Most people who go to an open house aren’t actually interested in buying it

You have a house for sale. You hold an open house. But not everybody who attends is there because they're interested in buying the house. The first wave are neighbors who are curious about the house they've seen for years only from the outside. Then there are the people who just enjoy looking at other people's houses. And occasionally, people drop by looking for chicken wings.

Comments (10)
  1. Mark (The other Mark) says:

    The article touches on Investors, but there are a similar group of people who I believe deserve their own category, based on my own experience.

    The people looking to sell a seemingly similar house. When I was looking to sell my home, on recommendation of my real estate agent, I attended several Open Houses for homes that appeared somewhat similar. This helped ensure that we had a reasonable asking price, compared to other homes in the general area.

    Additionally, we were able to highlight areas that we felt differentiated our house from these seemingly similar offerings.

    And finally, we were able to see first hand how the competition was staging Open Houses.

  2. Cheong says:

    That reminds me of a film long ago which features a family that always go to open houses to enjoy free sandwiches or so…

  3. tsrblke says:

    I can’t speak for Open houses specifically, but my parents tend to go look at Developer Display homes whenever they feel like redecorating.

  4. Eric TF Bat says:

    I went to the Open House next door so I could get a feel for the market.  That’s because I was avoiding the Open House being simultaneously held and my (former) house.  That house sold on the first weekend after having three times as many people through as the Agent was expecting.  And the house I went to see is going to sell at auction for a quite ridiculous fee, unless I’m mistaken.  The market in Canberra, Australia, is ridiculous at the moment…

  5. ::Wendy:: says:

    The first open house I had was actually rather like a neighbourhood party,  I gather, my realtor told me I couldn’t be there.  My neighbours dropped round afterwards to thnk me and ask me if specific peices of my furniture were for sale.  I was sad to have missed it.

  6. Steve says:

    I live in Hudson, the community cited in the article.  And, my wife and I are 30-something curiosity seekers who occasionally look at homes we have no interest in buying.

    Never have I seen chicken wings, though.  Some agents bake cookies because they believe the smell invokes good mental schemas and can create an emotional attachment to the property.

    BTW, Hudson isn’t too high priced compared to any major market.  $400K gets one 3500 sq. ft. in a great school district.

  7. Jared says:

    Open houses are for sales people to find new clients.  

  8. Mark Jonson says:

    I live about 50 miles from Hudson, certainly been there a few times. As an affluent suburb of the Cleveland/Akron area, these homes are rather upscale. I’d be curious enough just to see what they look like inside that I’d go through an open house.

  9. Aaron G says:

    So very true.  And the first comment is also true.  We flat-out refused to do any open houses during the last sale because there were at least 15 families in the immediate neighbourhood all trying to sell, and their open houses became free competitive intelligence-gathering opportunities for other agents.  "Oh sure, they’re selling for $20,000 less than we are, but they’ve got a tiny little kitchen with old appliances that you’re going to have to replace in a year.  And the basement smells like dog pee."  I wish I were joking.

    Some of these people were so desperate, they would actually go through normal channels in the absence of open houses, booking what ended up being a 5-minute showing through the agents just to scope out the interior conditions.  So as you can imagine, the open houses were free-for-alls.

  10. ATZ Man says:

    I go to open houses when I need to meet a real estate agent.

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