Friday, July 3, 2015 / by Bill Berning*
If you’re selling a home, tradition dictates that you and your family hold an open house and invite a group of potential buyers in to take a look at the house for themselves. On the surface, it seems like a great idea. However, does this staple of the real estate sales process really help sell homes? To find out whether or not this tactic is worth your time, let’s reach out to some of the most notable voices in the real estate community. This way, you’ll have all the info you need to get your home on the market and sold as efficiently as possible.
There’s a lot more that goes into an open house than one might think. Making sure every square inch of the house is spotless, providing refreshments to your guests, and spending time rubbing elbows is just the start of things. Before you commit to all of this work, it’s a good idea to take a moment to delve into the conversation surrounding this process. Otherwise, you might find yourself wasting time, money, and energy on something that won’t help get your house off the market.
The open house is a tradition that dates back to the formation of the real estate industry. With your agent by your side, this tool was once the focal point of any home sale. Despite its status as an iconic piece of the real estate puzzle, some experts aren’t quite sold on the process anymore. Others simply view this rising discussion as a matter of pinpointing the nature in which this method should grow and adapt to the needs and requirements of the modern marketplace.
Answering the Question at Hand
As Ellen Miller of Angie’s List explains, the answer unfortunately doesn’t boil down to a simple “yes” or “no” anymore. The role of the open house has definitely diminished over time, but it still can be an extremely effective tool – if it applies to your current situation. The point is that not every homeowner should hold an open house, but those that do can be doing a great service to the buyers in their area. Naturally, knowing how to apply this information to your prospective home sale and real estate market requires an acute understanding of the current outlook on open houses.
In terms of gauging the benefits of an open house, the obvious place to start is by noting that this type of an event can provide a venue for the next owner of your home to come and see the property in person. However, the modern benefits of inviting these buyers in for a visit go much deeper than getting an offer on the spot.
Essentially, Miller points out that the true value of the open house comes in the form of gathering information. Today’s homebuyer combs over every piece of information available about a potential purchase, so having them stop in for a few minutes can help keep this knowledge gathering trend going. In some cases, the open house serves as a “confirmation” session of sorts, giving these shoppers a chance to ensure that everything in the ad or listing is as it appears.
Sometimes, the agents representing buyers in your area attend these events, providing yet another avenue for spreading the word about your home. For the markets that are saturated with sellers, having this extra exposure can be especially useful when it comes to differentiating and expanding the opportunities for making a sale later on down the road.
Understanding the Concerns
On the other side of the spectrum, there’s also several things that can inhibit the effectiveness of an open house. Specifically, Realtor.com’s Chrystal Caruthers points to the rise of digital tools and services as the primary cause for poor open house turnouts. Homebuyers have added a de facto additional step to the purchasing process – the online preview – that holds a massive amount of sway over whether or not the property is worth visiting. Simply put, it’s hard to expect much out of your open house if you aren’t providing slideshows, virtual tours, and other online offerings to the buyers in your area.
What’s Right for Your Home?
As you can see, there’s plenty of variables that can affect your decision regarding the viability of an open house. Everything from how much time and effort you’re willing to put into the process to what’s trending within your local real estate marketplace deserves to come up in the conversation. If it feels like you’re getting overloaded just talking about the prospect of an open house, don’t be afraid to connect with a trusted real estate expert. These individuals have the years of experience and understanding of the current industry needed to help you figure out what’s right in terms of getting your home out in front of potential buyers.
Making Sure You Maximize the Potential of Your Open House
If you and your real estate agent decide that an open house is the right choice to help sell your property, then it’s time to start talking about how you can get the most out of this experience. According to Marcie Geffner of the National Association of Realtor’s Realtor Magazine, the first step circles back to the aforementioned all-important online presence. Without a strong digital front, reeling in interested buyers moves from a probable outcome to virtually impossible.
Once you’ve squared up the slideshows, listings, and other Internet-based assets, it’s time to prepare for the big day. While you’ll naturally need to guarantee that your home is spotless and hospitable to guests, being friendly and inviting with these guests is just as important. If possible, have the neighbors over so that these viewers can rub elbows with the community and get a feel for what the atmosphere of the neighborhood is like.
Should you exchange contact info or business cards with any of the people stopping in for a visit, Geffner goes on to suggest that you and your real estate expert take this opportunity to offer up a sincere thanks for their time. Outside of making a positive impression, going the extra mile on this front also keeps your property firmly entrenched in the conversation and generates a sense of urgency among these prospective buyers.
Today’s take on the open house is far from the golden standard that once dominated the real estate industry. However, that doesn’t mean that inviting these shoppers into your home isn’t a good idea. With what you’ve learned here, as well as a willingness to offer up a meaningful and informative experience to these browsers, you’ll have everything you need to truly capture the value found in the open house process.