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Are Open Houses Worth It?


red sign directing people to open houses with blurred out house in the background

In the last year, over 1.4 million new residential construction projects started in the US. The competition for selling homes is growing as more and more properties come to market.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you’re probably trying to think of ways to make your home stand out. In that situation, many people fall back on the open house method of advertising their homes.

But are open houses worth it?

Some think it’s surely a good thing to have dozens of people seeing your house all at once. It builds a sense of competition between buyers and seems to expand your buyer pool. Whether this translates to a high and fast offer is another matter.

Open houses require a huge amount of work on the selling party’s behalf. And they don’t return the amount of effort they require you to put in. In fact, the seller isn’t even the one who benefits most from an open house!

If you’re trying to decide if an open house is worth it, we’re here to walk you through the reality. Read on for the facts of the matter.

Are Visitors Active Buyers?

Do open houses sell homes? Or at least, do open houses help sell a house? It might shock you that only 4% of buyers find their home through an open house

This statistic is hugely due to the type of people who visit an open house.

But surely people who visit open houses are potential buyers? Not necessarily.

There are a whole host of people who visit open houses for other reasons. Here are a few examples of people who will be wasting your time.

Open houses rely heavily on footfall. They count on good advertising to catch passers-by’s attention and lure them in. But that’s the issue: They’re just passing by.

These visitors aren’t active buyers, so why would they lead to a sale? Usually, the biggest purchase of your life doesn’t happen on a whim! These visitors just take up space and don’t turn into buyers.

If they were truly an active buyer, they would book a private viewing. Some might do that after an open house, but it’s unlikely you happened to get the right buyer through the door. The perfect buyer is much more likely to have found your property online.

Other Non-Buying Visitors

Who else may visit your open house? There are three more common categories, none of which will lead to a sale:

  • First-time buyers doing research
  • Neighbors
  • Other agents

First-time buyers who are researching the area aren’t ready to make an offer. They’re learning about their options so that when the time comes to buy, they know where they want to live, and in what type of property. That means they’re not ready to buy when they’re at your open house, so won’t become a buyer.

Neighbors and other locals show up for a variety of reasons. They may want to show support to help make your home look popular, or they might just be nosy! Either way, they won’t be making an offer.

Finally, other agents may look around your property. This is for market research and networking purposes to help them with their real estate business. They most definitely are not there to buy your home.

Who Benefits From an Open House?

If all these people are taking up space at your open house, then do you really benefit from having one? No, but someone else does. Open houses are a great opportunity for your agent.

In the same way that other agents visit a property, your agent is also there to network. They meet people from the neighborhood and ask them if they’re thinking of selling.

Plus, an open house is one big advertising opportunity for your agent. Your open house signs are likely all over your lawn, and up and down the street. And they’ve all got your agent’s name on.

This gets their brand out into the community and is an effective way of marketing themselves much more so than it’s effective at marketing your home!

Potential Issues with Open Houses

Are open houses effective? No! They fill your home up with people that won’t buy, and they help your agent more than you. 

But there are even more issues. Consider the following factors when deciding whether or not to bother with an open house.

The Visitors

The visitors to your open house do more than not make an offer. They waste your time!

Preparing for an open house is no small task. It involves deep cleaning your home and packing personal and sensitive items like medication or documents. You may even have to find temporary accommodation for your pets.

Once that’s out of the way, there’s staging to consider. Some people invest thousands of dollars in staging their homes, so it’s warm and inviting for an open house. What a waste of time and money when no one makes an offer!

Besides the visitors wasting your time, they may actually pose a safety risk.

Thieves, burglars, and the like have been known to use open houses to scout out a property for robbery. If you don’t take your valuable items with you when you go, they may even go missing during an open house. What an unnecessary risk to take!

Agents May Benefit More

If your agent benefits from an open house more than you do, what’s the point in hosting one?

Essentially, there isn’t. Sellers who choose to have an open house invest time and money into a venture with little to no return. Instead, they’re just helping their agent find new clients, which is nothing to do with them!

The Promotion of the Open House

One problem we have yet to touch on is the marketing process for an open house. The most common way of advertising an open house is by sending a mass email to agents of buyers about the open house. How many agents will have a client that is looking for a property just like yours?

There’s no way of knowing. This means there’s no way of knowing if anyone who is actually in a position to buy will show up on the day. The other method of advertising – signs in the area – may just attract passers-by.

For this reason, some agents choose to make their open houses special by hosting an event at the open house. This could be a competition or class in the kitchen or backyard.

Not only do these attract more people who won’t make an offer, but they’re also a bad investment! Your home becomes vulnerable to wear and tear from the crowds of people. And there are so many people that your realtor can’t keep an eye on everyone, which creates further issues.

How the Internet Changed the Home Sales Experience 

Considering all these factors, it’s easy to see that open houses aren’t the best strategy. As the internet becomes a more intrinsic part of our lives, this becomes more and more true. The internet has changed how home buying works.

First of all, many home buyers nowadays are Gen X or Y, also known as millennials. These people grew up adapting to the internet, and use it in every aspect of their lives. Therefore, that’s how they’ll buy a house.

In fact, 50% of homebuyers find their property online, the most popular method by far. 

Instead of visiting local open houses, people scour the internet to see what’s available. And the descriptions go beyond providing floor plans and high-quality photos. Virtual tour videos help potential buyers to imagine themselves in a home.

Therefore, there’s no need for an open house. If the virtual tour doesn’t impress them enough to book a private viewing, an open house won’t either. It will not help you push potential buyers through to the sale.

Modern technology also makes home comparisons much easier. Why drive around viewing open houses when you can compare them online, from the comfort of your home?

In fact, the huge amounts of data available online mean you can receive cash offers for your house online. With just a home address, property companies can make an accurate estimate of your home’s value. You can sell your house online and avoid the hassle that comes with chains, dropouts, and open houses!

Are Open Houses Worth It?

Do open houses help sell homes? Only 4% of the time.

They help your agent much more than they help you. They present safety risks. On top of that, most people nowadays view houses online, not at an open house, before they book a viewing.

So are open houses worth it? Not in this day and age.

In fact, most realtor practices are outdated and cost you time and money. To sell your house in the most efficient way, enter your home address on our website to see what hassle-free cash offer you could get today.

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