From the NYT:
THE thought of holding a public open house makes Paul A. Falla wince: strangers traipsing through his five-bedroom contemporary in White Plains, peering into his closets, opening the kitchen cabinets and checking out the equipment in his home theater.
What is more, some of those strangers won’t be potential buyers, but rather the curious — among them, nosy neighbors — who like looking inside other people’s homes, especially the expensive ones.
Even so, Mr. Falla, a retired New York City firefighter, and his partner, Lisa Rizzi, a court officer, have agreed that a public open house might increase the prospects for a sale.
The 28-year-old house, which Mr. Falla bought eight years ago and fully renovated, is listed for $949,000. It came on the market five weeks ago, after an unsuccessful stint a year ago without a public open house.
Not all brokers, however, believe that inviting the public is worth the time and trouble, preferring instead to restrict open houses to other agents.
“I am the antithesis of the public open house,” said Mark Seiden, who owns a real estate office in Briarcliff Manor. “I’ve done that — invited all the neighbors, put up balloons and signs, and given people tours of the house. But in a year of more than 100 public open houses, all I got was a ton of what we call ‘looky-loos’ in the trade, and only one property sold.”
As a result, these days Mr. Seiden sticks to brokers-only open houses, and doesn’t offer lunch or a drawing for a bottle of wine as an enticement, as some agents do. If a house is priced right, he said, the other brokers will come.
Loretta Rapisardi of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Rye, sees it differently. “The idea is to get as much exposure as you can,” she said. “There have been a couple of cases just within the past few weeks when someone walked into a public open house and purchased it on the spot.”
That is not to say that Ms. Rapisardi doesn’t also ply her trade using broker-only open houses and advertising heavily. But she has become partial to the public open houses. “You can never have enough exposure,” she insisted.