The Return of the Open House Connecting Buyers and Sellers

There are lots of ways for homebuyers to find properties for sale, but regardless of whether one finds their prospective dream house online, sees a “For Sale” sign in a building, or gets a hot tip word-of-mouth, at some point buyer and property need to meet in person, as it were. That could be why open houses have long been a staple of the sales process in New York City co-ops and condos.

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For the real estate novice, an open house is basically where a gaggle of prospective buyers descend upon a property and mill around, looking it over and picturing themselves living there. Open houses are a great way for realtors to connect buyers and sellers—but they can pose certain concerns for boards, property managers, and neighbors in terms of safety and security, nuisance, and traffic.

According to Ken Lovett of John B. Lovett & Associates Ltd., a real estate management firm in College Point, the keys to holding a successful open house are to notify the manager and key personnel in advance, conducting them for short periods of time as opposed to all day, and to follow all the rules that the building has in place.

“There are usually a set of rules that an agent and resident must follow when holding an open house and as long as those rules are followed, there’s usually not a problem,” he says. “In a rare case, a realtor does something they shouldn’t but we talk to them and alert them to the problem and make sure they don’t it again. In my experience, there hasn’t been too many cases of things going wrong.”

Maura Jarach, executive director of townhouses at Keller Williams New York City, stresses the importance of managing the expectations of the owners and preparing the property properly for all visitors and potential buyers.

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