all people that come thru the house are simply lookers or neighbors, there are true homebuyers choosing a house to purchase. I look at my own habits, when was the last time I went looking at cars? When I needed to buy one, when did I look at furniture? Appliances? I only went when I needed to buy any of those items. From the buyers point of view it does make sense to go out and look at open houses on a Sunday afternoon in the area they like, it saves them time, rather than making appointments on house after house. 

All week long a big part of my job is to look for homebuyers, I call everybody I know, I ask my friends and family if they know of anyone who wants to buy a house, I send postcards to tenants, offer seminars to first time homebuyers and then... Then on a Sunday afternoon when typically homebuyers are out looking at Open Houses... I take the day off! I don't think so! I want to be there, right in the middle of their tours, I want to meet those buyers in person, nothing beats a face to face encounter. Waiting for the phone to ring back at the office is not a good strategy.  I learned that when holding Open Houses in the same area regularly, you get to know who is looking in that neighborhood, buyers in turn get to know you. 

As a listing agent I owe it to my clients, the sellers to take every opportunity to find them a buyer. Sometimes I manage to drag my favorite loan officer to be with me during the open house on a Sunday afternoon, I then can offer every person that comes into the house a "free pre-qualification" right then and there. At the end of the open house I fax a copy of the register so the loan officer can also follow up with those buyers who signed. If we both follow up with the same person, odds are we will sell them a house, any house.

When my wife and I work the same open house together, one of us is ready to go show other houses in the neighborhood to a homebuyer that comes and find this house is not what they are looking for, if we know the inventory in the area we can just put them in the car and go. Having several of our own listings in the area increase the chances of selling one of them. It is sort of... fishing! The more hooks we have in the water the better the chances. Fishing for orphan buyers (buyers without a Realtor) is a very profitable activity on a Sunday afternoon. All you need is ONE qualified buyer per Sunday! 

An important issue for all parties involved is SECURITY. Sellers should put away items of value, sensitive documents like tax returns, bank statements, passports etc. documents that have personal information on them should always be secured. Also please put away prescription drugs. And don't forget that children's rooms also have expensive items that can easily be pocketed, like game cartridges and CDs. Pets should not be left at the house while it is open to the public, and the house should be immaculate from top to bottom. And for us Realtors, we should have at least 2 clear exits from the house and someone in the office or a family member in contact by phone every hour. 

The Realtors In Motion       Antonio & Alexia Cardenas   

                  "The Realtors In Motion" 

         CRS, GRI, E-Pro Certified. SFR (Short Sales, Forclosure Resource) Serving the east shores of the San Francisco Bay, Alameda county: specially the following cities: Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Hayward, Oakland, Pleasanton & Dublin.

                  Visit us on line at:

www.listedbyantonio.com or call (510) 326-4263

                     Call us, We'll come and TANGO with you!

Comment balloon 15 commentsAntonio & Alexia Cardenas • September 22 2008 03:35PM
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