Myths About Open Houses You Need to Know
When you think of selling a home, an open house just seems like part of the deal. Everyone has an open house, don’t they? It is the best way to show off the home to numerous potential buyers – isn’t it?
Well, not really. In fact, an open house has a lot of disadvantages, which is why they are becoming less popular in today’s market.
To help you understand why open houses are not all they are assumed to be, we will dispel some of the myths surrounding them. Many of these open house myths are in fact perpetuated by real estate agents.
Keep in mind that open houses have and always will be more beneficial for a real estate agent than a homeowner. Scheduled showings bring qualified buyers to your home. Open houses bring anyone with a pulse. Real Estate agents push this archaic marketing activity for essentially four reasons:
- To potentially shake hands and meet potential buyer clients for other properties.
- To meet a seller down the street who is thinking of selling their home and stops by to check out the competition.
- To hopefully get lucky and double side a sale creating a potential dual agency situation that does NOTHING for you but everything for them (double commission).
- To look like they are doing something to sell your home.
Open houses are great prospecting activities and nothing more. You don’t need an open house to sell your home. You need a great real estate agent, the right list price, and fantastic marketing.
Get these two things down, and you will never need to let Nancy “the nosy neighbor,” Rick “the robber” or Unis “the unqualified” into your house again.
1. Open houses are necessary to sell a home.
An open house is needed to sell a home is one of the biggest real estate myths bar none. The myth, of course, continues to this day because of agents who push for them.
Once people establish a way of doing things, it is easy to assume that the established way is the best way. Open houses are presumed to be necessary because they have always been a part of selling going back to before we had the internet.
But the home selling process, like everything else, should be examined from time to time to make sure that all the steps are necessary. Today’s most successful Realtors tend to agree that open houses just aren’t required anymore. In fact, many clients will ask the question “does an open house help sell a home?” Does an open house work?
In the digital age, consumers have access to the internet and can see homes they want to view from the comfort of their living room. If buyers are interested, they will pick up the phone and call an agent to schedule a showing. This is what serious buyers always do!
Exceptional real estate marketing and a Realtor with a vast network of contacts are the keys to selling. Few houses are sold from an open house, and they often bring more headaches than help. You will wind up letting a lot of people in your home that you never would otherwise, and very few will be qualified buyers.
Want some amusement? Check out this funny RE/MAX video on the usefulness of open houses. Have a taste of the “three bean salad,” you will love it!
2. Open houses are effective for selling a home.
An open house lets everyone come to see the house on a specific day. You “open” the home to potential buyers, but you also open it up to the rest of the world as well. The people that come through your door are not necessarily going to be the kind of people that will buy the home.
A skilled real estate agent can sell a home without ever having an open house. You just have to find the right buyer. In reality, holding an open house can actually hinder the efforts of the agent, because he or she has to prepare and present the open house instead of doing other activities that are far more productive for selling property. Open houses are a lot of work for very little reward.
Well, let me rephrase that – a reward for the seller. A Real Estate agent just might pick up some great buyer prospects to work with.
3. All the people attending the open house will be qualified buyers.
A lot of people may attend your open house, and some of them may be interested in buying a home. But numerous other visitors will not be interested in buying.
Window shoppers, neighbors, home buyers that are not a good fit for your home – the open door policy encourages everyone to come by, even if they are not likely to buy.
Your agent’s time is better spent finding the core group of buyers that are likely to want your home, rather than talking with all the different people who take advantage of your open house.
The irony about some real estate agents is they will preach about the importance of qualifying a buyer for your home. This thought, however, gets thrown out the window when it comes to open houses.
Qualifying a buyer is the least important thing on an agents mind when it comes to holding an open house. Your home is free game.
The value of private showings with qualified buyers vs. an open house cannot be overstated.
4. Open houses don’t present security risks.
It is nice to think that you can trust everyone who is drawn in by your open house, but you can’t. There are criminally-minded individuals that target open houses because they know that they present an opportunity. Some may steal your things while they wander about the house.
