Should I Have an Open House?

open house

It seems like every real estate agent and every home seller has a different opinion about open houses and whether they are worth the time and effort.

I’ve heard everything from “I sell all my listings at open houses” to “Agents only host them to get new clients” and everything in between.

I’m going to break down the Pros and the Cons so when it’s time to sell your house you can decide what’s right for you.

The Cons: Why You Might Not Want to Have an Open House

There are a few reasons both home sellers and real estate agents don’t like open houses. Truthfully, I can understand and get behind their reasoning. Open houses are a hassle for everyone involved and they don’t always work.

Probably the biggest complaint about having an open house is that home sellers find it inconvenient. Afterall, they need to get the house cleaned up and show ready. Then be gone for 4-5 hours. I get it, it’s a hassle. Regardless though, a home for sale should always be clean and ready to show. So is this really a reason to not have an open house?

Home owners also don’t love the fact that Looky-Loos and neighbors will be attending the open house. Sometimes I’ve even heard that they believe only Looky-Loos attend. While I don’t think that’s true, I can understand being uncomfortable knowing that some of the attendees aren’t serious about buying a home. And it can be awkward knowing that Neighbor Joe perused your personal space.

The last complaint I hear frequently is that open houses are more about the realtor finding new clients to work with than selling the house they are standing in. I think it’s actually a mix of both. Over the years I’ve come to learn you can’t make someone want to buy a specific home, so if the home doesn’t fit them, then what’s the harm in the real estate agent developing a relationship with the prospective home buyer? It is a sweet bonus if someone does walk into the open house and wants to purchase that home. And yes, I’ve seen it happen many times.

I do think the agent who is most likely to want the home to sell is the listing agent, and coincidentally they also have the most knowledge on the home and can probably share the details with visitors the best. But even they can’t force a sale. So it isn’t so much that the agent hosting the open house doesn’t want to sell that house, it’s more that if the opportunity arises to develop a relationship with someone they can work with, they will.

The Pros: Reasons to Have an Open House

It’s your call whether the Pros outweigh the Cons, but there are several great reasons to have an open house when your home is for sale.

My favorite reason is it gives your listing agent an excellent opportunity to do lots of extra marketing for the property. The home shows up with an extra “Open House” tag on Zillow, Redfin and other websites. The social media posting opportunities are endless. The open house can be advertised in local print and online newspapers. Your agent can call/email their database and other local realtors to get the word out. There are just tons of extra ways your home can be marketed when an open house is scheduled. Whether or not the people actually show up to the open house doesn’t really matter, because the home has now been put in front of hundreds of extra home buyers that it otherwise wouldn’t have been.

Another great reason to have an open house, especially on the first weekend you are listed, is to consolidate the showings. It’s inconvenient to leave the house everytime someone calls to view the property. So if you plan one or two open houses on opening weekend, most of those showings can be consolidated to the 3 hours of the open house. I find it’s much easier to plan a 5 hour activity to keep out of the house than to continue coming and going all day.

A third reason in favor of open houses is the opportunity for in-depth feedback. Unlike a traditional showing where your listing agent has to reach out after the fact to obtain feedback from the buyer’s agent, at an open house your agent gets the opportunity to ask visitors their feedback right on the spot. This gives you an opportunity (if no offers are received) to fix anything that can be fixed. Or if needed change the price to reflect the feedback.

Saving the best reason for last….you never know when someone is going to walk in and want to buy the home! Remember the Looky-Loos and neighbors you were so concerned with? Sometimes a Looky-Loo turns into a buyer. And sometimes a neighbor has a friend or family member who is looking to live in the same neighborhood. There are no guarantees this will happen, but there is a guarantee that if you don’t have an open house it will never happen.

So What Do I Choose?

There’s plenty of great reasons to have an open house and there are a couple of cons. If those downsides outweigh the positives it probably isn’t detrimental to your home sale to not have an open house. Plenty of homes sell without ever having an open house.

If you are still up in the air on what’s best for you, consult your real estate agent. They will be able to clue you in as to what’s best for your location and price point. Don’t have a real estate agent? I might know a great one 😉

Give me a call and we can discuss open houses and any other questions regarding selling your home and meeting your real estate goals.