Open Houses Don’t Work. Here’s Why
At first glance, an open house might seem like a great idea. Why not do everything you can to increase exposure? But in reality, open houses do not work and rarely result in anything other than wasted time.
What do the Statistics About Open Houses Say?
As a data-driven company, Properly consults the numbers above all else. And the verdict is clear: according to a study by the National Association of Realtors, only 3% of buyers visited an open house. And fewer than 8% of homes were sold by open house. But even that percentage is deceptively high. The study lumps open houses and yard signs together into one category to arrive at the 8% figure.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the internet has virtually killed the open house. More than half home buyers (54%) first find their new homes on the internet. That’s why we emphasize the importance of photography, a great online listing and MLS exposure.
The Downside to an Open House
Open houses don’t attract serious buyers. They may draw curious neighbors and casual browsers, but they rarely attract a serious prospective buyer. Some people attend open houses just to get ideas for their own homes or because it’s a fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.
Even if they are in the buying process, most open house attendees are in the earliest stages of their search. Oftentimes, they are not yet working with an agent. Typically, they haven’t received any type of financial pre-qualification—and may not even have a concept of what their budget needs to be.
There’s a risk of theft at an open house. Literally anyone can walk in the door. While it’s disheartening to think the worst of people, an open house is an excellent opportunity for thieves to scope out your home or to pick up some jewelry, cash, or electronics as they walk through the house.
You won’t receive honest feedback from open house traffic. Getting feedback from potential buyers is a valuable part of the process. It can alert you to any simple fixes that will 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. They’re more likely to tell you what you want to hear. On the other hand, most buyers are comfortable sharing honest feedback with their agent after a private showing.
The Bottom Line on Open Houses
Open houses are a long-standing tradition in the real estate world. But the advent of the internet has really created a paradigm shift. Now prospective buyers can browse dozens of photos and gather pertinent information without leaving the sofa. Given the low percentage of successful sales, the hassle and inconvenience to you, and the risk of letting total strangers roam through you home at will, the time has passed for this tradition.