Nope. And here’s just a few reasons why.
Open houses are for agents to gather leads; qualified buyers that they can take to other homes to sell them.
Open houses used to work to sell homes. Before the internet, people used to come to a home on a weekend and see what the house actually looked like. It was their first experience with how the kitchen was set up, the flow of the rooms and the general layout. But now, all searches start on a website. Most listings have hi def photos attached, some have drone photography, floorplans, virtual staging, virtual tours where you can actually ‘walk through’ the home on your computer. Your best buyer (that holy grail of the buyer with the most money, with the shortest closing, and the least amount of hassle) doesn’t need to actually come to your home unless they like its internet mojo.
Your agent may be amenable or even pushing you for open houses. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with an agent holding a house open to generate leads. But just be mindful that for the most part, open houses do not sell homes. If a buyer is serious about a home, they will pick up the phone and call to make a private appointment; they will spend time there if they like it and they will ask questions. Your agent that is comfortable sitting in your home for a Saturday afternoon may be trying to chat up new potential buyers for their database.
Open houses bring people that are not qualified yet to buy a home.
An open house may be busy with a lot of folks that seem to be your perfect buyer. But as someone who has done a lot of open houses for my own listings as well as other agents, the ratio of ready, willing, and able buyers to those just out educating themselves on the market is usually pretty low. It comes down to the motivation of the buyer. If someone sees your home on whatever consumer facing site they saw it on and they like it, they will make an attempt to visit and view it. They will not worry about when your open house is. In fact, in this market with low inventory and homes going over ask, they will make every attempt to see it before the open house. And they will have a pre approval. And they will either already be in contract on the sale of their home or they’ll have nothing to sell. In short, they will be qualified, ready, willing and able.
A lot of people that visit open houses are not so motivated. They may be pricing their own home (more on this in a bit). They may be trying to get the kids away from the Gameboy for a couple hours. Or, they may be looking for decorating ideas for the house they just bought in the neighborhood. None of that is bad stuff. But none of them are qualified buyers for your home, so do you need them in it?
Open houses allow sellers to price their home based on yours and help them make theirs more attractively priced.
When you hold your home open you are providing a template. You are providing a price and a suite of features to your neighbors that are thinking of selling can use to price their home. And they can use that information to undercut your price. It’s not like you can hide information; you need it out there to sell your house. But if we agree with the tenet that open houses don’t sell homes, helping your neighbors to price their home is not in your best interest. Let em make an appointment with an agent to price their home against yours. Why help them compete with you.
Open houses invite the nosy neighbors in.
Do you really want them? I suppose it’s not a big deal, but have you invited them over before? Because Chatty Cathy from down the block will be there and looking forward to sharing her findings on the Elm Street Mom’s message board about what horrid color scheme she saw at an open house on her block. That kind of small mindedness does not bother me, but will it bother you?
Open houses can be a security risk.
Not to be an alarmist, but there are people out there with less than altruistic motives that can be walking through your home when no one is able to watch them. We ask our sellers to sign a waiver saying they don’t hold my broker responsible for the loss of valuables when we take a listing. We do our best to make sure everyone is accompanied at all times in every room of your home, but when an open house is busy, it is often impossible to keep an eye on everyone. It is not unheard of to have nefarious people looking at windows and doors to plan a burglary at a later date. Just food for thought.
A word about Realtors. The measure of a real estate agent is do they sell homes quickly, effectively and for what their client asked. If an agent has to do open houses because that’s what they always did, ask them why. If an agent seems to want to show you and the world that they are busy by doing open houses, be mindful of that. Open houses are a lot of work for little return. If your agent is working on looking busy, they are using time that could be better spent on marketing your home. An agent should have a network of people to market your home to, and should not have to invite a bunch of untargeted strangers into your home to sell it. Ask them if they understand this concept. To be honest, your agent should explain to you at the listing presentation the pros and cons of open houses. And I have respect for agents that will tell you flat out that open houses don’t sell homes, but I will do one or two if you, the client insisted.
A skilled agent does not need an open house to sell your home effectively. And if an agent tells you they need to do open houses to sell it take that advice with a grain of salt. Instead of asking your agent if he is doing open houses, ask them what their days on market stats are. Ask them what their list to expired ratio is. Ask them what their sale price to list price ratio is. An agent that has moved into the age of internet and digital marketing will have a very effective strategy for selling your home using methods other than an open house. Just because a method always worked, doesn’t mean it should be employed now.