When you are selling a home, you want to sell your home for the highest possible price, right?  So you ask your Realtor about doing open houses hoping that someone is going to walk in and buy it.

The interesting thing is that that rarely happens.  There are agents out there who will say in no uncertain terms that open houses DO NOT sell houses, but that’s a bit of disservice to their clients.  The reason that a seasoned agent may say this is because open houses serve another function to the real estate community.  Open houses are a relatively free or fairly inexpensive way to find new clients. An agent may do them for their own listings or an agent may do them for someone else’s listings.

People coming in to look at open houses fall into 3 basic categories:  people who are in the market to buy a home, those who live in the neighborhood and are thinking of selling, and then there are those who are just looking for design ideas or they just tour homes as a matter of fun.

The importance of an open house becomes apparent when you remember you’ll get the highest possible price when the greatest number of people see it.  After marketing, a smaller subset of people become enticed enough by photos, description, the neighborhood, and price to want to set eyeballs on it by walking inside.  Photos are meant to capture the very best of a home.  I’ve heard far too many times that “I didn’t realize the house was like this because…” the photos didn’t portray it that way.  Open houses allow them to really see it and hopefully want to buy it!

You may be wondering why agents can’t show each client a house and the reason is that it comes down to time constraints.  Most people work during the week so weekends tend to be the best time to view many homes at once.  One agent may represent multiple clients and with buyers, the agent really can only successfully show homes to one client at a time.  Here’s a scenario so you can understand a busy agent’s schedule.  Let’s say I’ve got clients that are qualified and are ready to purchase a home as soon as they find one.  I’ll work to put together tours and take them out to homes (open house and lockbox) and that can take all day Saturday and Sunday.  In the meantime, I have other clients who may have been looking for over a year and they find a home only now and again to view.  While I always prefer to go with my clients, I can’t be in two places at the same time so if there is an open house I’ll suggest that they can see a house without me and then we can discuss if they want to write an offer on it later.

The reason that agents can say that open houses don’t sell homes is because there’s no system to ever capture how many buyers walk into an open house and later write an offer.  Just remember that if a prospective buyer can’t get into see your house due to time constraints – theirs, their agent’s, or yours, the fewer offers you will receive.  Open houses enable more buyers to view your home.  So while it’s technically true that open houses don’t sell houses, don’t be too quick to keep your home from being open.  You never know when the next buyer of your house will walk in!  They might have been just driving in the neighborhood not even planning to buy!  That happens too.

There are some things to keep in mind when your home is on the market.  Not everyone who walks in your house is to be trusted.  Secure all valuables because one agent cannot follow everyone through the house.  Hide medications.  There are some open house visitors whose goal it is to steal prescription pain pills.  Make your home clean and presentable with all lights on and window coverings open to make your home look light and bright.  Make your house a comfortable temperature.  If it’s 100 degrees, make sure the A/C is turned on.  If you haven’t done this already when your house went on the market, take down and hide photos and diplomas with your name on it because of identity theft.  Not every house is a good candidate for an open house – very high-end houses tend to only be open to buyers who have been pre-approved to buy in that price range.

 

One last caveat:  Do not attend your own open house!  Prospective buyers don’t feel genuinely free to look around when the owner is presiding over the home and the tour of the house.  What invariably happens is that the buyer will spend less time and leave while an owner will wax on about what they think is important for the buyer to know.  In a word, it’s not just awkward but you might say something that absolutely turns the buyer off to you and your house.  Bottom line, you want the buyer to fall in love with your home rather than to flee from it so keep an OPEN mind and possibly and open house.  If you have any questions about the buying and selling process, feel free to contact me.  Helping people is what I do best and I enjoy it.

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Coming up!  My new rental property house warming party is coming up!   When it’s complete (should be 2nd week in October), I’m going to invite folks over to see it, enjoy some light refreshments and if you’re interested, show you what I did and how I did it within a retirement account.  No obligation or sales pitches.  I’m also looking for my first tenant.  Stay tuned for the party details.  🙂

Here’s my first edition of my blog on it:

Start at the very first door.

When I first started my search for a rental property inside my solo 401k, I started down a path towards a door.  Any door.  But as I opened doors, I realized that not any door (or House) would do.  (more…)