This is one of the largest debates amongst realtors. However, this is one of the most common questions clients ask their agent. Statistically speaking, approximately 5% of sales occur through open houses, however, they are a great marketing tool and can prove to be very effective when done right. Keep in mind that an open house can never hinder the chance of selling the property, and may not be the pivotal factor that actually sells the house. Open houses are a great way to provide more exposure for the listing.
How Open Houses Can Really Work
The key to selling a home is to ensure it is available to all potential buyers. Open houses allow a large volume of potential buyers to view your home in a very short period of time. Also, many potential buyers look at other buyers as their competition and if they really like a home they view through an open house they may be more apt to put in an offer sooner than later. The best time to hold an open house is during the first week the property has been listed. Some realtors please their clients by holding several open houses in the event potential buyers may have missed the others. Potential buyers tend to feel more at ease viewing a property through an open house as opposed to booking a private viewing. Having an open house also provides the realtor and seller to choose a date and time for mass viewing and to also prepare the home. Open houses may also speed up the selling process.
How Open Houses Can Lead To Other Potential Listings
When a realtor holds an open house, anyone is free to enter the home and take a good look around. This includes nosey neighbours. Neighbours may just want to see what the house looks like or they may want to get an idea of what their own home may be worth on the market. This presents an opportunity for the realtor to speak to other potential sellers and possibly gain a listing or two. Also, some potential buyers may not have hired a realtor to assist them with the buying process and may also have their existing home that needs to be sold. This can present the realtor with an opportunity to gain both listing and buying commissions.
How To Prepare For An Open House
There are several steps that should be taken prior to listing and hosting an open house. Below is a list of steps that will help sell your home.
- Eliminate clutter and personal items
- Make repairs to areas that are in direct sight of potential buyers or that will hinder a home inspection
- If necessary paint to give the home a fresh look
- Remove bulky oversized furniture to allow potential buyers to fully view the size of each room
- Place furniture so potential buyers can easily walk through your home
- Organize all cupboards, closets, and drawers
- Clean the home from top to bottom including all interior windows
- Use a neutralizer to make the home smell fresh and eliminate unpleasant odours – Never use powerful air fresheners
- Make sure the entryway and porch or deck is clean and welcoming
- Clean the exterior of the home including all windows
- Pull weeds, cut the lawn and trim any overgrown shrubs or bushes
- Open all window coverings and blinds
- Bake pies or cookies the morning of the open house, the aroma will set the stage for the open house
- Leave all overhead lights and lamps on in every room of the house
- Leave a list containing all monthly utility costs so potential buyers have an idea of what it takes to run the home
- During the winter months, clear all pathways, stairs, and entrances of ice and snow
- During spring and summer, plant flowers or hang baskets with flowers to make the home look inviting
- Make sure your home is a comfortable temperature for potential buyers viewing your home
- Take all pets with you when you leave your home for the open house
- Ensure there is a “remove footwear” sign inside the front door
Make sure your agent prepares and makes brochures available for the open house. Sometimes potential buyers like to view the brochure several times when they are trying to make a decision on putting in an offer. When potential buyers attend an open house, they sometimes forget certain features of the home and a brochure is a great way to remind them.
Benefits Of Having An Open House
Open houses can have many benefits that can increase your chances of selling faster and for a higher price. Some benefits also include:
- Reduces overall marketing costs
- Sets the home apart from others
- Showing a home when it looks its best
- Provides feedback on the home
- Promotes the neighbourhood
- Increases word of mouth exposure
- Provides a relaxed viewing experience
- Other agents attending the open house may have the perfect buyer
Even though an open house may not directly sell your home, it can have great indirect positive effects. It only takes one person viewing your home to tell someone else about it and that person may well buy it. Everybody knows somebody looking to buy or sell a home.
Digital Marketing Versus Open Houses
Many realtors use digital marketing strategies to increase awareness about listings. They provide many photos of the interior, exterior, and property of the home. They also may provide virtual tours. However, it is one thing to look at pictures and take a virtual tour, but it’s another to actually physically walk through a home and look in every nook and cranny. Pictures sometimes make something look bigger or nicer than what it actually is. That is why it is important to use several marketing strategies. The key is to reach as many potential buyers as possible through any method, platform, or advertising system that is available. It is also a good idea to advertise an open house well in advance of the open house date so potential buyers can save the date to attend.