I have written before about open houses and while I cannot speak for every city, every market, every country and every price range I can’t imagine why a Realtor would not hold an open house.
To be fair and balanced in this blog the arguments against open houses are usually:
- Open houses rarely sell houses. (see next paragraph)
- Open houses benefit agents. (exactly why you should have them)
- Open houses are a security risk. (the best reason I must admit, but handled at the end of this post)
- Open houses attract neighbours and browsers. (who want to have their friends buy your house!)
“Buyers used a wide array of resources in searching for a home: 85 percent used a real estate agent, 80 percent the Internet (up from 77 percent in 2005), 63 percent yard signs, 55 percent print or newspaper ads and 47 percent attended open houses. ” Can you really risk alienating the 47%?
Actually the one reason they shouldn’t is that they are so badly prepared.
So how do you make an open house more effective?
The four key points to consider before an open house are:
- Is the home located where arrows can bring good traffic?
- Is the home priced correctly?
- Is the home attractive from the curb?
- Do you have the home and open house properly advertised?
Next understand why you are holding an open house; some selfish and some to sell the house:
- To identify a buyer for the house held open
- To identify a buyer for yours or other listings
- To make contacts with current potential sellers that will lead to listings
- To meet future buyers
- To meet future sellers
What kind of people can you expect?
- People spying on behalf of the seller
- People with no hope of affording the home (but are prospect nonetheless)
- Owners of other homes for sale, but already listed with another agent checking the competition
- People looking for decorating and landscaping ideas
- Curious time-killers of all kinds and descriptions
People who are actually interested in the home!
What should you provide prospects at the open house?
At the very least:
- Copy of the Property Listing
- Detailed list of everything that is included and excluded from the asking price
- Colour images of the exterior in all seasons
- Images of other features you’d like buyers to remember
- List of any improvements you have made, noting the year and cost
- An itemized list of annual utility costs (electricity, fuel oil, etc.)
- Copy of any structural inspection or survey you have had done within the last year