The number one tool of every real estate agent out there to look like they are actively marketing your home. Do they work?
Generally, open houses do not sell homes. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, only 9% of home buyers found the home they eventually bought through either an open house or a yard sign, with some estimates putting the true open house number at 1-2%. These days, most of the searching is done online. The truth is that the vast majority of people who visit open houses are neighbors and those just "touring".
Why do agents hold open houses?
The number one reason agents hold open houses is to get more buyer clients. It is the easiest way for them to identify buyers who are in the market to buy. There are pages dedicated to helping agents find clients through open houses.
The second reason that agents hold open houses is because sellers expect them to. If the agent doesn't hold an open house, more likely than not, the seller will think that the agents aren't doing their fair share of the work they agreed to do to earn their commission. Even if they know it likely won't bring a buyer, it is in their best interest to hold them anyway so that their clients don't get upset.
The Benefits of an Open House
One benefit of an open house is that some buyers have searches preset to show them homes with open houses. While open houses may not seal the deal, it may bring your listing back into focus for buyers. The downside is that people are less likely to show up at an open house than at a designated appointment because life gets in the way.
When does it make sense to hold an open house? Open houses are best scheduled when newly listed or after a major change in the listing, such as the price. It can be a good opportunity to encourage potential buyers who are on the fence to show up and look at the property without having to coordinate a private showing. Listing changes give buyers a good reason to reconsider.
Open houses can also be an important tool during peak home selling season if people are designating a home touring weekend. They might choose from the most easily coordinated homes, the ones with an open house.
So, should you hold an open house? One reason to hold an open house is the off-chance that someone wanders through who was "just-looking" and falls in love with it. This can definitely happen. If your home is in great condition, this is a high probability. It's also worth trying if your home isn't getting much attention. But, if you are torn about whether to do it or don't want to take the time or field the questions from your neighbors, then by all means, don't feel bad about skipping it.