Listing a home for sale is the first step in the sales process, and the road to closing escrow and passing the keys to the new owners can be a long one. There are many different ways to market the property and attract buyers, but open houses have been a tradition and a tried-and-true approach to selling a home for a very long time. Are open houses still considered to be a top tier marketing tool for selling a home? Yes and no! Open houses can be valuable because they increase exposure of the property, but the reality is that an open house will not increase the chances of selling the property faster. If you are listing your home for sale, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of an open house before you agree to this popular marketing method.
Pros of an Open House
A listing agent’s most important job is to ensure that their client’s home gets maximum exposure and reaches a wide audience that might be interested in making an offer and purchasing the home. There are many ways that a realtor can increase exposure through marketing, passing out fliers, door knocking around the neighborhood, reaching out to other colleagues in the business and hosting an open house. Agents can also host a separate broker’s open house where they only invite real estate professionals to view and tour the home so they can bring in their interested buyers and quickly sell the home. Without exposure the chances of selling a home decrease significantly. While most homes for sale are listed on the MLS, this is not always enough to encourage potential buyers to submit an offer. The more people that see the listing in person, the more likely you will find the right buyer quickly.
While a good portion of open house visitors will have planned on stopping by and exploring this specific listing, there will also be a significant group of buyers who drop in from the street. This is why street signs are so important to point interested buyers in the right direction. There are many buyers who will stumble upon an open house sign on their way to the grocery store, lunch with friends or while walking around a neighborhood over the weekend. Open houses are so convenient and encourage just about anyone to stop by, take a look around and ask for more information about the listing.
- Open to Larger Audience
Open houses are available to more than just a potential buyer. Other agents and brokers are also invited to open houses so they can look around and see if they can find a buyer for the property. This encourages agents to work together so they can sell the home faster. Other people who may be interested in attending an open house can include neighbors in the community who can then pass on the information to their friends and family. This in turn increases the pool of who might be interested in learning more about the listing and maybe even making an offer. This ties back to the exposure you achieve when hosting an open house – the more people that it is open to the wider your reach and the better the chances of quickly finding an interested, motivated and qualified buyer for the property.
- Allows Buyers to Browse
Most buyers will always look at homes for sale online first, then they’re likely to look at listings that their agent will send them. But nothing beats browsing a home in person, even with modern technology allowing for high quality 3D virtual tours seeing a property firsthand is preferable for most buyers. Attending an open house in person allows the buyers to comfortably browse the home from room to room without the pressure of a third party. Even though the listing agent will be present to make sure the home is safe and secure during the open house, they are there to answer questions and provide additional information. If a buyer is interested in the property and serious about making an offer, they can always make an appointment for a private showing where they can spend more time looking around and asking any unanswered questions.
Cons of an Open House
- Security Concerns
One of the main concerns over hosting an open house is opening up a private home to strangers who may have ulterior motives for visiting. Vandalism, theft and break-ins are likely to take place during or after an open house, which is why it is important for the sellers to make sure any valuables and high-quality items are safely stored away. It is nearly impossible for a real estate agent to keep an eye on every single person that walks through an open house or supervise them as they explore the property. Open houses of vacant properties are also at an increased risk for criminals to break in and vandalize the property when no one is around.
- Lookie Loos
One of the positives of an open house is that it will attract neighbors to stop by and then share the information with their friends and family who may be looking to buy a new home. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of an open house also happens to be the fact that they attract neighbors. Inquisitive neighbors may stop by just to look at your house and compare it to their own – these types of lookie loos will visit the house, explore the property but with no intention to make an offer or share the information with their friends and family. If the property is a high-end or luxury home, it can be especially appealing for some people to stop by and waste some time on the weekend.
- Attract Unqualified Buyers
Open houses can attract many unqualified buyers, which is a waste of time and energy for the real estate agent. One of the first things a buyer should do, before they start looking at homes listed for sale, is to get a pre-approval from their lender. A pre-qualification or pre-approval for a mortgage gives an idea of how much house the buyer can afford. This can help narrow down the choices so that buyers aren’t wasting time looking at houses that they cannot afford. Many people who attend open houses have not yet taken this important step, and chances are that they won’t be able to afford to buy the home. There’s no way to pre-screen open house visitors or determine whether they are pre-approved at first glance.
- Lowers the Chance of Sale
Although open houses are an outstanding marketing tool and will increase the exposure of a listing, it won’t exactly increase your chances of selling the house. In fact, most home sales are not a direct result of an open house. A potential qualified buyer could attend the open house and convert into a sale, but chances are that interested buyers are more likely to make a private appointment to come by and explore the property on their own time without the distraction of other people. An open house is unnecessary for a home to sell, but it is a great tool to gain exposure and basically get the word out that this home is listed for sale. The best way to bring in interested and qualified buyers is to directly schedule private showings. When you schedule private showings, you ensure that you are working with qualified, pre-approved buyers who you have financially vetted and who are serious about making an offer and seeing the sale through.
When you list a home for sale with a real estate professional, you need to sit down with them and weigh the pros and cons of holding an open house before you decide whether or not you would like that to be part of the marketing plan. Keep in mind that a good real estate agent will be able to sell your home regardless of whether you host one or not. There are many other ways to market a property and attract interested and qualified buyers. Some of the best ways to market a property listed for sale include:
- Listing the property on the MLS
- Sharing information, pictures and videos on social media pages like Facebook and Instagram
- Run paid promotions on social media websites to reach a larger audience
- Develop an email marketing campaign complete with neighborhood information, videos, virtual walk throughs and more
- Use drone photography to showcase the property and neighborhood from different angles
- Host a broker’s open for colleagues and professional partners only
- Create a website dedicated to the property
If you are interested in listing your Bryan College Station home for sale, please don’t hesitate to contact our team to learn more about our expertise and approach to selling real estate. We have more than 25 years of experience in the industry and we are committed to helping our clients achieve their real estate goals quickly, efficiently and effectively. We look forward to hearing from you soon!