Are Open Houses Important?
By Andrew Hong
Many people have different opinions on holding open houses, both positive and negative. In my opinion, hold them open and hold them often, and I will tell you why. I honestly do not see any reason why people should not hold their homes open when on the market. Would you want to decrease your home’s market exposure? Open houses are a great way of attracting people that are actively searching the market for a home to buy. Like I stated earlier, your home is a part of inventory, and in order to sell it you will need to have your home open to as many people as possible, regardless whether they are just curious or window shopping. Getting people through the front door is the largest and hardest hurdle to overcome, although the internet has made this easier with its excessive amount of information and photos, open houses still do a very good job.
The positives of having an open house.
- Market exposure: the first 2-3 weeks of a new listing are crucial. When something new comes onto the market, people are notified whether from searching online or from their agents. This means your house must be accessible and open for showing constantly.
- Getting people in: Nowadays, people mainly home shop online. They will see pictures online that can possibly steer them away from your home. Pictures can say a thousand words, and not necessarily good ones. People cannot see every nook and cranny of a house with a couple of pictures. They need access to your home in order to imagine themselves living in it. Also, people believe that they can home shop while foregoing the use of agents to save themselves a little bit of money. Without an agent they lose a huge amount of accessibility to houses. Open houses are now their only method of viewing listings.
- Advertising: I know you’re thinking, “How can having an open house mean advertising?” When you have an open house it attracts attention. Not just from people that are driving by or in the market to buy a home. It also attracts neighbors and agents. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. People love to talk; some even so much that they won’t stop. I have hosted many open houses, and you’ll be surprised to see how many neighbors will come by to take a look. Neighbors are a wonderful way to obtain a sale. They will talk to their friends and family, and them to theirs, and so on.
So why do some agents choose not to hold open houses? There are several possible reasons for this:
- Weather conditions: Unfavorable weather conditions often deter people from wanting to take the trek outside. Rain, snow, heat, cold, clouds, etc. all of which can almost constitute an open house obsolete.
- Home is not prepared: A home can be in such poor condition that holding it open can actually exacerbate your chances of finding a buyer. Many homes can dirty, messy, or repulsive. Hopefully, by reading the earlier chapter in this kit, this won’t be a problem for you.
- Low traffic area: There are many homes that require dozens of turns within a neighborhood before they are even visible. This means, low traffic area and lower turnout. This includes condominiums that are central in complexes and hard to find.
- Bad location: Some homes may not be in secure locations, and an agent by themselves may feel vulnerable. On the other hand, some homes may be located in gated communities and holding an open house can be troublesome and difficult.
- Listing agent constraints: Sometimes agents will have multiple listings at once that they must serve. Of course, they cannot be in two places at one time. Also, some agents have apathy. They are lazy and don’t want to give up their time on weekends. This is definitely one trait that my team and I definitely do not share. When we obtain listings we try to keep them open to the public as much as possible or the seller allows.
Although I still agree to some of these points, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hold an open house for yourself. If you feel that your house may be affected by any of the above then you may need to use a different strategy, however I still strongly believe in holding open houses. Many agents will persuade their sellers that open houses are useless. They will tell them that open houses are only meant for an agent to obtain buyers for themselves, which I admit is not entirely false. Yes, agents can obtain potential buyers from open houses, but meanwhile they are still keeping your house open to the public for viewing, which means this is really a win-win situation. Agents will also tell their sellers something along the lines of, “only 2-4% of home sales are attributed to open houses”. In my opinion, if you can obtain a transaction at 3% of the people that see your house, then you’re in good shape. When we hold open houses, we thoroughly advertise it to drive as much traffic to it as possible. During an open house I would say about 10-20 parties come in per day. According to the common statistic at 2%, this would mean we only have to hold an open house 2-3 days before we get one interested buyer. That’s pretty good odds! Yes, there may be some good reasons why you should skip having an open house, but do they outweigh the positives that I’ve mentioned before? I hope that these points help some of you out there that are debating whether sacrificing their convenience is worth it. In my honest opinion, open houses are definitely helpful and you can gain a lot of activity from them. For our listings, we try to have open houses at least the first 4 weeks on the market or even more depending on our sellers. We find it a very useful tool when selling homes.