Open Houses — Are They Worth It?

Emily Farber
Emily Farber
Published on August 14, 2019

So, your house is for sale…

When your house is on the market, most people want to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to get the place sold as quickly as possible. It’s easy to see why an open house is appealing…You do one big cleaning session, bake those cookies so warm, friendly aromas waft through the kitchen, and head out for the afternoon while you’re Realtor® greets the crowds who are out looking for a new home! But, does it really work that way?

Yes and no. Watch my YouTube video on the topic here!

AbsolutVision / Pixabay

Chances are…

Statistics gathered by the National Association of Realtors® in 2018 show that the following numbers for the ways buyers found the home they purchased:

50% found their home by seeing the listing somewhere on the internet

28% found their home through a suggestion by their real estate agent

7% found their home by either a for sale sign in the yard or an open house

7% found their home from a friend, neighbor or relative

7% found their home through a home builder

3% found their home because they knew the seller

1% found their home through a print newspaper ad

As you can see, the lion’s share of “ways buyers found their home,” 78%, was through internet marketing (likely created by an agent) or through the direction of their real estate agent. The chances of hoards of willing, able and eager buyers walking through the door of your open house and writing an offer then and there are slim.

So, what’s the point?

If your schedule or personal life makes holding open houses on the weekend to be too much of burden, don’t worry about it. Seriously. Open houses are not how MOST buyers find their home. So, what’s the point of an open house? Here are some common open house scenarios:

  1. Nosy neighbors come through (their redeeming factor is that even noisy neighbors know people and may talk about your house to an interested party.
  2. “Beginning buyers” come through. These are folks who will likely make a home purchase in the next year or so, but they are not YET ready, able and willing to make an offer.
  3. Buyers who are actively looking, but for whatever reason were not interested enough in your home to schedule a private showing, but willing to give it a shot through an open house.
  4. People who have already looked at your house with their agent will come back through for a second look. Hopefully the knowledge that there is an open house will cause enough fear of loss to push them into making a decision (write an offer).

Where are the buyers?

If hoards of buyers aren’t knocking down your door to attend your open house, where are they? Most buyers, once they are serious about making a home purchase (they’re reached the stage of being ready, able and willing to buy), are working with a real estate agent. As a result, they ALREADY know about your house, because the information has been shared with them by their agent through the local MLS. Buyers who are seriously interested in your home will schedule an appointment to tour the home with their agent.

Final thoughts

Open houses may not be the way most buyers find their homes, but they help get more eyes on your homes and build a buzz around it. Open houses tend to be the most effective when a house is newly on the market. Many Realtors® are willing to give up their Saturday and Sunday afternoons to host open houses because they are a good opportunity to meet potential new clients. While open houses are not a magic bullet in terms of getting your house sold, they are another tool in a variety of ways to cast a wide net over potential buyers.

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