Why open houses are held, and why you should be careful with what you say while you visit an open house.
Our website www.FindCalgaryHome.ca is a great resource for open houses in Calgary. We display them city wide, for all agents. But there are a few things you should know about open houses.
The source of all open houses displayed on our website is the MLS, the Multiple Listing Service. The MLS is the platform used by all realtors in Canada. That is why all the listings are displayed exactly the same on Realtor.ca and every other agent’s website, including www.FindCalgaryHome.ca
When the open house is not open
When a realtor decides to hold an open house, s/he will upload the times and dates in the MLS. This MLS is provided to us by the CREB, the Calgary Real Estate Board. (Officially the Canadian Real Estate Association, because the MLS is Canada wide)
What you say could be used against you in negotiations
- The realtor did not update the change in the MLS (and, therefore, it still shows on all websites).
- He/she could be late.
- The agent changed his or her mind for some reason.
- Something more important than an open house came up.
There are around 5500 realtors in Calgary, and we just display their open houses, as they upload it in the MLS. Our website just shows the time and place entered by every single agent in the MLS.
Most open houses in Calgary are held on Saturdays and Sundays, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. But every agent is free to decide when and what times s/he opens the doors.
Be careful what you say in an open house
In many cases, the realtor sitting in the open house is also the listing agent. The listing agent works in the best interests of the seller. Because realtors have an agency relationship with their clients, they must disclose everything they know about you. Therefore, it is important you be very careful with what you disclose about yourself at an open house! What you say could be used against you in negotiations.
In most cases, agents sit open houses to find new clients
- Don’t talk about your motivations for moving. (“I am moving to Calgary for work, and my wife is due in 4 weeks, and we can’t find a rental”)
- Never show you just fell in love with the house. Your information can make you lose thousands of dollars in negotiations, providing gains only for the seller.
- And don’t talk about your financial situation. (“Oh, I love this house, and we just won the lottery. As well, we are getting an inheritance from my grandmother.”)
If the agent sitting at the open house is not the listing agent, it is most often an agent from the same brokerage. In most cases, agents sit open houses to find new clients. This is in contrast to what most of the people think. The perception is that an open house is to sell the house. The chance of selling a house via an open house is probably 0.01%. Open houses are held to generate business for the realtor.
If you already have a realtor
If you visit open houses and you already have an agent, you can tell the realtor that, when you come in. A fair agent won’t ask you questions that can be used against you, in negotiations towards the seller.
Just turn it around and ask the sitting realtor the questions about the motivation of the seller. Realtors are in an agency relationship with their seller client and are never allowed to disclose price and motivation of the seller. At least, not without the written consent of the seller client. There are many chatty realtors out there, so go ahead and see what you can find out that benefits you in negotiations!
Our website www.FindCalgaryHome.ca is a great resource for open houses in Calgary. You can also download our app in the app store, if you have an Android.
A third option is to the request the GO-Agent app. This app is provided by the Calgary Real Estate Board, is connected with the MLS and therefor shows all the open houses in Calgary as well.
If your open house is not displaying
If you are a home seller, and your open house doesn’t display on our website, it is simply not displayed on any website. It means your realtor doesn’t know how to enter the data correctly, or your realtor entered it incorrectly. In that case, don’t call us and don’t write angry one star reviews about us on google, like S.G. It is very simple: it is your realtor making the mistake, not us.
Realtors are in an agency relationship with their seller client
If you are a realtor, and your listing is not showing on our website, you do it wrong. You can contact your broker and ask for instructions.
Why we wrote this article
We feel that real estate in Calgary needs more transparency. There are a many misconceptions that can cost the public money. And that is very unnecessary. Besides, we get angry phone calls from the public visiting open houses and find closed doors. We also get angry phone calls from realtors because they don’t know how to enter an open house the correct way. Again, we just display these open houses, as entered into the MLS!
Lastly, if you are thinking of buying a home, and would like to learn more about the process of buying, we offer a free one-on-one service. These meetings are over a coffee and give you many useful tools that make the process more transparent. And best of all, that meeting may save you a lot of dollars when buying.