You have worked so hard to get your home ready for the market. You’ve cleaned it better than it’s been cleaned in years. The beds are made, carpets vacuumed, and dishes are done. Now you just need somebody to walk in and the house will sell itself. What better way to do that than a public open house, right?
Actually, that isn’t necessarily the case…
If you are working with a good agent they will be using the most up to date methods and techniques to advertise your home to all audiences. In this day and age, the most effective way to market a home is online. We personally advertise on Facebook, Zillow and digital postcards, to name a few. Then we track the number of people who have looked at your home online while determining who is most likely to fall in love and make an offer on your home.
Now let’s talk about what happens at an open house.
During this time, three, maybe five parties walk through. They hmm and ahh as they meander around, and most of them avoid making eye contact with us, let alone conversation. Then, as they replace their shoes and prepare to exit we ask “So what did you think?” and they respond, “It was lovely, our agent will be in touch.” But then days pass by and we never hear from the agent, because these people were not even working with an agent. They were just touring the neighborhood with the intent of seeing as many homes as they could in their Saturday afternoon.
Now obviously, this is a generalized scenario and there will always be exceptions to the rule. But most serious buyers who have already been qualified and are prepared to put an offer down on a home are working with an agent who will show them homes on their time schedule. AKA they don’t need to come to open houses. So generally they don’t wait around for them.
Open houses tend to attract neighbors and homebuyers who are very early in the process of buying a home. They use open houses as an opportunity to feel the market; to compare what the home looks like compared to the photos online and get a better idea of what they will be able to buy with what they believe their budget is.
This is why real estate agents really love to host open houses. There is a high likelihood that they’ll capture a client to either list a home or buy a separate home. This means the agent has raked in more business, but that business does not necessarily mean the sale of your home.
Now, it’s usually about this time in the conversation that I hear the emphatic argument “Well, I fell in love with my home at an open house; I called my agent as soon as I set foot outside and we made an offer that night! I am living proof that open houses are a great way to sell your home!”
Of course, there is always a possibility that your home will sell at an open house. However, in my seventeen years of selling real estate, I have had two parties buy a home during an open house. I have easily hosted over one hundred open houses in that timeframe.
Based on my experience alone, this means there’s about a 2% chance your home will sell during the open house.
There’s also the issue of safety for both your home and for the agent. Remember these are open to the public, and there is no controlling who may decide to stroll through your home that afternoon. A serious conversation about safety should occur before agreeing to an open house.
I personally love hosting open homes, it’s wonderful to chat with new people and new settings. I can’t think of too many other things quite as enjoyable.
For most home sellers who want to ensure they don’t leave any stone unturned having one or two open homes can ensure that the home is getting maximum exposure to the buying audience.
The key takeaway is: be realistic about what an open house can do for you. Give serious consideration to making your home available to the public. With both these items accounted for, if you and your agent decide to have open homes, then do the best you can to make it the best open house possible.