For decades, open houses were one of the primary methods sellers’ agents used to find buyers for their listings. But, in recent years, open houses have begun to fall somewhat out of favor—made unnecessary, in the eyes of some, by the rise of digital marketing and a greater interest in private showings.
Before you rule out having an open house altogether, consider the potential pros and cons of this once-essential practice.
The Case for Open Houses:
Simply put: open houses can be a great way to show your listing to many potential buyers at once.
If all goes well, you’ll attract a sizable pool of people who haven’t had a chance to see the property. In many cases, these buyers might not yet be represented by an agent, which means you can form a connection with them that will result in business or referrals in the future.
Another major benefit is that you’re showing due diligence to the seller. While an open house won’t replace other marketing methods such as digital listing ads, the more you do to promote the listing, the better the seller will feel. This means they’ll be more willing to work with you again down the line, or to recommend you to someone in their circle.
The Case Against Open Houses:
Thanks to digital marketing, it’s now easier than ever to get your listings in front of the people who’d be most interested. And, because of the popularity of online listing sites like Zillow and Redfin, many buyers are becoming more proactive about arranging private showings. This means that, in some cases, a large portion of the buyer pool may have already seen the house in person by the time the open house happens.
So, who does come to open houses? Cynical agents will tell you that open houses seem to attract their fair share of nosy neighbors, not to mention bored people in search of free refreshments. Plus, there’s always the possibility that some bad-intentioned folks will try to steal items from the home when no one is paying attention.
Couple this with the fact that the house needs to be cleaned and vacated, as it would before any other listing. Then there’s the cost of the aforementioned refreshments, not to mention the time, energy, and money you’ll spend promoting the open house. It can all seem like a headache waiting to happen.
The Bottom Line:
Yes, there’s no getting around the fact that open houses are a lot of work. But, as an agent, it’s effort you have to be willing to put in.
More importantly, it will all be worth it if you walk away from the open house with contact information for just a few interested parties. From there, you can follow up and take steps to convert those buyers from “interested” to “committed.”
At the end of the day, your job as an agent is to do whatever it takes to get your client’s house sold. While an open house may not be worth the extra effort in every case, it remains one of the many valuable tools at your disposal. If you plan your event carefully and market it to the right crowd, it could be the difference maker in getting your listing closed.