Real Estate: Do Open Houses Actually Work?

First of all, regarding the issue of holding open houses when selling a home, it’s important to understand that there are actually 2 types of open houses: one for real estate agents and brokers and another for the general public.

Open Houses For Real Estate Agents

A broker’s open house is when the listing real estate agent or broker introduces the property to other local agents and real estate brokers in the area. It’s like the ripple effect you get when you throw a stone into a pond – it’s about getting the word out to the local real estate community to come and take a look at a house, which might be the perfect fit for one of their clients.

Open Houses For The General Public

Then there are the open houses held for the general public. These are typically held on Sundays for about 3-5 hours. There are no invitations, no viewings by appointment. Signs are put out on the streets directing people to the open house. Unless it’s a “for sale by owner” property, the home owners are usually away while their agent handles the traffic. The question is: how effective is this method in selling houses?

Opinion seems to be pretty clearly divided on this point with many real estate agents claiming open houses don’t work while others say they do! David Slavin, a real estate agent based in Katy, Texas, writes in his blog: “Why would you want to make your house sparkle and get kicked out? So your nosey neighbors or bored Sunday drivers have something to do? This method of home sales is non-productive and a waste of time and money… Your Time and Money! If your home stays on the market longer than it should, you’re losing money and every monthly payment you make is gone forever.”

However, there is another point of view. Elizabeth Weintraub, a broker associate with Lyon Real Estate in Sacremento, California, says: “The successful real estate agents I know report that at least 20% of their sales, or one in five homes, sell through an open house.”

Clearly there are strong feelings about open houses and whether it’s worth the hassle to go through one. Let us know what you think: open houses – do they help sell a house or not?

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