Selling your home? Open houses are a time-honored way to get prospective buyers in your door – along with nosy neighbors, a six-kid family and a guy looking for your watch, your cash, your iPad or whatever else he can swipe upstairs while the realtor is the basement with the neighbor and three of the free-ranging children.
In the age of the internet, with virtual tours putting a market’s living and dining rooms on a smart buyer’s handheld device, is an open house a worthwhile strategy?
Pros and Cons of Holding an Open House
- Open houses attract those buyers who might not know the real estate ropes. For example, there are people who might not be comfortable with a traditional real estate process or quite understand it, younger buyers, or buyers who simply want to do it on their own.
- Some brokers hold “broker open houses” in which the broker runs his or her agents through the home, with the agents in turn putting it on their show list.
- Some discerning buyers want to experience a home. Prospective buyers can’t get that online and don’t necessarily want to feel rushed by a realtor. Open houses are leisurely.
- Nosy neighbors buy houses too. A lot of people simply want to stay in the neighborhood or area. Open houses are a good invitation to do so.
- Few actual bids come from open house shoppers. In fact, the realtor holding the open house often picks up a qualified buyer for his or her other inventory or winds up taking them on MLS showings.
- Back to the nosy neighbors – most aren’t actually going to buy your house. They’re just taking a look around.
- Repeated open houses spells diminishing returns – some sellers hold an open house every week, and it starts to look desperate.
- You might be sorry about who walks in. There are security issues, especially if the house gets busy and the realtor is occupied elsewhere, and some people are just messy, careless or rude.
- For sale by owner folks can easily get in over their heads with an open house. No realtor can mean having to talk the talk that you might not know how to talk in your kitchen with a room full of strangers.
So, should you have an open house? See what your realtor thinks, ask about their track record, and weigh the pros and cons before you decide what’s right for you.
Have you ever had an open house? How was your experience? Share in the comments below.