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House hunting in real time

According to the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 90 percent of buyers rely on the Web to search for a new home.

According to the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 90 percent of buyers rely on the Web to search for a new home. In our Internet-savvy day and age, what are the pros and cons of an old-fashioned open house?

“The Internet is the first step. But then the natural progression is an open house,” says Gary Sefferman of Nickian Home Staging in New York. “People want to see and touch [their potential new home], and an open house facilitates the most amount of people being able to do that in the shortest amount of time.”

With an open house, buyers don’t have to schedule an appointment or feel pressure from a meeting with a seller or broker — they can just show up and blend into the crowd.

“I put myself in the mind of the buyer and try to understand what they would want when attending an open house,” says Anthony Menounos, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential in Boston. “I’m not pushy — I just provide information.” Since almost all buyers browse the Web first, Sefferman recommends hiring a professional photographer to make sure any photos you post are “stellar.”

“Your property needs to stand out online, or people are not going to invest the time to come see it,” adds Menounos.

Menounos predicts buyers will be eager to visit open houses this spring, after a snowy winter spent bundled up inside, checking out homes online.

But as John Kriza, sales manager for Philadelphia developments The Residences at Dockside and Siena Place, says there is one person who always benefits from an open house: the realtor. “It’s a good source of prospects.”

 
 
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