On this blog, I’ve often discounted the importance of open houses. I’ve stated that they are traditionally a marketing tool for agents to find new clients and there is nothing wrong with that. The traditional weekend open house also serves a bunch of other purposes like giving everyone and anyone who wants to see the house a chance to do just that. That saves a lot of wasted effort on everyone’s part.
Also, often a potential buyer (without his or her agent) will come through weekend open houses and that may lead to a sale. Would this potential buyer otherwise have booked a showing and come through?
Hard to say.
The pendulum swings
I’ve noticed a change, a new trend. Open houses are actually selling houses again. How can that be? Here are some ideas.
Control moves back toward buyers
During the craziness of a few few years ago, buyers were really at the mercy of the market, and of the sellers. They had to rely on their agent’s advice and act fast to bid on properties before they were snapped up by other buyers. Buyers today are taking control back and acting more independently. They have more information now because of the internet than they ever had in the past and they have more time too. Visiting weekend open houses is a good way to get the lay of the land without involving their agent.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) was a major motivator a few years ago. That’s gone now. What’s replaced it is a more casual approach to buying real estate. Buyers still might want to buy, but they have the option to buy on their time. They aren’t that motivated frankly. Visiting open houses when an interesting listing comes up seems to be a way to stay connected to the market without too much commitment.
Advice for home sellers
As open houses are currently again a hot marketing tool to sell your home, here are some tips to optimize your weekend open house
- Insist on having weekend open houses
- Have them on your first weekend on the market, both Saturday and Sunday and then on the following two weekends as well.
- It is best if the listing agent is hosting the open house. Your agent will know the details of the listing. If an associate is hosting, is that realtor only hosting to find potential clients?
- Do not stick around for the open house.
- Do not return until at least half an hour after the end of the open house. They often go overtime and that’s a good thing.
- Make sure that your home is in its more marketable condition before the open house.
Update: I wrote this post a few months ago and scheduled it ahead to publish while I am typically at my busiest. A blog post about Open Houses is surprisingly completely out of step with the times. We are not currently doing open houses and I wonder if we ever again will.
Is doing an open house worthwhile?