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Open Homes Have Become Counter Productive

December 30th, 2011 by Geoff Baldwin

The age old system of opening homes for inspection between set times has evolved more and more into a stressful experience for buyers, sellers and agents over the past decade and our industry needs to reappraise its approach in this area according to RE/MAX Managing Director, Geoff Baldwin.

“In the nineteen eighties and nineties it was the norm to open three or four homes maximum with 30 minutes between on a weekend day however agents are now cramming in up to eight with as little as 10 minutes between each open”, Mr Baldwin said.

“Where, in the past, an agent would tell a seller that their property would only be opened every second or third week, agents are now promising to open not only every weekend but sometimes on both Saturday and Sunday which is simply not effective or sustainable.

“We recently conducted a secret shopper survey of open homes and in many instances the results were disturbing with agents arriving late, herding prospective buyers out of homes, turning people away, cutting short conversations with potential buyers, not taking names and inconveniencing property owners for the sake of a rushed 30 or 45 minute opening.

“One agent had a run of 8 home opens in a row with 15 minutes between and needless to say he was in an obvious lather when our “buyers” caught up with him towards the end of the day.

“Unfortunately, there now seems to be far too much reliance on the open home to the point where both sellers and agents are compelled to open every weekend whereas in previous years an agent would say to the seller, we have similar priced properties in this area so I will only open yours every second weekend but I’ll do it for an hour and make sure I have enough time between opens to talk to potential buyers.

“If it is explained correctly to them, most property owners are much happier knowing that they aren’t going to be inconvenienced every weekend, that their property is going to be given a decent showing and that their agent will be spending as much time as required with viewers to ensure no opportunities are lost. Further more, if a correctly priced property isn’t opened it will certainly attract private viewings and the opportunity to redirect buyers from other home opens.

It is unsustainable for an agent to continually conduct massive amounts of home opens weekend after weekend and do them effectively maximising every opportunity for their sellers and not stressing themselves out in the process.

“Agents should take time to reassess their approach to open homes and the way they use this in their discussions with prospective sellers to ensure a level of common sense and balance is maintained for all concerned”, Mr Baldwin said.