Open Houses, Are They A Waste Of Time?

Published: 17th August 2015
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An open house seems like a good idea at first. Instead of having to go through one tour after another, you can schedule an open house and have multiple people look at your property at the same time. With more people and more traffic, you are more likely to get a pleasing offer. However, in many cases, it does not work out that way.

Questionable Effectiveness

Many sellers and real estate agents themselves have questioned the efficacy of open house showings. The popularity of these showings closely resembles the trend of the real estate market itself. For example, 41% of home sellers said that they used open houses in 1995. The numbers dropped to only 28% in 2003, but then rocketed to 51% in 2005 according to the National Association of Realtors. One forth to about one half of all sellers in the past decade has used an open house at some point to show off a home. That's great and all, but how many open house showings result in a quick home sale? Very little do. Most of the people that walk through the door are just browsing. Some are your neighbors that want to take a peek at your home décor, while others stop by for the refreshments. Some people find the agent an affable person and use them for other transactions. There may be myriad reasons as to why people attend, but very few among the lot will be serious buyers.

Security Threat

Even though open houses are usually good for the Realtor, an ever increasing number of them refuse to do one unless specifically requested to by the home seller. These agents see them not only as a waste of time, but they can be potentially dangerous. Just like the seller doesn't know the reasons that people are touring the house, the agent doesn't know why people that come by are there either. There have been cases when Realtors have been assaulted, raped, or even killed while doing an open house.

When is an open house worthwhile?

There are really only two reasons why an open house would be considered worthwhile. First, if the house itself is a unique piece of property that demands a tour in person, such as multimillion dollar homes or very unique architectural dwellings. In such cases, home buyers are better suited to visit the home rather than scrolling through pictures or video tours. However, even then, it is better for both parties to schedule a private showing than an open house since a buyer is at his leisure and both agents and sellers are assured of the safety of themselves and their home.

The other reason is that open houses are done specifically for the agent. Listing agents have found that open houses are not usually very effective for the buyer, they are very good for other agents. Most buyer's agents are more likely to show a house if they have already seen it, which in the end will lead to more sales.

Virtual Tours & Web Pages

Well-detailed web pages are more effective and much safer than open house showings. More buyers than ever before are using the internet as a way of browsing homes in the area, and using these listings to narrow down homes they would visit. Thus, it is more likely that a video tour accompanied by high quality photos will lead to serious buyers than an open house showing. A detailed web site will work for you 24 hours a day without you having to leave your home, and real estate agents can help you market your home online. Compared to an open house, setting up well-developed web pages may be one of the most important steps to selling a house as well as one of the safest.


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