The value of holding open houses is a debate now under way in the real estate community (well, at least in my own mind it is). There are agents that are holding open houses every Sunday until hopefully a condo sells. Is this an effective marketing tool in the 21st century, or does it make the homeowner look desparate?

Personally, I don’t believe this is the way to sell a condo. Each condo and each seller is different, and the marketing that might work for one condo is different from another condo.

Some sellers, especially those sellers who have been in their home for a very long time, remember how they bought their homes — and it involved an open house. So they believe that’s what their agent should be doing today.

But one of the problems with open houses is that buyers see a street sign, don’t know the price of the advertised property and are simply curious and so they stop by. Maybe they are looking to buy, maybe not. Maybe this was just something to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Neighbors love open houses. They really want to see their neighbor’s abode, compare it pricewise to their unit and know what’s going on in their condo association or neighborhood. So, they come over and knock. “I have a relative who is looking, okay if I come through?”? Or: “My kids wanted me to see this. They are looking for a condo.”

Mostly neighbors are not comfortable just saying, “I live in the same condo complex and I am just curious.”

Some think real estate agents do well holding open houses. All of the drive-by traffic or visiting neighbors may not sell your client’s property, but they may turn into a client/customer for the agent. In other words, time well spent.

I do believe that an open house is a good thing when a property is first put on the market and the rest is a discussion between an agent and a homeowner.

Okay, I’m rambling on here. Let me ask you a question. Do you think in the next 5-10 years technology will replace the need for an open house?

Final thoughts for buyers, sellers and agents: Do you think open houses are useful? When you go to an open house, do you sign-in and provide personal information such as correct name, phone number and e-mail address?

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