I like keeping things real, so here is my honest opinion regarding sellers scheduling open houses.

Back in Pre-Internet days, conducting an Open House on behalf of a seller was a must have!  At the time, the only real other forms of marketing available consisted of a posted lawn sign, passing out property flyers, knocking on doors asking neighbors if they knew of anyone interested, or newspaper ads.  Real estate agents maintained huge notebooks with printed listing sheets (usually typed) containing property information and perhaps one actual exterior house photo.  Buyers would have to go to that property’s specific brokerage, because only that exclusive office could show that house.  It was crazy!

The Internet has revolutionized the world, including the real estate industry.  According to NAR, 51% of buyers found the home they purchased on the internet (likely posted by the list agent), while 34% was strictly through their agent.  That being said, buyers are looking first looking online for homes before they contact their agent and ask to go see a house.  Open Houses no longer have the impact they once did.  Many great photos & detailed descriptions in property listings/ads is today’s must have!

Nonetheless, open houses do posses merit.  Let’s take a look at the Pros & Cons:

  • Open to everyone – If an agent schedules and properly markets an open house, it can certainly attract many people.  But I did just say people… NOT necessarily potential buyers.  You’ll get the neighbors, the bored couple looking to role play for fun, the curious passerby, the lady riding her bicycle, the man walking his dog; everyone!
  • More exposure – Of course more exposure is great.  A broadly cast net will grab something, right?
  • Actual browsers – There are those few that are actively looking and don’t just rely on internet searches, so they are driving around looking for places to browse.
  • New clients for Agent – This is the actual successful outcome of open houses.  Agents get to meet neighbors considering selling their homes or unrepresented buyers which can become their buyer-clients.  Open houses allow the agent to showcase their marketing skills, print media, gain rapport, etc..
  • Rarely produces offer – Statistics show LESS than 1% of properties sell due to an open house.
  • Nosy neighbors – You must admit, there are people in your neighborhood you just don’t want coming over and checking out your house.  You know who I’m talking about?  Yup, they are gonna go through your closet, office, bedroom… ugh.  They’re not interested in buying OR telling their relatives about your great place; they just want to LOOK.
  • High stress levels – For many, a 3-hour open house involves days of prepping, cleaning, scheduling, and stress.  Some open houses simply offer cookies, some desserts and coffee, while others provide heavy hors d’oeuvre, wine, and some even “guest gifts” with food served by a wait staff.  What stress levels (and budget) could you handle?

What’s my take?  Some properties will definitely benefit from an Open House, while for others, it would be a waste of time and money for the Seller.  The agent, on the other hand, can always benefit from the personal marketing.  It would be best to discuss the specifics with your agent to ensure that it is YOU who are benefiting from holding an open house, not just the agent.

I hope this was helpful!  If you liked the blob, please like and share!  Contact me if you have any real estate questions!