Seems like I’ve hit on a topic people want to talk about based on the comments I’ve received from my latest posts.
As for Open Houses, the statistics say that the probablity that you will sell your home through an Open House is low. Somewhere between 1-2% of homes are sold through an Open House. But, what you don’t know is if someone that attends an Open House might talk to someone else about it who then asks a Realtor to show them the home. If you are willing to vacate your home for 4-5 hours on a Saturday or Sunday and don’t mind strangers walking through your home, then I’d look for a Listing Agent that will agree to do lots of Open Houses. You never know if that one Buyer will visit an Open House that’s interested in your home and will give an offer on it. If your home is vacant, why not have Open Houses every week?
Agents do Open Houses for one primary purpose…to get sales leads. If the Listing Agent is a busy agent, you typically won’t see them sitting on Open Houses but it will be some other agent in the office that’s looking for business (and there are lots of them out there right now). If you are wanting to have Open Houses done on your property, you’ll want to go with a Listing Agent that has a lot of people in their office so there will be someone willing to do an Open House. It also depends on the home too. Some homes are in an area where they will get lots of traffic during an Open House. You’ll have agents in the office begging to do an Open House for this type of home. On the flip side, there are homes where you won’t have anyone come by during a 4 hour period, weekend after weekend. Those are hard to get an agent to sit on after they’ve done it once.
If you are the one that is going to Open Houses, you’ll be the “prospect”. Some Open Houses you’ll feel like you’ve stepped on a used car lot while others the agent will sit back and just hope you’ll take their business card when you leave. If you are there to take a look at the home, my best suggestion is just tell them you are already working with a Realtor if asked. If they ask who, just tell them Keith Byrd from Century 21. That should get them to back off and let you focus on looking at the home rather than having them ask you non-stop questions to see if you’re going to bring them a sale. If you end up liking the agent, you can always pick up their business card and contact them later.
By telling them you are working with another agent, it may also help later if you decide to make an offer on that house. If you say you don’t have a Realtor, the agent sitting on the Open House may make a claim to the commission if you end up buying that home through another Realtor since they will say they were the “first to show”. If it’s the Listing Agent that is sitting on the Open House it probably won’t be an issue, but if it’s an agent from the office that’s not the Listing Agent, the claim to commission gets a little more complex. But, if you attend an Open House and the agent says they know of another home that you might like and if they show you it, they can claim the commission if you end up buying it through someone else.
Sound confusing?? What I’d do is to make sure that if an agent shows you a home outside of an Open House, it’s the agent you plan to use. Don’t work with multiple agents unless you want to risk running into a commission dispute. If that happens, the agent’s won’t be 100% focused on Buyer or Seller, which you want them to be. Also, agents only get paid only if they represent you on a sale. No one wants to work for free so don’t have an agent do research for you or show you homes, and then use someone else unless it’s for a good reason.