I often hear from both home sellers and agents that it is not appropriate (and therefore not recommended) to hold a weekend open house for the public if the subject property is a multi-million dollar luxury home. In fact, I heard the comment so much over the years, that I almost got to the point of believing it! Well, I still don’t… generally speaking.
Before I dig deep into the arguments which may be used to validate one side or the other, let me state clearly that I understand the difference between an estate-quality property and a more standard home. I made a good living understanding and leveraging such difference. The marketing strategy and scope are indeed altogether different, because we are not dealing with the same buyers, in terms of means and needs, nor are we dealing with the same type of sellers. That’s why Intero has a “Prestigio” Division by the way.
However, if we agree to keep things simple, we will probably agree that, irrespective of means and needs, buyers, in all price ranges, are…buyers. They share the same emotions and desires. The same thing can be said of sellers. Principals, on either side, always appreciate when we facilitate & deliver on their respective ultimate objectives, whether it is to buy or sell.
If they wish to sell, their chances of winning largely depend on the number of prospective buyers who get to see the house. If they wish to buy, their chances of finding the right home largely depend on the opportunity they have to access the properties they may like. That is of course the value of the open house option. It is easy: buyers can look at various homes, with or without the family, whenever they have a little time and when they are in the mood.
Of course Realtors are best to guide buyers through the maze of options and explain the pros & cons of each location and each property. Still, sometimes, it is fine to stroll around town, relaxed, and do home shopping as we do window shopping in a mall. My wife loves to do both!
So what’s wrong, if anything, about an open house at the high end?
Here is a list of the legitimate arguments being presented by the critics or the skeptics among home-sellers, followed by the counter-arguments, whether legitimate or not:
- Q- “It makes no sense to have an open house in my price range” – A- Maybe it does not but we should not disqualify the option. The open house could very well be attended by…wealthy people too.
- Q- “My house is way too large to be held open” – A- If it is too big for one agent, it might not be for two. If pertinent, we can plan for three agents to be present.
- Q- “I would rather have my agent welcome visitors and show them the house” – A- Sure, and this is exactly what is likely to happen, but this preference should not necessarily eliminate the open house option.
- Q- “I don’t want undesirable people to see my house” – A- This one is a little tougher since we cannot judge people on a quick look. A wealthy friend of mine was prevented one day from entering The Ritz (where he had a room for the week) in Paris because he wore jeans! .. He canceled his reservation… Of course, on the seller’s advice and his consent, we can demand name, contact info and even proof of identity to visitors, whenever needed.
- Q- “I have too many valuables” – A- When a house is for sale, whether open or not over the weekend, there are elementary precautions to take as to reduce or avoid altogether the risk of a visitor stealing pricey objects. Anything small and of great value, such as jewelry or art should not be offered to the eyes, they should be under lock or in a different place.
The open house option adds a new dimension to the marketing of a property. Many homes, regardless of price, sell on open house or as a direct result of an open house. This option needs to be discussed with a responsible agent on a case basis, rather than arbitrarily be discarded. Good luck.