It’s been two and a half years of not doing public open houses, with virtual-only 3D walkthroughs and live Facebook videos to provide people access to homes during the pandemic.
Open houses are the norm, once again. This means people can once again step inside a home for a tactile feel for the living space.
Unique properties, in particular, seem to be served very well by open houses. While virtual tours are pretty amazing, it’s not the same as standing in the environment, feeling it, smelling it, and walking through and seeing it with your own eyes.
Today, we’ll talk about post-pandemic open house etiquette and whether open houses help sell homes or are becoming a thing of the past.
Post-Pandemic Open House Safety, Comfort, and Etiquette
Overall, it seems like people are ready to visit an open house, and most are respectful of giving others space.
As a realtor, it’s important to manage the people in the house and ensure you’re watching their behaviour. Many people are still concerned about their health and continue to wear masks.
You must be respectful if asked to wear paper booties, put on a mask, or wait outside while another couple goes through. The realtor, other visitors, or the owner may be immunocompromised. It’s a private residence, and the seller has the right to establish those requirements.
It’s up to the realtor to lead by example and set expectations and processes for staff and the people coming through the home. If there are buyers that don’t want to comply, they should set up a private showing.
Then there’s the kind of etiquette which has nothing to do with a pandemic but is about being considerate when you’re in someone else’s house.
Kids, Food, Drinks and Open Houses
If you’re bringing the kids, don’t let them run around. You need to watch them in homes with a pool where the safety gate is left open so potential buyers can look around. If you’re hungry, eat in your car. You also don’t need to bring food and drink inside someone’s home.
Realtors and their Clients Attending Open Houses
Realtors should attend open houses with their clients. As a realtor, you’ll want to know what information is exchanged, so you’re privy to what the listing agent is saying to your client, and you can act as a go-between so that your clients aren’t disclosing something to the listing agent that they shouldn’t.
If it turns out your buyer loves the house, what happens if they want to put an offer in and you haven’t even seen the home? Even if you’re not available during that window, make a point of going to see it.
Schedule the showing to ensure the listing agent knows your contact info and when you’ve been there. It means you’ll be informed of any offers or changes on the listing. Otherwise, you won’t be notified, and the listing agent probably won’t remember you were there. The property could get sold without you even knowing. How does that look if your clients are very interested?
Do open houses help sell homes?
An open house is a nice feature as part of a marketing package, but we’ve just gone through two years of selling homes without them. It’s been proven that you can sell homes without open houses.
However, a well-presented home with a knowledgeable realtor can help sell the home onsite. For one thing, it’s a great opportunity to point out unique features and little details of the home that could get overlooked. It’s also a good chance to engage with people.
A good example is KT Realty Broker Steve Cecchetto’s recent experience showing a home with a $6500 electronic awning that senses the sunlight and automatically opens when the heat hits a certain level and retracts when it’s too windy. People were impressed, and it started a conversation about other aspects of the home. Now that we can touch things, tangible items are always of interest.
The ability to showcase features that aren’t obvious and can be easily missed is a favourable aspect of open houses.
How does signage help promote open houses?
Do people notice open house signs? Do you put it on realtor.ca? The answer to all of these questions is yes.
The easier you make it to find, the better. You want two signs at the main arteries to the property, another that guides you right to the home, and a sign pointing right at the house.
Some municipalities have strict regulations about signs, and a by-law officer can remove them. You may need to display the address and the hours.
You can argue that most people coming are already aware that there’s an open house. Chances are, people walking around the street aren’t going to walk in and purchase a $2 million home. If there are no open houses, the house will still sell because they have no choice but to book a showing to see the property.
Are open houses a routine from the past?
Everything we buy is now purchased online, although some people have a curve of comfort levels.
In some ways, open houses are a part of the past carried forward. Now we have technology that allows people to be extremely educated when they come into the home. It’s not uncommon for buyers to purchase a home sight unseen.
There is still value to open houses, but exactly how much is hard to say. Watch this clip about about Adrian’s experience with the Oculus GO VR goggles at one of his open houses.