Are Open Houses of any Real Benefit Anymore?
The debate about the effectiveness of open houses as a marketing tactic will undoubtedly go on, but there will be no Realtors Nationwide Open House Weekend this year. This event was pushed by brokerages in the past and the frenzy of activity ensued with agents trying to actively hold open houses for the public. The communications directors of state and local Realtor associations voted against moving forward with a national event in 2014 at the National Association of Realtors' annual meeting this past November.
"They just felt that the event had run its course," said NAR spokeswoman Sara Wiskerchen.
This large event, typically held in early Spring, offered Realtors a chance to connect with prospective clients about housing markets, home-ownership, and the value of working with a Realtor. For 2014, however, the event would be unlikely to offer up one benefit of prior years — the opportunity to see a wide range of homes for sale. Many real estate associations said their inventory was too low to warrant any interest from members," said Leanne High, a NAR public affairs associate.
With inventory shortages first becoming notable in 2012, inventory shortages have now become common nationwide. Housing inventory last month fell 9.3 percent to 1.86 million existing homes available for sale — a 4.6-month supply of homes at the current sales pace and far from the six months widely considered to be a balance between a buyer's market and a seller's market according to NAR statistics.
Open Houses Still Hold Ranging Benefits
If an open house is held utilizing savvy marketing methods, they can be very effective in bringing interested buyers to the table. Bear in mind, you need a lot of buyers to an open house to generate any offers. What Realtors and Sellers alike need to realize is the average age of a first time buyer these days is 31 while the average age of a "trade up" buyer is 47. The number of first time buyers actually dwarfs the trade up buyers. The average age of Realtors is 56. Ok, older and more experienced right? Well, I find that to be true in the middle of a transaction much of the time, however, does that Realtor Skype, or know how to use Facebook as a means of messaging? What about texting? Many young adults these days disdain voice mails and prefer texting. Realtors need to understand, most buyers no longer drive around looking for signs, in fact, the signs are usually seen "accidentally". No, these days they sit at a computer, browse their smart phones, laptops or I-Pads for homes. Realtors need to understand that buyers are more comfortable with them, if Realtors can relate and understand more how clients search and more importantly, communicate.
So, when your Realtor has an open house, the open house itself needs to be marketed on the internet and very important; socially shared. Realtors benefit from meeting people and making more clients at an open house, but again, if done correctly, you may get enough interested buyers to actually see an offer. If those buyers come back on places like facebook and openly discuss what they did/didn't like about it may (in many cases) garner more sharing and other interested parties. Just placing some open house signs around the block won't cut it anymore.