Oahu Open Houses – Dying Selling Strategy in the Face of a Pandemic
All of a sudden, many Oahu Open Houses are being canceled. Now more than ever, it is so important to be computer savvy. With the recent event of our world coming to almost a complete stop, businesses, schools, and individuals are making every effort to convert to an online environment in order to slow down the spread of a scary virus. We are more vulnerable than we ever thought. We take so many things for granted because most of us have never experienced true world emergencies.
Our real estate right now, is in shock, as is every other business, so no surprise there. People, however, are still buying and are still selling. That said, faced with the health threat, we as Realtors and as consumers, have to adapt to some new realities. We’re forced to. It’s not a choice. Let’s start with Open Houses. Why are we allowing unqualified strangers to walk through our homes? When did this become a great idea?
Oahu Open Houses are often held with the hope that someone will buy the home. While they can bring people in, they are not a reason why many homes and condos sell. Yes, some will argue this, and yes, there is a portion of homes that of course do sell in the first week (open house or not), but when 30 unqualified lookie-loos come through a home, it’s not a successful day. One qualified person coming through is way more beneficial. These Buyers are often already pre-qualified and have Realtor representation. They know what they want and they schedule the showings. There are varying opinions, but the Open House business model is now sinking. So what is the problem and what can we do?
In Hawaii, at least on Oahu, Sunday Open Houses have become a Sunday ritual. People looking for real estate, tourists, and people who just make this into a casual outing are hopping from home to home walking through, touching everything, looking in every closet, and almost 100% of the time, checking out what’s in the refrigerator. I warn my Sellers, who choose to open their homes to Open House events, to put away their valuables and medicine.
As much as we as Realtors guard the homes when hosting an Open House, we can never truly tell what the real intentions of people coming through are, and we can’t stop them from touching everything. This brings me back to our current state of the developing pandemic. In the upcoming weeks, the world will be dealing with a health threat and the ripple effects for months to come. This thing is not going anywhere anytime soon, yet we will have to get back to a “new normal” soon.
So what can Sellers do now?
Right now is the time to decide when to list your home and who to choose to do this with. With the decline of outings and people being told to social distance as much as possible, trying to sell a home through an Open House on Oahu, is suddenly not a great strategy.
This is the time to pick a Realtor who can reach people in their homes. This is a time to find a Realtor who has a digital footprint that can show your property in the best light possible without a person ever stepping into the property in person. Trust me, if they are really interested they will schedule a showing.
This is a time to Google Realtors. Do they even show up online in any form? Are they secret agents or are they getting eyeballs on their online and social presence? If you are reading this far, then I have somewhat captured your attention and that’s exactly what I mean about social reach. We have the ability to reach thousands with a single post, email, social media, etc.
This is the time to know who you are hiring to work for you. What is their plan? I say this because I see beautiful properties listed that have “ocean view” in the description, yet not a single picture (out of the 4 bad cellphone ones) is of the view. Offered at $3,000,000. WHAT? Is this the person you would like to market your home?
This is the time to ask a Realtor how is their online strategy will look for your home. If they hesitate in their answer, move on quickly. This shouldn’t be a hard question to answer. If an Open House, a sign in the yard, and adding the listing to the MLS is the only strategy, RUN, as many Buyers will be hesitant to continue casually browsing homes.
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I’m not opposed to Open Houses. They serve their purpose and they do occasionally bring in a buyer. Some sellers want them, and some are 100% opposed. However, no matter what, we need to have a backup plan for when the Open House is not an option. Your home is your biggest asset. With the current situation and people now realizing, more than ever, that keeping a safe distance from other people is the thing to do (at least for the next few months), Realtors and Sellers have to have a digital plan in place and be able to deliver the property to potential buyers who are opting to skip that Oahu Open House. This is the time to get computer savvy. The good news is that with all this added time at home, people are also online even more than before. This is the time to get into people’s living rooms first.