Thursday, May 23, 2013

Do Open Houses Work?

Do Open Houses Really Work??


Home sellers ask this all the time.  Frequently, it can be quite the concern for the home seller.  The thought of  “allowing strangers to roam” about the house on a Saturday while being “forced” to leave for two to four hours can cause one to wonder if it is worth doing.

Yet, as I have shared with home sellers over the years, an Open House is a prime opportunity to expose your home to the market.   As a Realtor, I know an opportunity for buyer(s) to “touch and feel” the house via an experience of walking through a house is what will transform it into a particular buyer int  a home owner.   Frequently, the buyers attending open houses are the ready to purchase variety.  Open houses draw them in like hot cinnamon rolls draw me in at a bake sale.

The effectiveness of an open house requires the efforts of both the home seller and the Realtor.  Just throwing a sign up on Saturday afternoon will not draw the buyers.  And great marketing can be sabotaged by a home smelling of last night’s lasagna and/or rampant uncleanliness or a yard with untrimmed hedges and overgrown yard.   

During Virtual Tours and Open Houses, the subject house must be a show case.  I suggest to my clients that the house be clean enough to invite a pernickety mother-in-law to tour the house.  Dusty light fixtures and cobwebs won’t past inspection.  Secondly, the yard and front entrances must be inviting, drawing the buyer into your house…pots of pansies on the steps, perhaps.    Fresh flowers, staged reading corners, fresh baked cookies are among tricks of trade to make a house a home for any showing or open house.  The home seller, seeking a worthwhile open house experience, must think like a buyer.  The Realtor, like me, is ready to help the Seller set the stage!!

To be a truly effective part of the overall Marketing Plan, the Realtor will market the open house via postcards, door hangers or otherwise directly inviting neighbors.   Neighbors that love the neighborhood know people wanting in.   By placing open houses on my website,,, my Facebook page, Trulia and various other portals, a very broad group of buyers learn of an open house.  With over 85% of buyers starting or looking for their next home on the internet, it is key to an effective open house.  Frequently buyers come to open houses having seen the virtual tour on line to be able to see the home; Virtual Tours and Videos give a good introduction to the house but seeing is believing.

But then there are the signs!!   Signs on every corner, pointing to the open house, draws the “unsuspecting buyer”.  Yes, they are out there.  The people who don’t know they are looking for a new house until they find it.   Or, if the house is new on the market, we get the anxious buyer looking for anything new in the neighborhood.

Frankly, I encourage every home owner that I help to commit to open houses. An open house is a key tool in selling a home.  Though there is no guarantee that a buyer from an open house will buy a given house.  Yet, the same is true of another Realtor bringing a buyer to tour the house or a buyer viewing the home on Zillow or my website.  But each element has its place in the Marketing Plan to ensure the home sells in the least amount of time at the highest possible price.

An Open House is exposure that just can’t be beat.  Having done typically two open houses every weekend since I began, I know success awaits.  Buyers want to see homes.  Open Houses brings buyers!
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