2011 Oct 11th

The Value of Hoboken Open Houses

open-house-illustration1If you are interviewing agents to list your property, and you are told open houses are a big waste of time, and that appointments are the only things that matter – you are interviewing a liar! Say “thank you” and move on to the next candidate.

Open houses enable people who are not yet working with an agent to easily see many properties in a single day.  They may be just beginning their search, browsing just for fun, scoping out the competition for the sale of their own property, or seeing what else is out there after having made an offer on a different property.  Sometimes however, they are real buyers – and their visit to your open house, by chance or by design, may lead to a deal.

It’s true that appointments are WAY more telling of the interest in a particular property.  You can have open houses every day, but if no one is making appointments to show your property, it’s probably overpriced.  That doesn’t mean open houses have no value.  The Turoff Team believes in open houses and we host more of them than most other realtors. On numerous occasions we have received offers that resulted in sales on properties first seen in one of our open houses.

So why would someone tell you that open houses are ineffective?  The answer is simple – they represent a lot of work and expense for the agent.  If all an agent does is post your listing on the MLS and then wait for other agents to bring buyers, they can handle more listings (and earn more commissions.)  To effectively host open houses lots of work must be done.

A good agent will place an ad in the Hoboken Reporter, update the OH calendar on multiple internet sites like Trulia, Zillow and Craigslist and they’ll tweet it and post it on their Facebook page.  They’ll create flyers and drive around placing signs on Washington St. (and then go out again at the end of the day collecting those signs.)  They’ll blow up balloons for the front of your property (to attract attention), create sign-in sheets and door hangings – and finally and most importantly, they’ll dedicate three hours (or more) of their weekend to sitting in your home waiting for visitors to ring the bell.

Weekends and after-work hours are a realtor’s bread-and-butter.  It’s when every buyer wants to go out to look at properties.  For me to host an open house from 1 to 3 on a Sunday occupies my time from 10am until 4pm.  I could probably show two sets of buyers 10 to 15 properties during that time.  That’s the REAL reason your are being told open houses are ineffective.  Agents just don’t want to give up their weekends to host them and help you sell.

There are agents who will host a limited number of open houses for you, but who will put minimal effort into the marketing so as to minimize their time commitment.  You should ask the people you interview how many open houses they are committed to hosting, if they plan to host their own open houses (if an agent has 50 listings, how much time do you think they are commiting to yours) and how they plan to market the open house.  One sign on your corner and a flyer on the door won’t cut it.

So before you sign on the dotted line and commit the sale of your valuable property to a single agent for the usual six months, ask the right questions and get clear answers.  If the agent tells you “we’ll have to see what activity we get at the first open house” or that your property will sell before you need to have any open houses, be very skeptical.  Once they hook you and get you to sign, they may not really be willing to put in the time it takes to do right by you.

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