Should You Host An Open House?


Navigating the home buying market is a challenge for any potential seller. There are many decisions sellers have to make when putting their home on the market. One choice that confuses many people is whether or not they should host an open house. While some real estate professionals suggest it’s a must, others advise not to.

Like with any decision in life, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of having an open house. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if an open house is right for your property.

How To Decide If You Should Have An Open House

Just because hosting an open house is a common practice doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Every housing market, location and seller will have different criteria for selling the home for top dollar. Essentially, there’s no “one size fits all” answer. Every seller will have to weigh their options and decide if hosting an open house is worth the effort.

To make the best choice for your home selling needs, here are some essential factors to consider.

Pros Of Hosting An Open House

Besides the common assumption that an open house is an important part of the home buying process, there are some additional benefits you may want to consider. Here are some of the pros you can expect from hosting an open house.

Additional Exposure

Open houses offer additional exposure for the property. This can include street signs, print ads or social media marketing efforts. Putting your house on display yields more attention and can lead to more interest from potential buyers.

Luxury Real Estate AdviserSarah Findelsays, “Maybe someone who attends may purchase or know a friend that may want to purchase, but at the end of the day getting the home more exposure and more eyes on the listing will garner an offer.”

Less Pressure For Buyers

Many home buyers often need a significant amount of guidance when it comes to buying a home. In some cases, they don’t even know where to start. Hosting an open house can help open the door to potential buyers that otherwise wouldn’t know about your house. They may see a sign out front and decide to walk in and take a look.

Hosting an open house alleviates the high pressure buyers may feel from working directly with a real estate agent. They may be able to explore the home on their own without being followed or questioned. Some buyers may feel more relaxed in this environment, therefore giving the potential them time to decide if this is the right property for their needs.

Cons Of Hosting An Open House

While there are benefits of conducting an open house, there are some drawbacks as well. Here are some of the disadvantages of hosting an open house.

A Low Chance Of Getting An Immediate Sale

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, only 7% of potential home buyers found their property through an open house. So the chances of your open home attracting a buyer are very slim.

Unqualified Buyers Will Visit Your Property

Some of the people that walk through your door may be home buying newbies. This means they may not have gotten a preapproval before visiting your property. If they haven’t received preapproval, they may not be able to buy your home. Ideally you want all attendees to have the ability to purchase your home.

Of course, there’s no way to exclude these visitors, but it’s something you should be aware of when having an open house.

Security Issues

Theft and vandalism are possible concerns when hosting an open house. An open house allows thieves and criminals the opportunity to explore your home without any supervision. This is a potential risk to the security of your home.

Nosey Neighbors

In addition to unwanted criminals, open houses often draw the attention of nosy neighbors. Some neighbors want to compare your home to theirs. They also want to see the decor. Open houses are great opportunities to view your home without having to ask.

Tips To Throwing The Ultimate Open House

Now that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of hosting an open house, what’s the best way to go about hosting one? Here are a few tips and tricks from real estate professionals to help you get the most out of your efforts.

Use Free Marketing

Licensed Louisiana real estate agent Kari Walkerstates,“Open house marketing can be very affordable– tap into your free resources by creating an event invite on Facebook and asking friends and family to share it to help increase activity. You might even consider posting the event as a public Facebook event or in a neighborhood group you belong to.”

Everyone’s on social media. Using sites like Facebook to invite people to your open house can help you gain more exposure. Marketing your open house doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you utilize the free tools available.

Take Advantage Of Cross Traffic

See if other nearby comparable properties are also hosting open houses in your area. This will allow you to capitalize on their traffic.

Steven Gottlieb, an agent of Warburg Realty, says,It’s always a good idea to try to take advantage of cross traffic. So if another home (or multiple homes) similar to the one you are selling is holding an open house on Sunday from 12–2 p.m., that’s the time you should plan yours as well.”

Ask For Potential Buyer’s Information

Walker adds, “All homeowners should require open house visitors to provide information when they arrive. Name, phone number and email can be recorded on a simple sign-in sheet. This way you know who came to your home but also how to reach them after the open house to see if there is any interest.”

You want to know who’s attending your open house. Having a sign-in sheet is an important step to ensuring you can follow up with potential buyers if need be.

Add A Fragrance

A lot of sellers assume you should bake cookies to make buyers feel at home. While this may work in the suburbs, you should use a different tactic in the city. The important thing to note is you should make sure your home smells nice and clean when potential buyers walk in.

Don’t try to overpower your home with too much air freshener. This could give potential buyers the impression that you’re trying to cover something up.

Invest In Digital Photos Instead

Corey Chappell, a closing options analyst, states, “Open houses were a great selling technique in the predigital age. But unless you have a multimillion-dollar listing requiring a high-end party of the city’s elite, you may be wasting your time. Instead, spend your time getting high-quality digital photos of the property and the best online exposure you can manage to get your hands on.”

With the increase of popularity to listing sites like For Sale By Owner, it may be more beneficial to invest in high-quality photos to use for your listing. Many potential buyers don’t want to venture out to look at a house. They’d rather browse listing sites from their couch. Having the best possible photos may attract them more to your home and entice them to book an appointment to see it.

Remove Clutter

Benjamin Ross, a real estate agent at Mission Real Estate Group, says, “When you hold an open house, one of your objectives should be to help potential buyers picture it as their own. Clutter makes this impossible. Clutter obscures the dimensions of the home and makes it appear smaller than it actually is.”

So take down your family photos and make your property less personal. The more potential buyers can visualize themselves living in your home, the better.

The Bottom Line

As a seller, you need to do what’s right for you. If you feel as though you need to host an open house, use the resources above to help you get started. But remember that hosting an open house isn’t mandatory in the process of selling your home.