Why Open Houses Do NOT Work in Colorado Springs

Here I sit at an Open House for 3 hours, listening to Jack Johnson, organizing some of my files, and write this. Why? Well, I am not going to get any more than one or two people stopping by, at the most. So, I have PLENTY of time.

We all see the TV shows where the home for sale gets multiple offers because of the Open House that was held. Dozens of people (both with and without their agents) pile into the home – exploring each room and inevitably one falls in love with the home and writes an offer.

Let me explain a little background to Open Houses and then I will explain why they do NOT work in Colorado Springs (or any other place LIKE Colorado Springs).

(Oh! Before I continue, let me grab the chocolate chip cookies (that I will wind up eating all of) out of the oven.)

Open Houses are a way to expose a Home For Sale
to the Public. A real estate agent (or homeowner) “opens” the house so that interested people can stop by and check it out. It is designed to make SEEING the home very convenient.

I have often wondered how come some people across the nation (and on TV) are wildly successful with Open Houses, and here in Colorado Springs, Open Houses are generally a flop.

I have decided that there are 3 Main Reasons why Open Houses do NOT work in Colorado Springs: One reason involves Buyers, one reason involves Agents and the 3rd reason involves, well, you’ll just have to read it.

  1. Buyer Agency is HUGE in Colorado Springs. Most home buyers are represented by a Buyer’s Agent and therefore, are not wandering around looking at random houses. If there is a home that may fit their needs, chances are their Buyer’s Agent has already shown it to them. This eliminates the need for a Buyer to “pop by” an Open House, as they probably have already seen it or already know that it will not fit their needs.

    (Mmm … Cookies…)

  2. Listing agents do not need to be present for showings for most homes in Colorado Springs. Why does THIS matter? Well, let’s think about this… In many areas of the nation, a listing agent MUST be present for anyone showing their listings. (The pros and cons to this practice can be debated a different time.) If a listing agent needs to be present for any showing then there are 4 schedules that need to coincide: The interested Buyer, the Buyer’s Agent, the Seller and the Listing Agent.

    In this scenario, an Open House would be a great opportunity for a home Buyer and their agent to see a house, as there is no need to align the Listing Agent and Seller’s schedule – it is already set. Visiting Open Houses become an efficient way to check out homes for sale.

    In Colorado Springs, Listing Agents RARELY need to be present for a home to be shown. Homes are set up on high security lock boxes, and the general rule of thumb to show is to call the listing agent or company showing desk and offer just a 1-2 hour notice before showing up to the home. For the vast majority of the time, listing agents and Sellers are never there for showings. We have grown accustomed to this way of business and having a “listing agent present” is seen as an annoyance. So, where an Open House is seen as a convenience for agents in some areas, it is actually seen as an annoyance, here in Colorado Springs.

    (Dang! I wish I brought some milk to wash down all these cookies …)

  3. People have already SEEN the house. What? Well, what are YOU doing right now? You are online, aren’t you? (If you aren’t I am perplexed…) Over 80% of all homebuyers start their home search online (NAR Profile of Home Buyers in 2006). So, chances are that they have already SEEN the home that will someday be an Open House. The “curiosity factor” that Open Houses once offered have been squelched by the internet.


Now, there ARE exceptions to this – even in Colorado Springs. If a home is in a HIGH foot traffic area, then an Open House may have more visitors. Or, some neighborhoods get together and have a Community Open House (where all homes for sale are “open”). This makes it is more of an EVENT than a single Open House, and the neighborhood becomes a selling point, as well.

But, for the most part, for as much as an Open House is successful in other parts of the country and on TV, that same success is very RARE in Colorado Springs.

So, if you ask us to hold an Open House when we list your home in Colorado Springs, chances are that you will hear this same explanation from us. However, if you really still want one, we will hold one for you. I can always use more time to organize my files or write something like this.

But I GOT to stop eating these cookies!

Posted By: Mariana Wagner ~ Colorado Springs Real Estate

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About Mariana

I am a Mom, Wife, Real Estate Agent Trainer and Mortgage Lender. Find me at http://www.marianawagner.com
This entry was posted in Colorado Springs Info., Colorado Springs Real Estate, Seller Info.. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why Open Houses Do NOT Work in Colorado Springs

  1. I’ve written the same thing a half dozen times but never while sitting inside an open house. Out of curiosity, if you know that they don’t work, why were you still having one?

  2. Hi Jonathan – I know that they don’t work, but if a Seller insists on having one, then we oblige and just get some work done while we are there.

  3. Sock Puppet says:

    If the seller thought he was the King of France in the 16th Century, would you address him as “Your Majesty”?

    Honestly I’m starting to lean towards Jonathan’s viewpoint more and more, just don’t tell him that because he would enjoy it too much.


  4. Sock Puppet!! (aka Athol the Great)
    If my Seller thought that they were the King of France in the 16th Century … calling them “Your Majesty” would not be TOP on my list of things that I would call them…

    However, the line I draw about Open Houses is not always a firm one. Sometimes handing over a completely blank sign in sheet after 2-3 hours in their home speaks volumes.

    And? At an open house I become my own captive audience … to read … write … knit a sweater … practice Pig Latin in the mirror…

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