Public open houses don’t sell houses. Brokers hold them to placate sellers and make it appear that they’re doing something to move your over-priced P.O.S. Really – Bill Raveis once showed us the statistics: open houses sell about 1% of the time. It’s all about finding potential buyers, not selling your house, the same as advertising. Those glossy ads in Greenwich Magazine are placed to soothe your ego but, more importantly, to attract other sellers who are thinking of listing their homes. The ads don’t sell your house.
Think about this: a listing agent who shows your house has, one hopes, spent time with his people and has determined that they are serious buyers with the financial wherewithal to buy a home. If he or she shows up at your house with those people in tow there’s a damn good chance that they have selected yours from a dozen competitors and are seriously interested in yours. A public open house, on the other hand, draws lookers, idle people with nothing better to do with their day and, at best, serious home buyers who have no particular interest in your house. You’ll clear out of your house for this? Fool.
If you doubt any of this, consider how often your own agent doesn’t conduct an open house but instead consigns it to a novice. That’s because she knows no real buyer is going to show up (and her commission is protected in the rare instance one does, because she’ll flip the sucker fifty bucks, if anything at all, for her services that day) and the novice attends solely in the hope that she’ll meet buyers she can turn into clients of her own.
Nothing wrong with that – it’s how I gained some of my best clients when I was starting out – but if you, the homeowner, think that a public open house is accomplishing anything useful for you, think again.