Most home sellers believe that public open houses are a great tool for marketing their homes. While I don’t claim to clients that open houses have an impact on a home’s sale, sellers seem to have a belief that the more people who tour the home, the more chance of its selling.
Here are some things I tell my clients, both buyers and sellers, about open houses:
- Most Realtors hold open houses to pick up new business, either new buyers or other sellers in the neighborhood. If an open house visitor is not represented and doesn’t particularly like the house the agent is holding open, the agent WILL try to enlist them as a client and suggest other properties.
- If your Realtor is a high-profile, high volume agent, they are probably not doing their own open houses, leaving them to less experienced agents.
- If you put an Open House sign in the yard, you can’t really control who attends; nor can the agent constantly watch everyone who comes to the open house at all times. There are really no controls to keep visitors from going through your medicine cabinets and personal items or casing your house for future visits.
- The open house is a good way for your neighbors to check out how you live and maybe get some decorating ideas, and a good opportunity for the agent to try to influence them to consider listing too.
Will I continue to do open houses? Yes, at least for the near future. Do I think they are a necessary part of a home marketing plan? No. With easy access today’s consumers have to listing information online – multiple photos, detailed descriptions and measurements, video, valuation, neighborhood information, etc., many legitimate real estate shoppers are able to narrow the field fairly easily. Over the years, very few of my visitors have bought the house that found at an open house, but checking out open houses is still a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, whether you are a home buyer or not.