Pros & Cons of Holding an Open House
- Semi-serious buyers may be more inclined to stop by an Open House because they won’t have the commitment of having to go through a realtor. New and/or tentative buyers may be less intimidated by attending Open Houses. They could like your house enough to become buyers.
- Potential buyers don’t have to set up appointments, enabling them to drive around and pick and choose only the houses and neighborhoods they like in situ (that is, seen all together, in place).
- In neighborhoods where HOAs (Homeowners Associations) forbid For Sale signs, an Open House may be the only way drive-by shoppers are even aware any homes are on the market in a neighborhood.
- In HOA neighborhoods, your neighbors will see your Open House signs and advise people they know of homes available, letting them help choose their new neighbors.
- An Open House may indicate a level of buyer interest in your house by the number of people who traipse through.
- An Open House may indicate the amount of buyers actively shopping for homes.
- An Open House is pretty inexpensive for the Realtor: the cost of an ad they should have placed anyway, a plate of cookies, re-usable signs (we had to have HOA specific signs at $50 each) and maybe a protective rug by the front door. Even if they don’t get prospects for your house, they will potentially pick up new customers out of the foot traffic or they’ll spend the afternoon on their Blackberry or watching TV. This is why they’re willing to give up a Sunday afternoon.
- You might actually sell your home through an Open House! My neighbor did this in a close-knit community and sold their home on the first day. Caveat: the market was way different then!
- An Open House means opening your home to neighbors and strangers without conditions. This means nosy neighbors, potential buyers, curious cruisers, other realtors, thieves, bored people, etc.
- Holding an Open House is a lot of work: the house must be absolutely clean, the yard, walkway, garage, garden, everything in tip top shape. Anything that doesn’t add to the appeal of your home should be donated, discarded, stored or temporarily lodged at a neighbor’s home.
- Your things could be stolen! You need to take all the precautions normal of having your house available for potential buyers to walk through, and MORE. Depending how the afternoon goes, people may be walking unescorted through your home, or one person may distract you while the other walks through the home. Remove or lock up jewelry, personal papers, portable valuables, prescription medications, private stuff, etc. Some of it could be locked in your car or stored at a friend or relative’s home, or put in a safe deposit box.
- People will invade your personal space. I’ve had them sit down on my couch, help themselves to books off the shelf and relax! Their kids have also written all over my chalkboard. (The kids didn’t bother me—strangers treating my den like a public library did!) If you have personal stuff, whether x-rated, medical or just private, lock it up! People WILL go through the closets, medicine cabinets and cupboards, even if they’re just sizing them up to determine if their stuff will fit.
- You may experience damage to your home, although it’s likely to be limited to muddy footprints. Things could get knocked over or broken.
- An Open House is an opportunity for someone to “case the joint” as they used to say. There may be a sign in sheet where the Realtor collects names, but is that worth anything? You really don’t know who could be walking through and why.
- You, your family and pets have to leave for a whole afternoon. If you work at home, like me, that is annoying, especially when you have to put away all your paperwork and clear your desk!
- It is likely to be a big waste of time and energy, especially in a down market where hardly anyone is house-shopping.