Why I'm Not A Motivated Seller And More On Open Houses


They say that one of the things that helps to sell a home is a motivated seller. I guess that’s where I’m faltering. Early on, I had a couple who was interested in making an offer, but I indicated that I felt I priced my house appropriately and then they backed off. More recently, I did actually receive a verbal offer on my home via my realtor. But the offer was so low that I couldn’t bring myself to do much about it. So apparently, I’m not motivated enough.

My house in Westchester has been on the market a while now. I’m embarrassed to say it’s nearing the 90-day mark (gasp!). My realtor is gently nudging me along to do a price reduction. And admittedly, one is in order. But before I do the price drop, I just had to make sure that I checked every avenue of improving the chances of selling my home.

So naturally, any article about what does or doesn’t help to sell a home catches my eye. I wrote a post about the value (or lack of value) of holding an open house way back when and I think this LA Times article confirms it for me. I’m skipping the open house. That’s not to say that open houses don’t have their place – they’re just not the most effective tool in the current market, according to what I gather. Here’s a look into what the article says:

But according to the National Assn. of Realtors’ latest profile of buyers and sellers, only 7% of all buyers visited open houses as a first step in their safari for a new house. Most people start their hunt on the Internet.

That’s not to say that open houses don’t work. They do, but not necessarily for the house in question. Rather, they help turn up new clients for your agent in the form of possible sellers of other houses. They also produce potential buyers of other houses that also are listed for sale.

But as a true selling tool? According to the association, few buyers found the place they bought at an open house.

Of course, that’s not always the case. Over the last two years, Carrie Georgitsis of Re/Max Signature in Chicago has sold maybe eight houses to buyers who first saw the homes at open houses.

By the way, I’m sure most of you are aware that we have open house tags on the Redfin map. But just in case you weren’t, check it out to see where you can do a little browsing at upcoming open houses on the market. I’ve included a few in the LAX area for curious home shoppers.

6906 W. 84th Place./3bd, 1bth/$748,000/Open House: Sunday, May 25, 2:30pm – 5pm

13075 Pacific Promenade, #401/2bd, 2bth/$599,999/Open House: Sunday, May, 25 2pm – 4pm

6220 Pacific Ave., #101/3bd, 3bth/$1,050,000/Open House: Sunday, May 25, 12pm – 4pm

  • RED

    I’ve noticed that the areas I’ve been looking in have been having fewer and fewer open houses. Seems to be the same number of listings, maybe. Just fewer open houses.

    Funny, I took it as a sign that the sellers just weren’t motivated. Which makes me less motivated to check out the house. I think maybe they’ve given up. That they don’t see a point in putting in the effort of an open house. Which leads me to makes assumptions about the condition of the house, is it clean, does it need major updating.

    I figure if they aren’t excited about showing it, I’m not excited about seeing.


  • http://www.redfin.com Christina Chan

    Interesting take on it, Red.

    I suppose I’ve never thought of it that way. I can certainly see your perspective.

    Anyone else have a thought about how the open house does or doesn’t affect your view of a home on sale?

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  • Tim Hebb

    When I listed my home in the spring of 2006 with a discount broker, I agreed that I would hold the open houses myself, which I did most weekends. The first few Sundays there was steady traffic, buts as spring dragged on into summer there were fewer and fewer lookers, most of whom seemed to be neighbors who were considering selling their own homes and just wanted to see how I was doing.

    By the time I found a buyer in July, I was sure I never wanted to go through planting those signs and sitting through that grim, lonely vigil again.

    And that was a relatively GOOD time to sell! If I had it to do over, I’d limit open houses to once a month after the first couple of weeks, and let the MLS’es and Redfin publicize them.

  • RED

    I think the idea of limiting yourself to one open house per month, or even less, is a good idea. It’s a big hassle (obviously) and now you’re more likely to get looky-loos than serious buyers.

    But that’s only because there are fewer serious buyers — not because open houses don’t work.

    I consider myself a serious buyer. I’m scouring the web, but I go to any interesting open house in the areas I’m searching. Thing is, nothing is at a price I’m comfortable with. There have been a couple where I felt if the price was lower I would have made an offer. But they are priced such that it’s not even worth it to low ball. But… if the price comes down, I’ve already seen it and can move on it.

    Would that count as an open house leading directly to a sale? I doubt it. But the open house certainly would have been a factor for me.


  • http://www.redfin.com Christina Chan

    Thanks for the comments, guys! : )