Open Houses: Pros and Cons

Many home owners feel that an open house will give great exposure, increasing the chance that a buyer will come along and fall in love with their home.

The reality is that most serious buyers employ a realtor to seek out the home that fits their budget and desired amenities. Buyers now have access to many websites that can lead them to their dream home. The Ty Wallace Team represents buyers and employs the multiple listing service to weed out and cherry pick the property that best fits our client’s needs. Visiting an open house can give perspective to a buyer or agent or seller. Nothing is quite like a tour in person, much better than looking at photos on a website.

A typical open house that runs from 12p to 4p on a Saturday or Sunday may have 6 to 15 groups. These visitors will likely include a handful of curious neighbors, a couple of realtors with their clients, and the rest just possible buyers that may or may not be ready to buy. Really hot summer days are not good open house days- buyer’s like to stay cool and don’t like driving around in the heat- they stay home.

The open house is a nice tool for the host Realtor to meet the visitors. It is really free advertising for the host agent (less the initial cost of the open house signs and marketing materials they bring along). I find that most of the buyers are not exactly looking for a home like the one they are visiting. They want a different floor plan, a larger or smaller lot, a home with or without a pool, or a view……Mainly a different price point. Following signs along the street- is like finding a needle in a haystack. Remember serious buyer’s employ a realtor that knows the community in which they want to live.

The benefit of the open house is primarily to the host Realtor. All of those signs leading to the property give an impression to the local homeowners that Ty Wallace is always working- he has open houses all the time! At open houses I get to meet buyers that may not have a dedicated agent already. Even better we get to mingle with the neighbors that visit- these are likely future sellers that are sizing up your home, giving them a perspective of what their home might be worth. The host Realtor might get a new seller in the future! Great for the Realtor!

I am now running into cities that are greatly restricting the ability to advertise open houses with signs that sit on the corners. Chino has ordinances of allowing just 4 signs leading to the property and none can be on city owned land. Most busy corners fall into that category, so no signage allowed. No signs with flags that give easy exposure. You can only install on private land, after getting permission from the homeowner of that property of course. Any violation can result in $250 per illegally placed sign, charged to the realtor. And code enforcement will remove the sign the day of the open house, having the Realtor retrieve on Monday morning from the impound storage. Chino Hills is cracking down too.

Some Realtors take advantage and leave their inexpensive (not the tent type with flags that cost $60 to $70 per) signs up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on busy intersections or in front of a popular shopping center exit. Eventually code enforcement will remove those signs, but hey the Realtor says, “it only cost me $5 in a cheap sign, worth the effort.” This makes Realtors look bad. I don’t work that way, but I see it happen.

I agree with cities and homeowners that all of the open house signs look tacky and clutter up city landscape. Some are downright dangerously placed, where they can be tripped over or impede foot traffic. In talking with Chino code enforcement- there is a concern from law enforcement that some drivers swerve over several lanes just to follow an open house sign, creating dangerous driving conditions.

Risk to the seller that holds an open house: theft or property damage. Though minimal and highly unlikely, I have had a seller mention that an expensive perfume bottle came up missing from her bathroom vanity after an open house. I have not personally had a client with property damage but you could imagine a broken curio or so forth from little ones being curious.

Hope this gives you some insight not yet realized,

The Ty Wallace Team is here for you!