THE ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS OF AN OPEN HOUSE

With MAY 1st being the official best day to list your home for sale – I thought I would share this great article…. 

THE ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS OF AN OPEN HOUSE

Ahhh the open house.  Some clients love them some hate them.  I thought I would share this article and add my two cents in italics.  

Open houses are a long-standing tradition in the sale of residential real estate to expose more people to a home for sale. Open houses are normally held on weekends to capture more traffic because that is when most people are off from work. The real estate agents put out signs on boulevards or near street corners to draw drive-by traffic and usually list the homes in the real estate sections of newspapers to bring in more people.

Ultimately, you’re goal is to bring in a buyer. But is throwing open the doors to your home really going to clinch a sale? Let’s investigate the pros and cons of an open house.

Advantages

Buyers can examine the home freely
Because open houses last a few hours, potential buyers can investigate parts of the home and take photos without pressure to leave right away. This real-time research is something buyers cannot gain just by viewing pictures online. By physically walking through a space, it is possible to get a true sense of what the home feels like. A serious home buyer is going to want to see the house in person.

I suppose if you’re trying to buy and not working with a Realtor – an Open House would be important.  However, I prefer to show homes outside of the weekend.  It may inconvenience the seller – but my buyers get more time IN the home alone so we can chat about the pros and cons.  

Create buzz and possibly a bidding war
Open house viewings can increase competition among would-be buyers – which is excellent news for you as a seller. Certain buyers, eager to secure their dream home, will not want to be outbid by rival buyers – so they may look to act quickly, to push through a fast house sale. If buyers are chomping at the bit to make offers, this puts you in a strong negotiating position.

On the San Francisco Peninsula – you don’t need an Open House to create a bidding war.

Convenience is key
Hosting an open house can be a great way to limit the number of individual showings your house may get while on the market. Rather than arranging for four or five private showings, you can prep your home once to receive multiple visitors. A scheduled open house allows you to make arrangements ahead of time to be out of your home with children and/or pets.

I do think an open house is easier for sellers since it is a set time that they can prepare for.  However, just because a client sees the home during the Open House does’t mean they won’t want to come back for a second look with their Realtor.  So one way or the other, the seller will want to make their home available – even more so by private appointment.  The last buyer I worked with – I couldn’t get into the unit myself!  And it was very frustrating to have a seller so private.  I understand the intrusion – but sellers do need to make the home available for clients and agents to see so we can do our job properly!

Clean home, happy home
If you’re still living in the home, you have to go the extra mile to prepare your house to be shown, constantly focused on keeping things neat. Decluttering your home prior to an open house makes it easier for a buyer to visualize their personal items within the rooms and motivates you to keep your home tidy.

I tell my sellers – start packing.  Less is more.  Declutter – make it shine.  It’s more than just a sign out front that sells a home.  I’m happy to discus the Caton Team’s selling strategies privately – contact us for an appointment.  

Feedback: the good, bad and ugly
Open houses are a great way to get feedback from multiple sources about the positives and negatives of your home. And while some comments can sting, it’s good to know what potential problems your home has so you can fix the issues in a timely fashion. As in any situation, some comments will be valid (the sink is leaking in the guest bath) while other feedback will seem random and unhelpful (the bathroom is too yellow). Take the good and the bad with a grain of salt, you cannot please everyone.

This is so true – but don’t take ANYTHING personally!

Drawbacks

Little Chance of a Sale
Statistics prove that it’s rare to garner a sale or a bid from an open house. The percentage of homes that actually sell as a result of an open house is less than 3%. An open house may actually benefit a realtor more because it gives them professional exposure as well as an opportunity to sell other homes they are representing. An open house is about mingling and researching, not necessarily for closing a sale.

I am going to tell this to you straight.  When agents host open houses – yay sure it’s great IF we meet a buyer for THAT house.  But truly – when I spend my weekends holding open houses – I’m looking for buyers and sellers who need my services – and what better way to meet people in need for a Realtor than sitting at an open house!  So now you know.  As a seller – I’d bend over backwards for the private showing appointments – THOSE are your serious buyers because they are already working with a professional Realtor, have realistic expectations, are pre-approved to buy a home in YOUR price range.  Those are the important appointments.  Truthfully a seller is better off leaving the home for private showings than just open houses.  

People with No Intention of Buying
Some of the people who show up to an open house may have bad intentions. Nosy people and thieves disguised as buyers often come with no intention of bidding or buying the house. Some people may innocently browse with no purpose, but thieves are there to scope the place out for valuables. Consider the security issue before scheduling an open house; and take inventory of any items within the home that could be easily removed in a flurry of visitors.

This is where packing up is most important.  We do not want your jewelry box out in the bedroom during the open house.  Though I aways have a co-host, criminals are going to get away with their crimes no matter how many hosts there are.  So just pack everything that means sometimes to you – after all you are selling and going to move.  

Don’t give your home a bad reputation
If a house does not sell after the first, two or three open houses, it means buyers are probably not interested for various reasons. Continued open houses can give the impression that there is something wrong with your home. Be careful of realtors who only focus on open houses as their key selling tool. A better realtor will use various resources to sell the home for maximum results.

 If your home does’t sell in the first two weeks – then you have some major back pedaling to do.  Instead of discussing this here – I invite any seller that is frustrated to a free, no obligation consultation where The Caton Team review the pros and cons and develop a strategy to achieve your financial goal of selling your home.  

Virtual tours
Today’s technology allows you to get great results using online photos or a video tour of your home. Prospective buyers don’t have to change out of their pajamas on a Saturday morning to take a virtual look-see of any home on the market. Plus, you don’t have to invite strangers into your home.

Call my old fashioned – it’s ok – I’m getting used to it – haha.  Virtual tours are wonderful internet tools BUT NOT SUBSTITUTE for actually walking through the home, looking at the neighbors house from a real street view, not a online map street view.  They can be fun to watch – but again – real, serious buyers are going to need to walk through your home for real. So make it available to them.  

Ultimately, it is the seller’s decision to schedule an open house. They are not required. Consider the pros and cons carefully before opening your doors to potential buyers, lookie loos and the like.

And let’s chat.  Perhaps one weekend is good, perhaps an evening is good.  Working with a professional Realtor will help guide you ever step of the way.  Looking for a pro?  Give The Caton Team an opportunity to sit down and talk to you.  Face to face, no virtual  goggles needed.  We’ll be happy to help you!

I read this article at: http://teresacowart.com/advantages-drawbacks-open-house/

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Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

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Sabrina Caton - The Caton Team Realtors

A native Californian with a passion for residential real estate and writing. A full time Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Drysdale Properties.

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