How Valuable are Open Houses?

This is a “thought in process” kind of post. One of my clients isn’t ready to buy yet, but wants to “size up the market.” To make that easier, every weekend I send over a list of open houses with the right size, location, etc.

A few weeks ago, that list started getting very short. What had been 8-12 homes, dropped down to less than half that. Today the list was only 4 properties. The number of open houses on any given weekend varies, of course. Holiday weekends are typically very light, for example.

When there didn’t seem to be a common reason for the short list, I started looking around. Have the prices gone up enough to price the client out of the desired market? Are homes in that price range selling before the open house?

Changing the price range didn’t help. Prices are up a tad, but overall sales prices are leveling off, with very low rate of increase. The number of sales hasn’t gone up dramatically, so the homes my client wants are out there, for sale. Agents just aren’t holding them open.

There are probably a lot of reasons for that. I’ll start asking around to see if there’s a consensus on why it’s happening. It could be crime reports. It could be the election year. Probably, it’s a combination of several disparate things.

More important is knowing that only about 15% of the available properties are actually showing up on the weekend open house list. And, making sure my clients, both seller and buyer, understand the situation.

From a seller’s perspective, this could mean a longer time to sell. To a buyer, it could mean we need to schedule “buyer tours” on the weekend instead of visiting open houses.

All in all. It means I need to do some research to better serve my clients, on both ends of the transaction.