stan cropped webBy Stan Albert

Wikipedia says that opportunity is made up of four integrated elements, all of which are to be present in a window of opportunity –  * need, * the means, *a method to apply to fulfil the needs and * a method to benefit.

All of the above can be fulfilled by my favourite way to gather knowledge about the  homes we sell and attract prospective buyers – with open houses.

When I was a lot younger – seems like yesterday – I’d go on open house caravans and during the weekends I’d be running open houses all the time.

Over the years, I’ve studied agents who are really knowledgeable about what they sell and are zealous about running proactive open houses.  By proactive I mean that they blanket the area with flyers and /or call people in the neighbourhood to tell prospective buyers to come to their open houses for viewing and comparing to other homes.

The fact that many agents, both experienced and new, do not get out on open house tours of their own brokerages’ properties befuddles me. There are lots of good reasons to go. Meeting other agents; gathering knowledge of neighbourhood homes or builders if it’s a new development; exchanging ideas as we drive to and from the properties; and recognizing the time-saving routes for future showings are just a few of them.

For new agents it’s a chance to talk to the listing agents of your own office to see if  you can do an open house for them, or they may allow you to shadow them at a future showing.

On returning to the office, play a game with each agent predicting what each property will sell for – and then compare notes later on in the weeks ahead to see who’s closest. I’ve lost a few bucks on these competitions!

If you are just going to wait for buyers to come and view the home, you may get lucky.  However, if you choose not to just be reactive to buyers coming in, try making some new contacts.  Canvass other areas – townhouses, for example, if you’re selling a semi-detached property.  Hand out free brochures with good home-related information, like those available from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. or the local utilities or provincial energy ministries, for example. Homeowners will appreciate them and by doing this, you’ll be adding people to your pipeline of prospective buyers and sellers.

Over the years I’ve developed some successful scripts that will lead to more chances to improve your sales.  Agents who use these scripts and /or other dialogues find that they have more than enough prospects to work with.  You can never have too many prospects can you?

There are legions of agents who scoff at doing open houses.  In today’s shifting market, it’s my opinion that you have to use all the ammunition you have available. The open house is one thing the Competition Bureau can’t take away from us.

Be an agent who takes the opportunity to improve your knowledge and your skills. Stop being reactive to the marketplace and get out there and just do it.

Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at [email protected]. Stan is now celebrating his 43rd year as an active real estate professional.


  1. Open houses and caravan tours are a great method of
    generating business, understanding your market, and networking. I personally run the caravan tours within my branch and in doing so have created an environment of building success for both new and experienced realtors. The feedback and market knowledge from your own team on a caravan tour is invaluable. Open houses offer the perfect opportunity to educate potential buyers about the home and community which may not be known by the potential buyer’s realtor.
    Most opportunities are made not found ;)

    • thnnks. you know what’s interestng here in Vaughan, is that we’re probably the only Broker Managers to go out with our Agents and tour. it has great benefits

  2. Stan has really passed on some wisdom here for new agents. Unless you are holding or attending an open house, whether public or agent focused, in a PROACTIVE manner they are a waste of time.

    Dave Liniger, the founder of RE/MAX, in his first time management book ( this was old school being a black typed book one colour with blue cardboard front and back, bound with a spiral plastic binding issued FREELY to every REMAX agent ) listed Agent Open Houses as the #1 time waster for professional agents, and explicitly recommended stopping them at the brokerage level back in the late 80’s because they were re-active in nature.

    Brokerages have failed to capitalize on the power of Monday morning tour, as not only a way to build loyalty and value in their brokerage agent base but they also continue to lose FREE community exposure when open houses are held by anyone, on any property, in their office.

    The average Agent Open House tour of 10 properties has a cost of over $10,000 to the brokerage and the agents participating. Each of the 10 homes receives over $1000 in value for just one Agent Open House, yet the Home Owners are never provided the monetary cost to this most common of office activities. (Especially since the seller only partially covers the fee if their home actually sells)

    A Public Open House costs the Listing Agent at a minimum over $600 to hold, yet agents don’t share these facts with their sellers when discussing commission. The most professional Listing Agents can commit over $3000 to a single Public Open House, yet they refuse to explain those costs to their sellers.

    Stan, is right, a Pro-Active approach to Open Houses can revolutionize your real estate Listing Practice. Call him and get some FREE advice.

    • Thanks to one and all who offer their comments. much appreciated by yours truly! makes it worthwhile for the energy I expend to write these columns. It’s really my “pay it forward philosophy!”

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