Holding my final open home was a little surreal and I couldn’t help but reflect on how they have been a major component of my 30 year real estate career.
Back in 1989 open homes were rare, mostly at the most once per week per property and never on a business day. After all, it wasn’t really kosher to advertise an address, that was seen as too invasive of a client’s privacy. Besides, the real estate agent held the stock and purchasers would have to ask to find out what property was held at any one time as the salesperson controlled the market. The internet didn’t exist and knowing a good real estate agent who held/controlled the listings was important in order to get the jump on any other purchasers in the hunt.
Open homes became more popular and real estate salespeople soon began to appreciate the marketing benefits of sourcing prospective purchasers and sellers along with meeting and greeting the locals.
I look back and open homes have had a huge influence on the success of my real estate business over the years, a great way of “keeping the shop door open” and that one extra open home might just flush out that right buyer, as it did just last week prior to an auction.
On the flip side they came at a big cost, as they largely controlled when I would start and finish work on the weekends, sometimes up to eight in one day! Then of course the hours spent on the phone or sending emails gathering in that ever important feedback for our sellers. They meant sacrificing precious family time and determined when we would take weekends off or sometimes even determined our holidays. Certainly they were an important factor in the level of the service we provided and what consequently became expected of us. Come rain, hail or snow we would be there – to keep the open home flag flying. Today’s purchasers expect open homes and like being able to choose which homes they inspect in a non-threatening way of being able to come and go as they please.
Service-focused agencies regard it as best practice to hold at least three open homes per week for the first four weeks on the market. We now even have open home apps for collating and tracking interest – a great way to manage feedback and target-market prospective purchasers when listing the house down the road.
So, in summary and being honest, I’d have to say that the whole open home thing has been a bitter-sweet pill in reality. Moving forward I am really relishing the thought of having much more uninterrupted time. Will I miss open homes, probably not, but unquestionably they are a necessary evil for any successful real estate team.