Are open houses really necessary?
Quite often, this question comes up when discussing marketing strategies with our sellers. "Do I really need to have an open house?" Or, alternatively, "You'll do an open house every Sunday, right?" Sellers' expectations on this are often contrasting, and the answer to this question is different for every home and seller. Below are several things to think about when you discuss this topic with your agent.
Do you want the general public in your home looking through your things? There's only so much that an agent can see if there are multiple parties in the home, and on rare occasions, valuables can disappear. In the Wichita area, for example, we had a gentleman a couple of years back that got arrested for going to open houses and stealing prescription drugs from medicine cabinets. Our local MLS board got his description out, and he was finally apprehended after much stress on the part of both agents and sellers.
That brings us to another question. How do we know that the people coming in the home are actually qualified to buy the home? Often, they are not. Many buyers start the process by attending open houses, simply because of the low barriers to get into the door. For an open house, there are no requirements to have spoken to a lender or an agent, and they don't even have to want to buy a house to get inside if the home is open to the general public. Aside from the "Looky Lous," as one of my favorite clients likes to call them, this can bring the nosy neighbors out to check out your house without you even knowing.
How will the public know what your house looks like if it isn't held open? The simple answer is that with the technology we have today, we can give the public a very accurate view of the rooms, floor plan, and layout of the home before they ever set up a showing appointment. With 3D Matterport Tours, video walk throughs, and high definition professional photography that can be used for marketing, there is never a question as to which bedroom is closest to the laundry, and so on.
Will an open house really sell your home? The unfortunate answer is that no, it likely will not. In ten years of selling real estate, I have sold exactly one home to the visitor of an open house, and she had called me the previous week to tell me she was coming to the open because she could not make it by before then. I met another woman at an open house once that liked me and wanted me to help her buy a home, but the one she purchased was not the one we met at. According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of homes sold at an open house is no more than 2%.
For the occasional seller that insists that open houses be a part of their marketing plan, we are happy to oblige. In this day and age, however, many sellers are opting to enjoy their Sunday afternoon at home instead of humoring the open house, and we don't blame them.
What are your thoughts on the issue?