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‘No!’ To Open Houses, Conditional Offers Falling Through

By Stefan Walther | February 26, 2023

Open Houses, Conditional Offers, Offers Falling Through

ThunderBayHouses.com is in its 20th remarkable year of proudly serving the home buyers and sellers in the city, around the area of northwestern Ontario, and beyond.

Between 20,000 to 30,000 visit our website every week, over 22,455 (and growing daily) follow our social media, and ThunderBayHouses.com lists between 300 to 400 properties every year.

When we list a home, our stats show that over 20,000 people view it within the first 24 hours. This is an incredible number, and one in which we are extremely proud.


Suffice it to say, tens of thousands are very familiar with ThunderBayHouses.com and check us out often. And we are very grateful for your support.


And for those who are familiar with ThunderBayHouses.com, they know that:

  • we do not advertise open houses
  • we do not boast about pending “conditional offers”
  • and we definitely do not, and never ever will, indicate an “offer fell through.”

But it is worth exploring why. Or rather, why not.

There is a simple reason, and it is because we care considerably about our customers and their success, those who put their trust in our service, those who list their home with us and would like to sell quickly and effectively, those who would like to attract the best offer and the top price for their home.

Our customers are number one. We treat them how we would like to be treated, and that is with kindness, courtesy, professionalism and respect.

To advertise open houses, to mark a listing with “conditional offer,” and to — so horribly — indicate an “offer fell through” would hurt our valued customers and their ultimate, successful home sale.

If ThunderBayHouses.com did engage in these practices, it would certainly give us more opportunities for stuff to post on social media, maybe make us appear even more busy, but would do so to the detriment and disservice of our customers, the home sellers.

Open Houses, Conditional Offers, Offers Falling Through

Open Houses — There was a time when an open house was necessary to bring together buyers and sellers, essentially to create a marketplace, to ultimately and successfully sell a home. However, check the calendar, the year is 2023.

The Internet was invented 40 years ago, in 1983, has been in fairly wide use for 25 years, and ThunderBayHouses.com has been around for almost all of that time. The Internet has cut out the middleman from the marketplace for many products and services, and this includes homes, benefiting both the buyers and especially the sellers.

An open house is an old antiquated tool used by salespeople to aggressively engage as many buyers as possible who may be in the marketplace, which is not a bad thing but, again, done so much more effectively with the Internet.


The Internet is not open only on a certain Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. — it is open 24/7, 365 days a year.


With all the great photos and detailed information, a listing on ThunderBayHouses.com is like a virtual open house, continuously and always “open,” always engaged in selling, selling, selling. Even when some of us might be sleeping.

Times have changed and very few people now find out about a home, or find out more information about a home, through an open house, so it is often debated whether they help at all to sell a home.

It is also important to note that salespeople do not only represent, and collect commission from, sellers, but they also actively look to represent many buyers, from which they can also collect a portion of the commission. So an open house can potentially bring in many more buyers, many more streams of commission income, for a salesperson.

A salesperson can also promote their other listings, or even those of other listing agents, so they may not even be interested in selling the actual home at which they are hosting an open house.

Moreover, a salesperson will often commit to hosting an open house to make their client, the home’s owner, feel better, make it appear that the are working hard and doing everything they can to sell the home and earn their high commission.

Open Houses, Conditional Offers, Offers Falling Through

And to think of things more basically — salespeople and their motives aside — put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. You wouldn’t wait for an open house to go and see a home that you may be interested in purchasing, rather you would call or text right away to inquire or to arrange a personal viewing so that you don’t miss out. If you snooze, you can lose, especially in a hot market.

Tire-kickers and nosy neighbours, those who are not very serious about purchasing a home, are the ones most likely to show up to an open house that is widely advertised to the general public.

And put yourself in the shoes of a seller. You don’t really want multiple strangers going through the various rooms of your home at one time. Especially if it doesn’t necessarily bring in any offers, and little chance of a solid and satisfactory firm sale.


If a realtor or other private-sale company suggests or advertises an open house, they must ask themselves what marketing steps are they doing wrong — or just not doing very well.


Because with the right presentation and the right exposure, a home should sell itself based on its best qualities — exactly what ThunderBayHouses.com sets out to showcase, this is what we are all about.

Moreover, a private in-person showing allows a buyer and a seller to better connect. They each get more of the other’s attention. The buyer can ask of the seller more particular questions about the home, its special features and updates, the neighbourhood, and more, which may not be possible in an open house where many people are in attendance.

If anything, ThunderBayHouses.com suggests having an “open house by appointment.” Let the attractive presentation and excellent exposure of the website listing and social media do their magic, from here the serious buyers will call or text to come for an in-person viewing. It may be ideal for a seller to have all these serious buyers — but not all the general public — come through on a certain date, at a certain time, perhaps because the seller has an otherwise busy career or busy family life.

Breathtaking View From Mount McKay

A breathtaking view of Thunder Bay, captured from the top of Mount McKay.

