I recently had a conversation with a seller whose condo association does not allow open
houses. Her property has been listed since July and traffic was slow. The property was well
priced and matched the comps within the area, it just wasn't seeing much traffic. She posed the
question to me if open houses make much of a difference. In my experience, I have seen the
pros and cons of an open house, so I shared with her both sides of the coin. You have a buyer
perspective, a seller persecutive, a real estate broker perspective, and a luxury perspective
when it comes to open houses. If they are controlled and executed in the right way, open
houses can be a very rewarding experience for the seller and the real estate agent. If they are
not taken seriously, its like playing the lottery with a sellers home.
As a seller, your goal is to sell your home, no matter any market. Hot or slow, there are ways to
market your home to get it the most exposure, to maximize the situation and get your home
sold. There is always a buyer out there. For residential or rental home sellers, an open house
is a way for more eyes to be exposed to your home. We see it all the time, Sally comes in, she
isn’t a buyer, but her friend Molly and her husband turn out to be. Or Sally has a friend
relocating from Arizona, or Sally has a sister who wants a change. It isn’t always the person
who comes in that buys they house, but who they know. It gets brought up in conversation and
one week or 4 weeks later, the broker gets a call.
Another advantage to open houses is it gives the neighbors, or local investors a way to see the
property, who didn’t really know they were interested in the first place. So many times, I see an
investor who lives in the same building or down the street, they walked buy, saw it as a good
rental and bought it on the spot with an all cash offer. Open houses can be a really great
opportunity to get foot traffic to a listing.
A disadvantage to this as well is you must be aware of the “just looking neighbor”. The people
who for sure are never moving and think the market is a bust. They want to pick the brain of the
agent who is showing the house and try to somehow get them to admit the market is bad, just
because they feel it is. Many sellers also do not like the notion of many people walking through
their homes. You see this many times in the luxury market. You get people who want to see a
million dollar home but do not qualify to buy it. We get the appeal, the seller just isn’t
comfortable with it, so they choose not to do open houses. Sellers do not want a lot of
unmotivated buyers running around looking at their things, so its on the agent to get a bit clever.
Pre-marketing strategies, brokers opens, and a lot of media exposure help houses sell when
open houses are not an option.
As an agent, we want the home to sell as fast as possible so the seller can move on with their
plans. When holding open houses, you must market them in the best way to drive traffic to the
listing and make it appeal in a different way than the other comps on the market. You want your
agent to be well connected because when your listing has an open house you want every agent
with a buyer coming by. When done right, open houses will attract active buyers, represented
and/or not represented who are looking to buy now or within the next 1-3 months. You simply
cannot just put an open house alert on the MLS, have it assigned to all the hot online real estate
sights and cross your fingers. Playing russian roulette with your sellers home is a terrible
mistake that could make the listing cool off and lose its appeal by sitting too long.
Open houses are a great way for a home to get additional exposure when done right. The seller
has some great advantages to it, and when held correctly, the agent can really minimize the
disadvantages. The agent as well can benefit because it brings new buyers into their pipeline of