Sequim open houses are weekend events from time to time, and June 4th and 5th is the big National Association of Realtors push for open houses all over the country. Many Realtors are holding open houses on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, and most have advertised their open houses in the local print newspapers. Local associations join the national campaign and much todo is made about the open houses and the opportunity to buy a home with all the hoopla Realtors can muster. There are some major misconceptions about open houses, and unfortunately these misconceptions have been propagated by my own profession and the NAR.
Sequim Open Houses and The Real Purpose
Do you know the real purpose of an open house? No, it’s not to sell the house. Professional Realtors around the country know why they hold open houses, and they know that selling the home is very unlikely. Only 1% to 2% of houses sell at open houses in a healthy real estate market according to the NAR. In a real estate recession like the one we are in now, my guess is that far less than 1% of homes sell at open houses. It may be as low as 1/10th of 1% in this recession. There are two major reasons for this. The first is that there are fewer buyers these days, and who doesn’t already know that? The second is that about 95% of all buyers are searching for their next home on the Internet, not in print newspapers and not by driving around looking at open houses. In many areas, like mine, nearly all buyers are from outside the area, which means they are not in the area when an open house is held.
So why do Realtors hold Sequim open houses? There are two reasons. First, they hold open houses to satisfy their selling clients, to be able to tell them they are doing something to market the home. That reason is more smoke and mirrors than anything else. The second reason is more substantive. Realtors hold open houses so they can get a list of prospective buyers. There it is! The primary purpose of an open house is so the Realtor can meet buyers and try to reel them in. They know they won’t sell them the open house, but they want to sell them something.
Proof: Go to an open house and listen to the questions the hosting Realtor asks you. Do you live in the area? How soon do you plan to buy a home? Have you pre-qualified? What is your price range? What kind of work do you do? Do you both work? How many children do you have? Where do you live now? Do you rent or own? Would you sign-in here with your name, address, phone number, and email address? Why would you give a Realtor you have not even hired to represent you all this personal information? But there is an even greater danger you’ll want to know about.
Sequim Open Houses and Buyers Beware
Why is this such a big deal for buyers? Why is it a red flag? Why would I as a Realtor warn buyers about open houses? The answer will be obvious when I tell you, if it isn’t already.
The listing Realtor who is hosting the open house represents the seller, not you. This agent has a legal and fiduciary duty to get the seller the highest possible price and the best possible terms. If you really were interested in a home, would you want to give the seller’s agent all your personal information, information that could be used to negotiate against you? Of course not. Read a fuller explanation of the Danger of Dual Agency.
I’ve been in the real estate business for 30 years, 20 as a real estate attorney. I love the real estate business, and I love representing my clients ethically and without conflict. I believe my job is to put my clients’ interest first and foremost above all else, even my own interests. With that in mind, I do a lot of educational articles on this real estate blog, sharing the truth about how the real estate business really works behind the scenes so that buyers can beware of traps for the unwary, avoid sales gimmicks by agents, and protect themselves from conflicts that could cost them a lot of money.
Would you like a simple way of ending all the personal questions and still be able to walk through an open house? If you are going to be in the area driving around and looking at Sequim open houses, simply say to the hosting Realtor, “Thank you for the open house. We are represented by a buyer’s agent, Chuck Marunde (or your own buyer’s agent’s name). We’ll just walk through the home if that’s okay.” That will end the questioning and make your experience more pleasant.
If you’re attending Sequim open houses and you want to draft an offer on one, you can call me to represent you as your exclusive buyer’s agent at 360-775-5424. Of course, we can meet at Starbucks and you can interview me first to see if you feel I am competent, professional, and experienced. You can learn more about me at Sequim Buyer’s Agent.
Last Updated on September 4, 2011 by Chuck Marunde
This is the kind of information I love. I don’t see anyone else publishing this kind of helpful information on buying Sequim real estate. Seriously, your material on this Sequim real estate blog is appreciated. My wife wants to move to Sequim, and as they say a home with an unhappy woman is an unhappy home.
I love your Sequim real estate blog. It’s the best real estate blog I’ve seen anywhere in the U.S. Of course, Sequim is pretty incredible, too. My wife and I subscribe to your blog and read your articles weekly. Please never stop!
Excellent advice! I wish I had known it back in 2005, when I was victimized by a so-called presumed buyers agent working for Weichert Realty of Maryland who switched roels without my informed consent to become a sellers agent for my house of choice. This happened because of my igorance of obscure disclosure regulations and, yes, lack of due dilligence on my part. I simply didn’t know the right questions to ask a prospective buyers agent.