Residential open houses have long been a part of the real estate sales process. They’re normally held by the seller’s agent on weekends, and are designed to bring attention to properties. And while they’ve traditionally been very popular, many of today’s sellers – perhaps yourself included – are left wondering if they’re actually as effective as they’re chalked up to be.
The Pros of Hosting an Open House
If you’re thinking about hosting an open house, you aren’t alone. It’s something hundreds of thousands of homeowners do each year. Here’s why:
Whether you’re selling a keychain or a million-dollar property, more exposure theoretically leads to a better chance of a sale. Even in this day and age, an open house has the ability to increase exposure for your listing and, as a result, improve your chances of getting competitive offers.
An open house doesn’t capture nearly as much attention as other digital avenues, but it’s arguably just as effective. While an online listing is able to generate thousands of impressions, most are considered low-value interactions. An open house might only reach a couple of dozen prospective buyers, but it’s high-level engagement. Both play an important role in selling a property.
Attracts Green Buyers
Many first-time buyers are, understandably, unfamiliar with how the process works. They might not even realize that they have to get approved by a bank. Or they may have questions about whom to contact first – a realtor or a lender? One potential positive of an open house is that it allows you to reach these green buyers who could potentially be qualified to purchase your home. Your agent will get a chance to speak with them and potentially help put them in a position to make a purchase.
Comfortable Sales Pitch
An open house is usually very relaxed and easy going. Interested buyers are allowed to browse the home independently and spend as much or as little time as they’d like looking at the property. If they have questions, they can ask your agent. If they discover that they aren’t interested, they can leave with no strings attached. Many buyers prefer it this way and the positive experience of an open house pays dividends.
Efficient Use of Time
An open house is a great way to save time and make the most out of a weekend. Rather than hosting a dozen showings – which requires you to clean up and get out of the house each time a prospective buyer comes by – you host everyone at once. This is easier for everyone’s schedule. You also get the added benefit of having multiple people in the house at the same time, which drives up the sense of competition.
The Cons of Hosting an Open House
But there’s a reason – many in fact – that only some homeowners host open houses when selling. For each of the benefits listed above, there are equally powerful risks and negatives. Here are a few of the top ones:
Low Chance of Selling
Research shows that 41 percent of buyers attend open houses, yet just 5 percent purchase a home through an open house. In other words, you have a relatively low chance of actually selling your home to someone who visits. Your realtor likes open houses because it allows him or her to network and find prospective clients. But as for you and your house? The data says it’s not very effective.
Unqualified Buyers and Nosy Neighbors
You get a lot of riffraff in an open house. From unqualified buyers to nosy neighbors, the majority of the people walking through your home aren’t in a position to buy the house. This has to make you wonder, what are they here for? (The honest answer is that most are there for entertainment, or they’re simply unaware that they’re unqualified to buy.)
Risk of Theft
With anyone allowed to come to an open house, there’s always the possibility of criminal activity or unwanted behavior. In particular, burglars may target open houses as an opportunity to steal items. In this New York Times article, the reporter mentions that open houses have been robbed of bath linens, table lamps, mirrors, and even large items like dressers and sofas.
Waste of Time
Wait, wasn’t the efficient use of time supposed to be one of the benefits of hosting an open house? Well, it all depends on how you look at it. In some cases, an open house is actually a big waste of time.
If you have a low chance of selling to someone who visits, a four-hour open house is nothing more than a time-suck on your weekend plans. It’s also four fewer hours that your agent can spend networking and showing your property to other clients.
Let Green Residential Help You Decide
To offer up a blanket statement like “all open houses are bad” or “everyone should use an open house to sell their home” is misguided and irresponsible. There’s no cookie-cutter answer in regards to whether or not a seller should host an open house. It always comes down to the unique set of circumstances surrounding the listing. (Personal preferences also come into play. Are you even comfortable hosting an open house and letting strangers into your home?)
When you work with one of the experienced agents on our Green Residential team, you’ll get personalized guidance on how to proceed with the sale of your Houston home. It might be that an open house could help you increase the odds of getting multiple offers on your home within the first week. Or it could be that an open house would be nothing more than a waste of time. We’ll help you figure that out.
For more information on selling your home with Green Residential, please don’t hesitate to contact us today! (Also, be sure to ask about our flat fee commission structure, which could save you thousands of dollars at the closing table.)