• Long & Foster has more than 300 listings in both D.C. and Baltimore.
  • Private, invite-only open houses are gaining in popularity.
  • The Mid-Atlantic's spring selling season is expected to be stronger than in 2015.

During the spring selling season expect larger real estate companies and brokerages to host company-wide open house weekends with the goal of showcasing homes to a larger pool of buyers. And DC’s most notable brokerages are taking part.

Long & Foster Real Estate is a prime example. During the weekend of April 16 and 17 open houses will be held at all of its Mid-Atlantic and Northeast listings.

DC and Baltimore represent two markets where Long & Foster has a sizable amount of listings, 386 and 331, respectively. Listed homes in Washington, D.C. start around $235,000, with the most expensive property priced at $3.7 million. The company is listing properties as low as $135,000 in Baltimore.

These two markets enter the spring with differing conditions, as in the district it appears to be a seller’s market while it’s a time for buyers in Baltimore.

Long & Foster is counting on buyers to strike while interest rates remain low.

As part of the open houses, the brokerage will have loan officers from Property Home Mortgage on site. The mortgage banker is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the brokerage. Representatives from Long & Foster Insurance will also be in attendance at many locations.

Do luxury open houses work?

Because of its size Long & Foster is able to hold such events. For smaller brokerages, especially within the luxury home sector, other types of open houses are being utilized.

Private, invite-only open houses and house parties are two marketing tactics being more commonly used to accelerate the sale of a home. However, these type of events can often equate to an investment of more than $10,000, on the part of a brokerage or agent.

Long & Foster is holding its open house event at a time when optimism exists within the Mid-Atlantic brokerage community.

According to a Metropolitan regional Information Systems (MRIS) survey more than half of real estate professionals expect sales activity this spring to out do 2015. The entrance of more first-time buyers is the primary reason for this belief, as roughly 88 percent of those surveyed expect more activity from first-timers, with a number of these newbie buyers being millennials.

Erik Pisor

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