Are open houses more important now than ever before?
That's a point of discussion that came up in my weekly telephone conversation this morning with my accountability buddy, Carol Skees.
While open houses are common practice in my area of the country (San Francisco, San Mateo County, and the Silicon Valley,) I believe they are more important than ever. That seems to be the case in New Mexico too, where Carol practices.
Thinking just of condominiums, this year I have had 4 condo listings -- all 4 of them sold to buyers who came to the open houses before they contacted their Realtor.
This is the pattern:
- buyer goes online; spots an interesting property; goes to the open house
- buyer likes what they see, then calls their agent to learn more (or I refer them to a colleague who would do a great job for them)
- buyer makes an offer
I'm seeing a similar shift in preference with my own buyers, especially younger ones. They find interesting properties online (or I send them a list of ones I think they should see); they go to the open houses; they give me a run-down on what they liked or didn't like, and we take it from there.
In our fast-paced market, with little inventory and many buyers, I urge buyers not to wait for the open houses, but their preference really is to visit the open houses.
I'd love to hear from you: are open houses important in your area? Are you seeing a similar change in buyers' habits? Is this true in all market segments, or primarily entry level?
Let's hear it from you - perhaps we're on the edge of yet another tipping point? I'd love to hear from buyers as well as real estate professionals - share your thoughts, please.