Condo Open House or Not?

{Repost from the originally published article, on Sept 05th 2011. It has been updated to reflect the current market conditions}

One of my colleagues has a condo for sale, and he has done a few open houses since he listed the property a couple of months ago. He advertises in the local papers, in the MLS, on the street signs and at the building’s main entrance, so there’s no doubt that people know that there’s an open house.

The first open house had two to three visitors. The second one had one visitor, and ever since then, every time they held an open house (Sunday 2:00 to 4:00 PM) no one else had ever showed up.

So here comes the question I often ask my peers:

Is it worth doing open houses for Condos?

And the answer, in my opinion, varies depending on a few factors. An open house (or a few) will be worth it if:

  1. The building is located in a highly transited residential area. In this case, there will be other properties for sale, with that, other people looking at the units as well, creating more traffic towards one’s property.
  2. Good weather conditions; on a nice sunny day people like going out for home visits. Contrary to that, holding open houses on a (heavy) rainy day, or extremely cold, and let’s not forget to include: when a snow storm it’s expected, it has been proven to be a complete waste of time. For obvious reasons.
  3. If the condo has been recently listed. The new “unit for sale” will get the buyer’s attention for a Sunday visit. It will be smart to hold a couple of open houses to get the interested parties in – be it buyers or brokers. But in the case that the condo has already been in the market for a while [months], with no offers, there is no point to hold open houses before addressing the more important issues, like say, pricing or marketing, (whatever the case may be)

According to recent 2015 statistics , only 9% of buyers come from an open house visit.

I can already hear some saying: “Yes but I had a sale where the buyer came from an open house”. And yes, it has happened to many in the course of their real estate careers. However, this is becoming the exception, not the rule.

So before asking your broker (or telling your client, if you are a broker): “Do open houses every Sunday until it gets sold” You might want to reconsider using [or having the broker use] that valuable time and invest it in other ways to market the property. Make sure your marketing strategies also covers social media and virtual visits.

Love to hear your comments on this topic. I know many of you won’t agree, and I would like to know why do you think open houses are good to hold in condos.