The debate over the effectiveness of open houses migrates from the New York Times to StreetEasy.com this week, where the do-it-yourself audience disputes the contention that open houses are just a tool for agents to find new clients.
While a few regard open houses “as effective as first dates,” the overwhelming response was that they work, according to buyers and sellers who said they had deals to prove it.
Open houses are “priceless,” swears one first-time buyer on StreetEasy. We “really got to understand the market and the neighborhoods/buildings.” He or she made three offers and struck a deal in the course of attending 75 open houses.
The alternative to an open house is making individual appointments with brokers--tantamount to “trying to herd cats,” says one experienced buyer, who finds it easier and less pressured (no agents breathing down your neck) to “schedule a full Sunday of hoofing around.” Sellers have the added benefit of overflow traffic from similar open houses on the same day, as folks who overlooked your property online “happen to wander in and fall in love.”
In fact, almost all commenters called for more open houses (two or three a month, if not every week) and longer viewing times—up to 4 hours. They also suggested that sellers and their brokers:
- Vary the time—1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. one Sunday, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. the next.
- Schedule a midweek, early evening showing every two to three weeks at least.
- Add a “brokers only” open house at lunchtime on a weekday, where brokers can preview the property so as not to waste the buyers’ time.