Shortsalenurse's HAFA Blog

August 10, 2009

Video Killed the Radio Star , Is it Killing our Open Houses Too?

It is according to Barry Cunningham of Real Estate Radio USA, but hmmm…let’s take a moment to ponder this notion.
Video Killed the Radio Staris a song written by Trevor Horn released in 1979 by the British pop band Buggles.  The lyrics reference a period of technological change in the 1960’s and more profoundly, the desire to remember the past and the disappointment that the children of the generation would not appreciate it.  Many of us remember this song as a defining moment in the history of music.  We remember the days of music before this song, and the days thereafter.  But why?
I’ve been selling real estate for ten years and can honestly say I have never sold the subject property from sitting an Open House.  Does that mean we, as Agents should get out there and take our weekends back?  I don’t know about you, but I can think of plenty of things to do on a lovely Saturday or Sunday afternoon than sit an Open House and hope that 1 of the 3-5 people that tour will fall in love with the home, write an offer and depending on the price range – hope that their offer will be the one accepted over the multiple others. 
Those Agents that are wholly committed to doing Open Houses – are they now part of a society of “Old School Realtors” that refuse to embrace new technology?  Is that harsh?  Has video really killed the Open House?  Or is it video and it’s many friends, i.e., virtual tours, flip videos, real estate shows, You Tube, etc.?
According to recent statistics of the National Association of Realtors, only 7 percent of Buyers visited Open Houses as a first step in their hunt.  If Open House statistics show that they don’t sell the property, what place do they have in a Realtor’s toolbox?  Actually, Open Houses sometimes provide the agent to market themselves and potentially find buyers for “other” properties.  In addition to appeasing the Seller who is usually under the belief that an Open House is a requirement from his/her Agent, how great is this really?  What are the alternatives?  Can’t a technologically savvy real estate agent find a myriad of other ways to market a home to a worldwide audience and find other buyers at the same time – all witin the 3-4 hours that it takes to host an Open House to maybe 5 people?
While many agents are slow to react and some aggressively resistant, the writing is clearly on the wall.  The change is coming.  While my opinion on this matter actually falls somewhere inbetween, I do know one thing for sure.  The Real Estate industry is under attack.  Not by any one person or entity, but rather a beast that has become unleashed.  “Technology”……like time; it waits for no one.
The Open House might be a dying concept, but I’m not quite ready to nail it’s coffin.  But then again, ask me my opinion next year! 


Cathy Palme
Prudential Ca. Realty


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