For decades real estate agents have been holding public open houses to display homes listed for sale. The effectiveness of open houses as a marketing vehicle has been debated by agents and consumers almost interminably, however several points must be considered. Sellers should be informed about the truths and risks of open houses before they agree to invite strangers into their homes just because their Realtor wants them to.
Realtors Use Open Houses as Bait for New Business
Clearly, there are pro’s and con’s about just who benefits from holding a home open. Make no mistake about it: Realtors use open houses to troll for buyers, but not necessarily a buyer for the specific home being held open. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that a prospective home buyer will spontaneously stumble upon the perfect home as a result of an afternoon drive. That means very often your home is used as bait for the Realtor to find his or her next client. Home buyers who tour open houses are at the beginning stages of their home search and haven’t hired a Realtor yet. These home buyers are at least 30-60 days out at best and in this booming Austin real estate market, your home will already be sold when they are ready.
Mostly Nosey Neighbors Looking for Decorating Ideas
Most visitors are nosey neighbors curious about how your home is decorated. They want to go through every room and see the type of furniture the seller has and how they’ve used the space. They might be in the market to sell their home and are looking for what their competition might be. Either way, these people are not prospective buyers for your home and have no business being there.
Serious Buyers Visit an Open House on Occasion
Occasionally, agents will suggest that a buyer look at a home on their own, but that situation is usually predicated on scheduling conflicts. Most conscientious agents will want to accompany their clients to offer guidance and insights. Serious buyers visit a house with their agent to determine if the house is suitable and whether a meeting of the minds is possible. Serious buyers are not out purposelessly driving on a Sunday afternoon. They have email alerts set up and know exactly which homes are on the market in the area they’re looking.
When Are Open Houses Effective?
In some cases, having an open house may be a good idea. When your home is first listed on the market, it might make sense to have an open house and introduce it to the market. Though the neighbors aren’t in the market to buy a home, they might know someone who is. If they get inside and it looks like something their friend or family member might like, they might call them and get them over to see it. The chances the open house will sell your home is likely next to nothing, so know if you decide you’d rather not allow unaccompanied strangers to troll through your home, you won’t miss out on the best buyers.
How to Make an Open House Most Successful
If you decide an open house is right for you, here are several ideas that will help make it most successful
- Prepare the house like you did when you had the photography shoot
- Put the house in impeccable showing condition
- Open the drapes, set a comfortable temperature and enhance the home’s aroma
- Turn on all the lights
- Leave the house
- Remove all your valuables – this includes prescription medication
How Your Realtor Can Help Make the Open House Most Successful
Here are a few tips you can ask your Realtor to do to help make the open house most successful.
- On the Wednesday before the open house, distribute flyers to surrounding homes in the neighborhood announcing the open house
- Verify that the MLS has the correct date and time of the open house
- Place as many open house signs around the neighborhood as the law allows
- Don’t ask visitors to sign-in as it is off putting
Serious Buyers Use the Internet to Find Homes in Austin
Almost all buyers today shop online especially for homes. So it’s no secret that your home is for sale. If your MLS listing has loads of great photographs and an accurate, detailed description of your home’s features and amenities, interested buyers will schedule an appointment with their buyer’s agent. However, a home unrealistically priced with poor or no photos and inaccurate details will be ignored, even if the house down the street is open as well.
Do You Really Want Unaccompanied Strangers in Your Home?
If you are selling, consider whether having unaccompanied strangers in your home is worth the risk. Remember the agent holding the home open is physically incapable of being with every buyer all the time. The MLS was created so professional agents can bring their clients to view your home. Their identity is recorded and access is time noted. Many people feel that open houses are an invasion of privacy to some degree and studies show that open houses are relatively ineffective as a marketing tool as compared to the MLS and the Internet.
Considering Selling Your Home in Austin?
Thinking about selling your home in Austin? Looking for a Realtor who will tell you the truth about selling and the Austin real estate market? Someone who won’t use your home to get our next client and knows how to expose your home to the most number of qualified buyers? Check out our Austin Home Sellers page to learn about our unique home selling system designed to get sellers the highest price in the shortest time. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation consultation.
How Much is My Home Worth?
Online real estate portals give you an estimate for how much your home is worth. Need a more qualified range of what your home is worth in today’s market? Try our Qualified Home Evaluation where one of our home selling specialists will prepare a more detailed analysis with the upper limit of your home’s value.