During the pandemic, I wondered if open houses would ever return to the marketing and prospecting powerhouse they have long been in the industry. Well, wonder no more. Open days are back.
I recently spent a Sunday afternoon visiting several open houses in my neighborhood. I often do these secret shopping activities to speak with agents, learn about the high-end selling process, and stay in touch with my local market. However, this was the first secret shopping I had done since pre-pandemic times, and let’s just say the world has changed.
Inventories, inflation and interest rates dominate the headlines. Multiple offers are the norm, and buyer frustration is heartbreaking. While we’ve had historic transaction volumes nationally, it’s been a tough few years and agents are tired. Not to mention the looming dark cloud of a market downturn just around the corner. So when is it time to breathe, regroup and recharge?
I visited four open days on my secret shopping afternoon. Each had open door signage, at least at the end of the driveway, if not in several places, guiding visitors to the property. But sadly, that’s about the only box I could effectively check on the “How to Run an Open House” checklist.
The rest of my experience was frankly shocking.
- None of the agents had an attendance sheet or registration information.
- I was not given any sign-up sheet or any information about the house.
- I was not asked my name or any kind of qualifying questions.
- I had carte blanche to explore the houses with several other people at the same time. There was no monitoring by the officer.
- I wasn’t offered a single business card or even a hint of a follow up.
I understand. The market is crazy, and we know that virtually any new listing has a high probability of selling out within days. I’ve even had agents tell me they don’t even want to talk to buyers right now because they’re asking for too much work and the bidding process is too competitive.
I have some huge issues with this mindset.
You have a duty to the seller to protect their home during an open house. These agents should have taken much more care and diligence. If a problem arose during the event, officers could not share who visited the property that afternoon.
As an agent, you are missing a huge opportunity to build your sphere of influence. Your database is the lifeline of your business. This market won’t last forever, and when it does change, you’ll wish you had the opportunity to meet dozens of potential buyers on a Sunday afternoon. Many of these buyers will not buy today but will buy in the future. Many of these buyers are also sellers. Is this how they would like an open house on their home to be conducted? Did I mention the loss of referral opportunities? Oh yes, there are too.
Leaner times are ahead. Now is the time to start making changes to ensure the future of your business.
- Don’t take shortcuts. To do work. Prepare and play the long game. You will thank yourself later. Invest in relationships and consistently build your high-end earnings (commission earnings).
- Think about your costs. Look at all the expenses you’ve paid for in the past two years. What brought a return? What needs to be adjusted as we move into a different market?
Fathom Realty has helped thousands of agents increase sales and reduce expenses. Our first agent brand philosophy, the technology and marketing tools you need to grow your business, and the training and support needed to thrive in any market have become a proven combination. So are you preparing for your next chapter? Learn more about Fathom.
About Wendy Forsthye
Wendy is Chief Strategy Officer of Fathom Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: FTHM), a technology-driven national real estate services platform integrating residential brokerage, mortgage, title, insurance and SaaS offerings to brokers and agents by leveraging its proprietary cloud. intelliAgent-based software. Wendy has spent her career helping major brands, brokerages and agents grow their businesses. She has become a branding and growth leader by combining operational excellence with an agent-centric philosophy. You can reach Wendy at Wendy@FathomInc.com.