Conditional Offers — By their very nature, many offers can come and many offers can go. One house listing can attract multiple offers, some high and some low, some for the asking price, some with conditions and some without.

Conditions can range from relatively straightforward and quick to fulfil (or not fulfil), like financing and a home inspection, to more complex and time-consuming, like the sale of the buyer’s own current home.

Should a seller accept and sign back a conditional offer, ThunderBayHouses.com does not boast about it and we will not mark the property as “conditionally sold” on our website or on our social media, as this could hurt the seller and the ultimate final sale.

Marking a home as “conditional sale” immediately and effectively turns off the tap on most other buyer response. Buyers may assume the conditions are likely to be met or waived, so they do not even bother to inquire. Or they realize they have competition and would rather not bother and be engaged in a possible bidding war. They may figure it is a done deal, even if it may not be.

Instead, ThunderBayHouses.com advises our sellers to continue receiving inquiries, take note of names and phone numbers, just in case the conditions are not met and the offer does not go through. If the seller may be quite unsure about the conditional offer, they may even continue showing the home.

Offer Fell Through — Conditions are often not met and are often not waived, which then causes an accepted offer to become null and void. And then it becomes difficult to restart the marketing process, changing a listing’s status from “conditional sale” to “active,” getting buyers interested and excited again for a listing that has not been widely available for a while, even if this was just for a few days or for a couple weeks.


There is nothing much worse than a salesperson or a private-sale company marking a listing as “offer fell through.” This is a big admission of failure for all involved.


And now many questions may pop up in a buyer’s head that weren’t there before. Why did the offer fall through? What’s wrong with this home? Did a home inspection fail? Was there a fire or flood? They may not care to find out the answers, they may just move on. The pool of buyers has just become quite a bit shallower, quite a bit smaller.

And now any new offers that are likely to come in will be lower, may be significantly lower with the buyer believing that the seller may now be desperate and willing to accept almost anything, or believing that there may be something wrong with the home.

As mentioned before, ThunderBayHouses.com’s customers, our sellers, are number one, and so we do not want to do anything that may jeopardize an effective sale, for a best offer and a top price. And we would be doing just that, jeopardizing a good sale, if we marked a listing as “conditional offer” or — even so much worse and we cringe to even mention this — “offer fell through.”


After a listing is posted and new on ThunderBayHouses.com, the next change in status should be “SOLD!”


Not “conditional offer,” not “offer fell through,” because until the home is firmly sold — with no conditions or with any conditions having been met or waived — then buyers still have a good chance, and we don’t want to turn them off in the least.

Coming Soon — While we are at it, there’s one other announcement that ThunderBayHouses.com doesn’t make, that we don’t boast about and promote when it comes to marketing homes and properties.

Some may think that “coming soon” or “coming next week” or “coming next spring” might help a home sale, by whetting the appetite of buyers and kickstarting some response, but in actual fact this can hurt the sale and cause unnecessary complications.

Because once this messaging goes out on a particular property, the marketing process has thus begun — and has begun prematurely.

The full listing may not be ready to launch, with all photos taken and enhanced for best presentation, with all details ready to display. And so a buyer may be responding to just a photo of the front of a home, to the desired neighbourhood or location, they do not have all the information — square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, finishing, updates and such — so they actually may not be seriously interested.

They may contact the seller or contact us at ThunderBayHouses.com with questions, they may stop in and knock on the door of the home. And because ThunderBayHouses.com reaches tens of thousands so very quickly, within hours, there may be multiple, somewhat unwanted, basic inquiries that otherwise would not have occurred had the full listing been ready to publish and be promoted.

When selling a home, there is a window of opportunity. This window should not be opened prematurely. Everything should be ready to go, the full listing with all photos and all details ready, and the seller should be ready to receive inquiries and schedule some in-person showings. Otherwise there will be time wasted by both buyers and sellers, causing unnecessary and unwanted complications in achieving the final successful sale of the home, for the best offer and for the top price.

ThunderBayHouses.com does, however, make some generalized promotions, such as “coming soon: new listings in Mariday Park, River Terrace, semi-rural and more.” But not specific addresses.

Buyers, stay tuned as ThunderBayHouses.com is photographing multiple properties this coming week. New listings will be posted a day or two after we are there.

Sellers, market your home or property smartly and effectively with a listing on ThunderBayHouses.com and our very popular social media. Call us to discuss at 807-344-9393 or drop us an E-mail at info@ThunderBayHouses.com. Full info on our excellent marketing service can be found here.

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Copyright 2024 — All articles appearing on the ThunderBayHouses.com Market Insider are completely original, written and created by founder and owner Stefan Walther, unless otherwise noted, and, as such, are copyright 2024 by Walther Enterprises. Material may not be reproduced in any form without express permission. All rights are reserved.

The ThunderBayHouses.com Market Insider is for information purposes only, and should not be relied upon for advice, particularly legal advice. All information herein is deemed accurate but is not guaranteed and may be subject to errors and omissions. ThunderBayHouses.com will not be liable or responsible for damages or injuries caused by use of this information. Please consult a professional for legal advice.