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

Comments

Sounds like you got it down to a tee.  Keep up the good work.  It gives us hope.

Posted by Angelia Garcia (Pure Realtors) over 11 years ago

Great Post! 

Posted by Carol Swain, Realtor, -www.swainsells.com- Bucks County, Pa (Keller Williams Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Oh how I wish open houses worked as well in this area as they do in yours!  Good for you, though!  I imagine we'll get to the point sometime in the future where real homebuyers actually attend an open house here.  And don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of them.  Location is a key factor and those on busier streets are certainly better attended, but I have not been fortunate enough to get "orphan" buyers from any...thanks for the great post!

Posted by Amy Salisbury, West Virginia Realtor/Jefferson/Berkeley (Leading Edge Properties) over 11 years ago

Like the summary and post ... we are sold on the value of open houses here.  A large portion of business comes from them!

Posted by Rick Riddell, Manager, REW™ (Weichert, Realtors - Watson & Associates) over 11 years ago

Excellent post, I too believe in open houses. I think it is a great way to give exposure to your listing and meet potential buyers. In my area we tend to do open houses for 2 hours rather than 4. It works for me since most people usually come early. 

Posted by Lourdes Hoglo REALTOR® Three Village & North Shore Suffolk Co. Long Island (Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Many agents find open houses to be a great source of gaining new clients.  I do agree that security is an area for concern, especially when a large group of people come into the home and go in various directions.

Posted by Kathy Fey (Fey & Associates) over 11 years ago

You gave me a different perspective for the open house possibility. In the current market taking Sunday off is probably not a good idea. Great post!

Posted by Ken Medeiros (K&M Medeiros Real Estate) over 11 years ago

I love doing open houses...it's so much easier than prospecting by phone or mail...you know that at least 60% of the people coming through your doors are actually in the market for a home.  In fact, 80% of my business this year was from open houses.  It's just a matter of becoming adept at asking the right questions to determine who they are. 

I liked your summary and advice for sellers.  Good blog.  Thanks

Posted by Anonymous over 11 years ago

Sorry - I did not leave my name on that last comment - I guess you have to be logged in for that.

Posted by Scott Owens, REALTOR (Scott Owens Limited) over 11 years ago

Thank you for all your comments! I appreciate the input, my advise is to work the open houses with dedication, follow up, and more follow up. An active loan officer could be of great help!

Antonio

 

Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion"  www.ListedbyAntonio.com

 

 

 

Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) over 11 years ago

We do open houses here for 2 hours instead of 4.  Those 2 hours are really long when no one comes.  BUT, it seems that when the first person shows up, it opens the flood gates and the house gets full in just a matter of minutes.  Funny how that works.

Posted by Mitzi & Phyllis White & Carpenter, The Dream Team (Real Estate Central) over 11 years ago

Antonio and Alexia, It sounds as if you make open houses work for you as a team. That's wonderful. I always say, whatever works. My husband and I are west coast swing dancers.....we love to dance, and it looks like you do as well. ;-)

Pepper

Posted by Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor, AzLadyInRed (Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC) over 11 years ago

Yes Teri, we are ballroom dance competitors and manage to mix our love for ballroom dancing with our real estate practice. It works very well.

Antonio

Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) over 11 years ago

Antonio, your post inspires me to reconsider open houses. We gave up doing them because we value some down time which can be hard to come by in this business! But you are exactly right and I know there are many agents in our office who have secured buyers from them - interesting statistic that 60% of them are actually in the market....hmmmm...then that does make it more worthwhile, doesn't it?

Loved your website and your Tours. We use Visual Tours also much of the time. Frank and I have a background in the film business so we love to take our own photography and stage our homes when/as needed.

BTW we visited Buenos Aires a few years ago and absolutely loved it. Did you learn the Tango in Colombia or when you started ballroom dancing?

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 11 years ago
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