Without a doubt, this is one of the biggest myths in real estate marketing. When I first became an agent in 1999, I spent every weekend and some weekdays hosting open houses all over Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, and the Conejo Valley. Sometimes I’d host two in one day. I didn’t host my own listings since I didn’t have any at the time, I sat at homes listed by busy agents in my office who didn’t have time to sit an open house. Perfect for a rookie like me!
After all the countless hours I spent putting up signs, staging the house, and waiting for buyers to come, I never sold one house as a result of an open house. Not one and never even close! Why is that? Because open houses don’t sell homes! In fact, less than 1% of homes sell at an open house. That’s an official number from the National Association of Realtors. Sellers don’t know this statistic because we keep it a secret.
Why did I spend all that time hosting open houses and why did the agent let me? Because open houses serve two purposes:
1. Sellers ask for them because they believe it’s a good marketing tool.
2. It’s an opportunity for the agent sitting the open house to meet future buyers.
While I never came close to selling an open house I sat, I did meet lots of buyers who bought other homes. Most of the people who visit open houses are either curious neighbors or people who are 6+ months away from buying a home. Open houses provide a great way for an agent to meet a future buyer before they have an agent.
Not in My Neighborhood!
Inevitably, you will hear from someone who has a friend who found his/her dream house at an open house. Keep in mind that some areas are different. In some areas, homes don’t get input immediately into the MLS like they do here. In some areas, it’s common practice for an agent to have an “exclusive listing” that the agent tries to sell himself before putting it in the MLS. This is common in a hot market when homes are selling in days if not hours like the Bay Area during the last boom. It is not a common practice in the Conejo Valley.
Don’t get kicked out of your house on a Sunday afternoon so an agent can leverage your home as a marketing tool for himself. If you are dying to have an open house, there’s always an agent eager to host one, but don’t expect it to sell your home. Personally, I retired from them years ago. I only spend my time on proven marketing that actually gets the home sold.
I’d love to help you sell your house!