open house


This is not an easy question to answer; but one that is often asked when I am working with people to sell their homes. There are definite positives and negatives to open houses. Perhaps the best way to respond is to explain both the pluses and negatives.

The Negatives

• No buyer through the door—In my over 20 years listing house and helping my clients sell their homes, I have rarely had someone walk into an open house and subsequently buy the house. In most cases, the people who are actively looking to buy are already working with a realtor, have clarified what type of house they are looking for and are scheduling showings in houses that appear to meet their specifications.
• Nosy neighbors—often, the biggest group of visitors are neighbors who had never been in the house. They are not in the market for real estate, they just always wondered what the house looked like; and this was their chance to have a tour.
• Sightseeing—there are people who just like to visit houses. Maybe they just like to look how people live, are looking for new decorating ideas, or are looking to fill time on a boring Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
• Damage/Theft—while it is extremely rare, there have been cases where damage has occurred or items have disappeared during and open house.

The Positives

• Increased Visibility—while it is unlikely that people attending an open house are likely to buy the house, they do see the house and learn about the true benefits of the house—not only the inside, but the decks/patios and yard as well. There is a good chance that they have friends who are in the market for a house and will tell them about the great features of your house. Even those nosy neighbors may end up referring a potential buyer after seeing the benefits of your house.
• Refining the presentations—as people walk through the house, they will share comments with the realtor about what they like and do not like about the house. These comments can be used to highlight the real benefits of the house or to change the staging of the house to present it in the best way.
In summary, an open house can be a part of the overall plan to market your house. It may not be a way to find the eventual buyer. However, it might greatly increase the awareness of the property and help to fine tune how the house should be marketed.