The Open House.  The number one tool of every real estate agent out there to look like they are actively marketing your home.  The problem is, 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?

So, why do all 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 and pages and pages out there 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 isn't doing their fair share of the work they agreed to do for 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 seller clients don't get upset.

The Benefits of an Open House

One benefit of an open house is that there are buyers that have searches preset to show them homes with open houses.  So, while the open house may not seal the deal, it may bring your listing back into focus for them.   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 held just after listing or after a change in the listing, such as the price.  It can be a good opportunity to encourage someone who is on the fence to show up and look at it without having to coordinate.  And a listing change gives them a good reason to reconsider.

Open houses can also be an important tool during peak home selling season if people are designing 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 - it can definitely happen.  If your house is fall-in-lovable, then it's worth the time to see if this happens to you. 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.

Related Articles:
How Do I Create and Change Open Houses?  
How Long Does it Take for an Open House to Show up?

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