Pros and Cons to Hosting an Open House
When selling a home, hosting an open house seems like an obvious step in the process. Why wouldn’t you want to have a high number of people touring the property? And everything from television to real estate tradition points to open houses being a huge success, even resulting in an offer right then and there. But within the past couple years, more and more people are finding that they may not be all they’re cracked up to be. From horror stories to huge successes, both homeowners and real estate professionals alike can benefit from understanding the pros and cons of an open house to decide on the best approach for them.
Open for Everyone
An open house means high exposure. Prospective buyers, brokers, and lookie-loos alike, open houses garner a lot of attention and foot traffic. This can lead to offers, or even just a higher number of people showing interest. Plus, one specific benefit is attracting people brand new to the home buying process. Most of the time, people don’t know where to start and need a lot of assistance in maneuvering the maze of home buying. A couple looking to buy may see the open house sign, stop inside to get more information, and be able to build a relationship with you while starting their home-buying journey.
No one likes feeling pressured. Open houses, in general, provide a laidback, hands-off environment that allows potential buyers to move at their own pace. Being able to tour the space on their own time gives them a chance to imagine themselves living there: where they would set up furniture, what colors they’d paint the walls, how they’d decorate their kitchen. And if they do have questions? They’re more likely to ask you upfront, if you’ve taken a step back versus breathing down their neck the whole tour.
Sometimes people just don’t want to have to go through the fuss of scouring online postings or trying to manage schedules to set up an appointment. Open houses provide an easy, direct opportunity for buyers to walk through last minute or spend the whole afternoon looking around at a handful of open houses in the area.
Low chance for Sale
On paper, it would make sense that lots of people exploring an open house would probably up the chances of making a sale. But it’s actually the opposite. According to the 2017 NAR profile, only 7% of buyers found the home they purchased from an open house. Most of the time, sales are made through private showings or initial interest through an online posting.
High Stress Planning
Let’s face it, first impressions are everything. And from staging the house to getting the word out there, it can get pretty overwhelming. This is especially true if you don’t have that many helping hands to get the job done.
Possible Security Concerns
Open houses welcome an unfortunate higher risk of theft and break-ins, especially with a vacant home. Because open houses are, by name, open to all, you run the risk of welcoming people with ulterior motives into the space to check out security. Additionally, most theft actually occurs during the open house. With so many people coming in and out, it’s hard for a real estate agent to keep tabs on everyone, making it easier for someone to take something of value.
If you are having an open house, be sure to voice your concerns and go through any procedures to verify security is at the best it can be.
At the end of the day, finding the best approach really depends on you, the area, and weighing the advantages and disadvantages like the list we set out here. It always helps to have as much exposure as possible when selling a property, but when it comes down to it, your agent should be making the sale with or without an open house. Whatever you decide, be sure that it’s a move that you are comfortable with so you have no open-house-remorse later on.