Open Houses: Good Idea or Waste of Time?

The most stressful part of moving usually starts well before you start planning your physical move. Yes, I’m talking about selling your home. With the market down and financing tight, home selling is a challenge for even the best of Realtors and the hottest of spaces. Everyone has an opinion on the best way to move forward but, today, I want to talk about open houses. Is it worth it to throw an elaborate open house? Or, is this an area where some sellers can save a little money? There are varying thoughts and, for the most part, exposure is always a good thing but, before getting started, you will need to decide if an open house is right for you.

The only way to make a good decision about holding an open house is to think critically about the area, property and marketplace. For example, if your home is located in a prime location where it will get attention and foot traffic on its own, then an open house may be a waste of money. On the other hand, homes that are especially unique in style and/or location will benefit from a planned open house. Are you trying to sell an apartment on the trendy side of town? You may prefer to show by appointment. Do you live in a cabin up on a mountain? An open house is the best way to draw in a crowd.

To help you decide whether an open house is right for you, we tapped a relocation expert on the other side of the office to share his insight. Here are three reasons why, and three reasons why not, to have an open house:

Three reasons to hold an open house:

 1. Your home is unique.

Have you ever heard of “cookie cutter” homes?  These are homes that are all built similarly within a community.  If your home has more to offer than is visible from the curb, than having your Realtor hold an open house is probably a good idea because it will draw people in side.

2. Your home is off the beaten path.

If your home is more remote and not easily spotted by passersby off the road, an open house will encourage potential buyers to take a look. You and your Realtor will have to work hard on marketing the open house as well, and you probably want to have a special event for other Realtors in the area. If you home is very remote, be diligent in providing directions and other important information.

3. You home doesn’t translate well on paper.

Some properties have views and settings that can only be appreciated first hand. If you home isn’t translating well on paper, or on the web, you need to get people in the door.

Three reasons not to hold an open house:

1. Inconvenience.

Sunday is supposed to be your day to relax in the convenience of your home.  However, most open houses take place right in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. Not only do you have to find a place for you and your family to go, but you will also have to spend your entire morning making the home showroom perfect.

2. Violation of space.

The down side to selling a home is that, in order to be successful, you will need to allow strangers to roam about your home looking through your closets, bathrooms, attic, basement and everything in between. This is inevitable, but if you are especially sensitive to people in your space than having a party with a lot of them at once may not be the best idea for you.

3. Buyers are unlikely.

Most buyers who show up at an open house are not yet ready to purchase a home.  If they were, they would visit your home more efficiently while on a tour of viable properties with a licensed Realtor.  Open house visitors are usually either in the early stages of considering a purchase, nosy neighbors who say they are looking for a friend or Sunday drivers indulging in a daydream.  The appeal to your Realtor is future opportunities.  Although it does occasionally happen, most buyers do not find their home through an open house.

There are many factors that go into a decision about holding an open house, but these considerations should get you to start thinking about it more strategically. If you have a Realtor, they should provide you will good consultation about the pros and cons specific to your situation. If you are currently in the middle of the selling process, we hope you find success!

Are you selling your home? Why, or why not, did you hold an open house? Please share below.