At first glance, an open house might not seem like a terrible idea. Why not do everything you can to increase exposure? But unfortunately, in reality, open houses rarely result in anything other than wasted time.
What do the statistics say?
As a data-driven company, we consult the numbers above all else. And the verdict is clear: Last year, fewer than 8% of homes were sold by open house.
But even that low percentage is deceivingly high. You see, that study clumps open houses and yard signs together into one category to arrive at the 8% figure.
Not surprisingly, most buyers first find their new homes on the internet (54%) or through their real estate agent (36%). That’s why we emphasize the importance of photography, a great online listing, and MLS exposure.
Buyers who attend open houses often aren’t serious—or qualified
Most open house attendees are in the earliest stages of their search. Oftentimes, they are not yet working with an agent. (Note: this does make open houses an excellent prospecting event for agents.) This also means they typically haven’t received any type of financial pre-qualification—and may not even have a concept of what their budget needs to be.
Open houses may draw nosey neighbors, curious onlookers, and people who aren’t sure what they’re looking for yet—but they rarely attract a serious prospective buyer.
You won’t receive open, honest feedback from open house traffic
Getting (honest) feedback from potential buyers is a valuable part of the process. It can alert you to any simple fixes you can make to help your home show better. And it’s a great way to understand how the market is responding.
But you can’t expect to receive helpful feedback from open house attendees. In that environment, prospective buyers tend to filter their thoughts and concerns. On the other hand, most buyers are comfortable sharing honest feedback with their agent after a private showing.
The bottom line
The internet has eliminated the efficiency of an open house. And unless you want to let in potentially unqualified strangers with only a mild interest in your home, it’s just an unnecessary time-waster.