The Finance Blogger


Open House – Worth the Effort?

Open House Worth the EffortYour ready to sell your home and your agent is telling you that you need to have an open house! Perhaps your home has been on the market for a while and you have had many open houses. Yet no one is buying or even giving you a chance to negotiate with them. Is it worth it to have another Open House? Many people believe that open houses are just another way for agents to make more contacts and obtain more clients. Yes they do find more contacts this way for them and for you as well at all of the open houses they run.

Is an open house worth the effort?

There is lots of work to agreeing to an open house. An open house is usually not the major marketing tool that agents will rely on when they’re trying to sell a property. Many real estate agents believe that open houses serve more to attract semi-interested prospects rather than serious buyers. It is a way for potential buyers to meet agents and express what they are looking for in a home. Agents admit that few sales traditionally come directly from an open house. As well, the Internet is also making open houses even less valuable. Buyers can view your home online and take a virtual tour of the home from the comfort of their own home across town or even in another city. But there are agents and homeowners who view open houses as an effective marketing tool that does help with sales.

When Should You Avoid an Open House

There are times when an open house is not practical at all, such as if a house is off the beaten path or in a gated community. Both situations involve a lot of extra work, especially in a gated community. Likewise, it might be best to avoid an open house on a shabby listing or one that requires a lot of work. It probably won’t get much traffic, and agents will be reluctant to have their name advertised heavily in association with it.

However, an open house can be a valuable opportunity to get feedback about what is and isn’t attractive about your house. It can be a little shocking and even maddening to hear some of the comments. You have to separate the comments into personal taste comments from those that are really constructive criticism.  If there are good suggestions or comments, sometimes it can be worthwhile acting on them. But it is not a good idea to hold them too often, as they can send a signal that the house is market warn or a tough property to sell.

On the other hand, in a hot seller’s market where houses are selling rapidly there is often no need for an open house. If the MLS listing and posting pictures on the Internet are already generating enough traffic of people who want to see your home  an open house is also no longer necessary.

Internet Listings

The development of Internet listings and other online state information is quickly making open houses more of an option, rather than a requirement for selling a home. Virtual tours of homes have made it easier for potential buyers to decide ahead of time if they want to invest the time in traveling to see your home.

Make Sure You Do a Good Job of Holding an Open House

Many agents believe that an open house is only worth having if it’s done properly and this includes sprucing up the house and its landscaping and advertising it well in advance.

Clean like crazy before the open house, preferably with good smelling organic cleaners that won’t upset anyone’s allergies. Clear the clutter, pets, toys and even extra cars from the garage. Draw back the drapes, clean the windows and remove the screen so the most light shines in., trim the hedges . Mow the lawn,and put some blooming flowers in pots by the doorway.

To increase traffic, try some unusual marketing strategies, like holding your open house during rush hour, or coordinating your open house with others in the neighborhood.

Manage Your Expectations

Not every open house will be popular and not every open house will generate a sale as we have discussed. Make sure you meet with your agent after the open house is finished to get feedback. They should cover at minimum the following:

  • Number of visitors
  • How many were neighbors vs people who are looking
  • Are there any people coming back for a second look
  • What were the positive comments
  • What were the negative comments
  • What do you need to do about the negative comments
  • What are the next steps

If your agent cannot answer these questions or is unprepared to address these items, then you may have just wasted your time in agreeing to have an open house.

Whether you’re an agent or a home owner looking to sell your home, please feel free to leave comments on this post to help our readers understand the entire area of open houses and why you should or should not have open houses.

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