When I first started my career as a real estate agent, back in 2009, I was told that an open house is your storefront to get buyers. Fourteen years and over three hundred transactions later, I beg to differ.
Open house is the listing agent’s opportunity to showcase the property. When I meet with a seller, I want to understand what made them buy the home and what kept them there. I also want to know what changes or improvements have been made and whether there were any wish list items the sellers never made it around to. I want to understand what contributes to the overall value of the property.
There is a psychology to this. Buying a home marks a turning point in someone’s life. They will spend the next few months, years, and even decades in this property. What is it about the neighborhood that might draw them in? Are the neighbors friendly? Do they have block parties? How close are the grocery stores, shopping, and entertainment? Did the seller do upgrades for the purpose of selling, or were the upgrades done with the intention for the home to be more functional?
When a buyer first enters the house I say to them, “Take a look around and when you are done I can tell you about the upgrades and the neighborhood.” This gives the buyer(s) peace of mind they will not be bothered and can take their time in looking at the property; it also reduces the stress of being pestered by the open house agent where most buyers may feel rushed to leave the house.
Remember, buyers look at a lot of property. They may overlook the wainscotting that was recently installed, or the electrical upgrade the previous owner spent thousands on. The may not see the custom fixtures, nifty pot rack, soft close cabinets, brand new roof, or oversized water heater that give the property strong resale value. They may not be aware of the wide streets, ample parking, or neighbors that keep up with their properties. By taking the time to have this conversation with the buyer(s) I am evoking the emotional aspect of their purchase. I am also pointing out how these upgrades will save them money, contribute to their daily functioning, and put them in a position to sell for more, should they decide to sell in the future.
Buyer’s agents do not always take the time to call on behalf of their client. Oftentimes, buyers find property and attend open houses without their agent’s help. The open house is an opportunity to share with them information their agent may not know or accidentally leave out of conversations. It has been my experience these interactions equate to the highest and best offer possible for sellers I represent. Rarely do I end up working with buyers from an open house and I do not represent buyers on my listings, with minor exceptions. I am of the opinion that to represent each client’s best interest, I work with one type of client at a time, the buyer or the seller.
An agent’s fiduciary duty is to represent the best interest of the client; not the commission. When you hire an agent, ask them “How do you fulfill your fiduciary duty and represent my best interest.” After interviewing a few agents and asking this question, you will be better equipped to choose an agent that is right for you.