The Open House is the New Showing


The Open House is the New Showing


There have been many debates over whether or not holding an open house is necessary to sell a house. Historically, we’ve done open houses to give people the opportunity to see the home, but honestly, the majority of those people are not usually serious buyers.

Which begs the question, why hold an open house? The answer has more to do with how the buying process has changed than the open house itself. The advent of technology has actually made the open house a focal point of the selling process. People look at a house online and then go to the open house – usually without their agent – to get a closer look. Today’s buyer has been trained to have access by themselves, but they also need more attention. This is why real estate professionals need to rethink the process. 

An open house is the new showing. 

Of course, the optimal situation to show a house is not with 20 other people. Whereas open houses have generally just been the first level of involvement with buyers, a showing is where you are able to engage more with the customer. But, many buyers today prefer the lower-pressure environment of an open house to the attentive agent at a showing. So, how do you identify those who are serious and engage with them on a new level with other people around?

At The Dreyfus Group, we are addressing this new way of thinking in different ways. Instead of one agent on-site for an open house, we will assign multiple agents for those properties we expect might be busy. And we have gone deeper with our marketing materials. Instead of one sheet listing basic statistics for the property, we have more polished, detailed brochures available that help “speak” for us whenever we can’t.

The first couple of open houses held for a property are a big deal. Potential buyers have done their first looks at the house online, so they are deeper into the process than they have been in the past because of this pre-work. And this trend has extended to high-end houses which never used to be open. We had one $10 million house on the market for more than a year. The sellers did not want to hold an open house despite our urging that we do so. They finally agreed to try it…and the house sold during the first open house.

More and more, we are living in a world of the do-it-yourself consumer. About two years ago, Nordstrom created an in-store phone app after discovering that customers preferred a more seamless transition from online to in-store shopping, minimizing their interaction with sales associates. As the way we do business changes, the real estate job changes along with it. The dynamics on the buy side have changed – buyers can do more things for themselves, and in some cases, do things better. 

But just because the job of the real estate agent has changed, it doesn’t mean that they are no longer an indispensable part of the process. In fact, it makes the listing agent more valuable. Rather than having one agent standing next to a plate of cookies and stack of flyers while dozens of people flow through the house, the new model demands a deeply informed agent, or even two, ready to discuss the house with potential buyers who are already somewhat familiar and looking for a more satisfying, low-pressure experience.

Consider the new open house as just one of the tools you have at your disposal to find the right buyer for your property as quickly as possible.

Nick Anderson