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Real estate is “local” as someone coined that phrase.  This is so true in the case of open houses in Highlands and surrounding areas. When sellers list their home on the plateau they typically ask: “When will you do an open house?” This is common in the cities in which they live. I will try and explain the difference we, as brokers, encounter here being a second home market.

When visitors come to Highlands or Cashiers, it is a trip planned and centered around golf, hiking, shopping, an event –maybe a wine dinner or non-profit event-or simply to relax or visit friends. If they come to look at real estate they usually have made an appointment with a broker ahead of time so schedules can be met.

I know in larger areas such as Atlanta, many firms coordinate a “caravan” on a specific day of the week and brokers from many firms visit homes in that area. In our area, this is not done due to sellers being in residence enjoying their stay and trying to coordinate with busy brokers who are out showing properties to buyers who are only here a few days. We work around their schedules and timelines of planned activities. Our multiple listing service (MLS) either allows us to match our buyers’ criteria before they arrive or, once they arrive in town, we sit down in the office together and review possible matches.

With that being said, open houses really don’t work in our area to anyone’s benefit. We, as brokers, try to entice other brokers to come and see the homes, offering cash prizes, lunch, wine and cheese, elaborate desserts, gift certificates etc. The average open house results in approximately 3-8 brokers attending overall. Additionally, the town limits our ability to post open house signs that might attract curious visitors on their way to the grocery store or lunch with a friend.

Honestly, public open houses just don’t work here. We typically know nothing of the people who enter your home and find it difficult to supervise more than one or two rooms at any given time. In large homes this is especially challenging, as you can imagine. This is just not a good idea for many reasons.  Serious buyers are already out with their selected brokers.

I hope this helps you understand why open houses here simply don’t work. With 90% of buyers looking online before they contact us to make an appointment, the best thing we can do for our sellers is to provide professional photos and revealing descriptions that connect them to your home and prompt an appointment to see it. This allows an “open” house behind closed doors until they arrive to see your home in person.

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