Others will choose to wait, scoping out security vulnerabilities – even unlocking windows – to take advantage of later. People have had their homes burglarized by criminals who came to their open house specifically to see if they could find a way to break in later.
The thing is real estate agents who prospect for future business with open houses don’t want you to know this. Last year in my local market, a home in Milford Massachusetts had $15,000 worth of jewelry taken during an open house. For what? The pointless exercise of letting everyone in the door who would like to look at a great home.
The significant threat of theft is what real estate agents who promote open houses DON’T want you to know.Real Estate open houses can be a magnet for crime!Click To Tweet
5. The nosy neighbors won’t be coming by.
Sellers like to imagine that there will be a line out the door of qualified buyers when they host their open house, but the line is more likely to be filled with opportunists.
Nosy neighbors, in particular, like to take advantage of open houses to poke around in your home, make comparisons with their own home, get an idea of what their home could sell for, and sometimes just to get a chance to go somewhere they would never be allowed otherwise.
If you want Bonnie the blabber coming in and sniffing around your home, by all means, have the open house. She would love to stop by. Letting the world know about your bedspread and anything else she would like to discuss will take up lots of her time in the coming week.
Want to turn your home into deadbeat central? Have an open house!
6. If your agent says you need an open house, you should do it.
Your Realtor may insist that an open house is an important part of the sales process. You should take such advice with a grain of salt.
Some agents are still attached to open houses because they have been doing them for years. If they have always done it this way, why change? Other agents insist on open houses because it gives them a chance to look useful.
Part of the challenge of being an agent is that most of the hard work you do for the client is never seen. All the networking and marketing, being constantly on-call, all of these things are not done in front of the client, so it can seem like you are not doing much at all. But at an open house, you are visibly working.
Your measurement of a good agent should not be based on how much running around you see him or her doing. It should be based on his or her ability to sell your home quickly and at a good price. Your agent should be capable of selling your home for near the price initially set, without going through the song and dance of an open house.
Frankly, some agents don’t have the balls to look a potential client in the eyes and tell them open houses aren’t necessary to sell a home. The fear of losing the listing is too great to overcome. If the homeowner thinks they are effective, “I better do it,” is their mantra. This is called a weak real estate agent!
Ideally, when you choose your Realtor, you should interview several different agents and get recent statistics that are important. For example:
- How quickly the agent sold homes – what is their average days on the market?
- How close are their homes selling to the original asking price?
- Can you get some recent references of clients they worked with?
Part of the interview process can include questions about open houses.
If you find an agent that is confident that he or she can sell without one – and that meets all your other criteria – you have found a winner.
Your home won’t be subjugated to the potential risk for theft, along with all the other people who don’t belong in your home.
Keep in mind, an exceptional Realtor will ALWAYS discuss the pros and cons of an open house. Instead of following these open house myths, use your own common sense when selling a home.
7. Real Estate Open Houses Have No Usefulness
You might be thinking how could an open house having any usefulness be a myth. Didn’t I just explain why they are not needed to sell a home. True I did, however, there is one circumstance where open houses can be beneficial. Are you dying to know the answer?
Open houses can be beneficial for new construction. Builders who are showcasing their product can use an open house as an opportunity for buyers to see their quality of workmanship, different floor plans, lots, etc. This is very different than a re-sale home filled with a buyer’s possessions. Model homes are often used to sell additional houses to be built in the neighborhood. An open house can be an effective means of doing so.
Additional Helpful Open House Resources Worth Reading
- Is an open house necessary via RIS Media.
- Why you should say no to an open house via Consumer Advocates in American Real Estate.
- Does an open house put the sellers interest first via Kyle Hiscock.
- Do open houses work via Maximum Real Estate Exposure.
- Should I have an open house via Kevin Vitali.
- Is it smart to allow an open house via Debbie Drummond.
Make sure you have a look at all the great resources above on open houses and why they are not needed to sell a home. The bottom line you will always be better off having private showings. Think twice before you put your home at risk.
About the author: The above Real Estate information on open house myths was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 30+ Years.
Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.