Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Open Houses

As the weather improves, we are seeing more and more open houses, and more and more buyers are showing up. I guess it's not surprising that many of them are first-time homebuyers, and I guess it's not surprising that many of them are unrepresented--that is, they come to the open house without an agent or an agency agreement.

Since many of these buyers are younger, it should stand to reason that they read about the open houses on the Internet, where we can put open house notices. Interestingly, we do get a fair number of visitors from newspaper ads, which seems old-fashioned for Gen X and Gen Y buyers. Some are just driving around and come in when they see the sign.

Many of us now do a goodly portion of our shopping on the web, but there are certain things that are hard to buy that way (although I do have a friend who bought a tuxedo for his son's wedding on the web, his wife made him buy another one in person!). Houses, despite better and better virtual tours, fall into that category. You have to look in person at the place you're going to buy.

The new generation of homebuyers doesn't want to plan ahead for house shopping, any more than they want to plan Saturday night early in the week. Therefore, open houses are the most efficient way of looking at properties without having to make an appointment, and hence the high number of buyers visiting open houses these days.

What does this mean for sellers? Ironically, the oldest means of advertising--signs and open houses--are once again at the forefront of our collection of sales tools. Overlook them at your peril, and keep an open mind. And, of course, clean and de-clutter your house!