For anyone who has sold a home through traditional real estate means, i.e. hiring a Realtor, you have likely dealt with the inconveniences of the whole process. You have made sure to clean up in the mornings, left personal belongings in a safe place, left the house at the drop of a hat, and made sure to make plans for the expected Sunday Open House that was pushed by your Realtor.
What is an open house and what does it do?
There are two types of open houses, broker open houses, and public open houses.
Broker Open Houses are used to showcase a listing to other Realtors. If another Realtor has a client looking in your price point, this is a valuable way for them to see the home without having to drag the client there, also known as a 'preview'.
Public Open Houses, the topic of this post, are intended to showcase the listing to the public. This might include neighbors, buyers, or just someone that was driving by and noticed the open house sign.
Do Public Open Houses Sell the Listing?
Ask the National Association of Realtors, which reported that, in 2014, only 9% of buyers found the home they eventually purchased at an open house. That’s down from 16% in 2004. To put that in perspective, if your home is a hotly desired listing, and you have, say 10 people come through the home for the open house (which is a LOT), that means that there is a chance that 1 of those buyers actually purchases the home. Again, the assumption here is that 10 visit.
Now, let me be clear, this blog post is not intended to stop homeowners from giving the keys to a Realtor to host an open house. Clearly there is some value, albeit a small amount.
So, what's your point?
Let's back up: When you first list your home, immediately it is marketed all over the place, ideally creating some level of Organic Growth. This immediate pop of activity quickly subsides, say about two weeks later. The real benefit to hosting this open house, and hopefully strategically scheduling it so it isn't immediate, is to reinvigorate the activity on the Internet for buyers who are seeking something similar to your listing/home.
The case I am making here is simple, let your Realtor host an open house, but make sure it coincides with something substantial, such as a new listing, or a price reduction.
How do I get the most out of the open house?
Depending on your local laws, some of these strategies might help get MORE out of the open house (and set you up to counter your real estate agent when they request hosting an open house).
It goes to show that there is always some way to help generate more buzz for anything a Realtor does. If leveraging multiple marketing strategies for your home, the open houses can have a more desirable effect on their listings.
Why does my Realtor want to continue doing these open houses then?
Realtors use open houses as a tool to acquire new buyers and new business. There are a few reasons why doing an open house is a good idea for a Realtor. It shows they are busy. They can pick up new clients. They can further market themselves through their town, through signage.
Realtors thrive when their face is continually in the public. This tends to lead to an insistence to host an open house for every listing, sometimes as often as every two weeks. This frequency can be beneficial once the additional marketing is considered, but only if it is done the right way.
Ultimately, as the homeowner, you decide who shows your house, and when. If you aren't home on Sundays, and an open house is not an inconvenience, then let the Realtor host it. But make sure they implement some supplemental marketing in order to increase the efficacy of the open house. Otherwise, you leave the house for nothing.
We (Joe and Chris Balestriere) are Realtors in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Our blog is meant to educate buyers and sellers and equip them with tools to get the most out of their Realtor, whether it is us or someone else. We focus on technology and how it enhances the work we do for our clients--we are not top CT Realtors by accident.