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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Visions of 2005, Again?

Remember the good 'ole days?  Could the market be turning? 
I have long been a huge proponent of open houses.  I built a solid business by getting out there and consistently sitting open houses every chance I got.  I was diligent about it and I would sit nearly seven days a week.  Sometimes I get people to come through the home.  Sometimes I didn’t.  But, regardless, it was what I did.  No matter what.
Times changed, my clientele increased and I didn’t sit as often as I once did.  But, it’s back to the basics for me.
I know a number of agents that won’t hold houses open.  They just won’t do it.  They don’t believe in it and they think it’s a waste of their time. 
My philosophy may be a bit different. 
Sellers appreciate the extra marketing effort.  Their home receives significantly more attention and traffic.  Plus, as an added bonus, I am marketing myself and getting my name out there.
Sure, the neighbors all seem to come over and take a tour.  But, you know what? I don’t really care.  In fact, I want them to come to my open houses.  They may not be a buyer for that particular home, but they do know people who might be a good fit for the house.  And, when they get ready to make a move, hopefully they’ll remember me and the constant effort I put in to getting their neighbor’s home sold. 
There is always the chronic looky-lou who seems to spend every waking weekend hour touring homes with no possibility of ever becoming a buyer.  And, there are the ones who visit open houses to gain decorating ideas.  But, there are buyers, too, who are actually qualified to purchase and sometimes even end up pulling the trigger.
From all accounts, open house traffic dropped significantly this past year.  I talked with a number of real estate agents who had sat open houses and they concur.  Many had given up on them (and some even dropped their licenses and got out of the business.)  Seems as if many consumers had also given up on them as the real estate woes sucked all hope of a better future from their soul.
I spent this past weekend hosting an open house in a well-priced Scottsdale home.  I have to say, it reminded me of the “good ole days.” Nearly 40 groups of people came through the home.  The front door never closed.  Just as one group was leaving, another would arrive.  At one time, I had three different groups touring the home – I could have used an assistant, even.  It was non-stop the entire afternoon.  I was so busy I wasn’t even able to go through my e-mail on the laptop, let alone go to the bathroom. I was whooped at the end of the day.
I remember in ’05 and ’06, I’d get non-stop traffic through certain homes.  If they liked the home, they would have to think fast because the property wouldn’t last long.  Often, I’d hear all sorts of comments and usually about the price – always followed by some facial expression that included an open mouth.
I’ll tell you what; this past weekend was déjà-vu.  Open mouths and all as people couldn’t believe how the price had dropped.  I had to chuckle to myself when one couple, who were out looking for their son, said they would share what they saw with him so he could put it on his list when he came to town in late February.  I was pretty sure the home would no longer be available.
Traffic and activity is one thing – but was the time I spent showing the home productive?  As of mid-day Monday, multiple offers on the home had been submitted and I scheduled another appointment to write up an offer this afternoon. 
I’d say it was beneficial and a good use of my time.  I bet the seller is thinking the same thing.
Getting the home sold is the name of the game – the reason I believe in hosting an open house.  I’ve played with the marketing strategy over the years and I continue to tweak how I host the visitors.  But, one thing is certain in my book, they do work! 
©2011 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at

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