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To Open or not to Open …

Open houses spark immediate reactions from my sellers. I often hear, “Why bother with an open house?” or “We absolutely MUST do an open house!” It becomes quickly apparent that their preference for or resistance to doing one is based on myth rather than fact. So. what is true and what is not??

1. Every listing can benefit from an open house.

MYTH. For some homes, open houses are perfect and will generate high traffic and encourage multiple offers, but that is not always the case. In fact, some homes lend themselves to looky-loos and potential theft. And if your home is in poor condition, an open house may generate bad publicity and incur the wrath of your neighbors and HOA.

2. Open Houses only benefit the realtor.

MYTH. Most Realtors invest the time and money open houses demand to not only promote the listing, but also themselves. HOWEVER, 1 in 10 homes are still sold through an open house, so as a homeowner, why would you want to eliminate that 10%?

3. Listing your open house in the MLS is sufficient to generate traffic.

MYTH. While 90% of homes in Houston are sold through MLS, It is not uncommon for a buyer to “find” an open house that was not on his initial radar due to location or price-point and then fall in love with it. Many factors can encourage this outcome. Your realtor needs great signage and will be advertising up to a week in advance on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit. As a homeowner, you can help as well by promoting it through your neighborhood boards and through your own social media outlets.

4. Never do an open house on a holiday weekend

IT DEPENDS. Which holiday are we talking about? Mother’s Day has been known to generate a great deal of traffic as well as the Saturday following Thanksgiving and the weekends before and after Christmas. Father’s Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day tend to have low turnouts. Think about where people are going to be for that holiday – if everybody is packing up to go to the lake, no one will be coming to your open house.

5. If one open house has poor turnout, you should not do any others.

MYTH. Lots of factors play into turnout. Now, if you do three and no one shows, this may be a listing that is not a good candidate. I can count on one hand the number of open houses I have done that consistently resulted in crickets. You may have to tweak a few things, but if at first you don’t succeed …

6. Open Houses are for the neighbors to get decorating ideas.

SOMEWHAT TRUE. But not a bad thing … neighbors like their friends to move near them. And even though they come to the open looking décor inspiration, they may leave thinking of that one person for whom your house would be perfect.

7. We should do an open house every weekend until it sells.

MAYBE. It truly depends on the speed of the market. In a fast-moving seller’s market, too many opens can make a seller look desperate – not a good look for a listing. One or two opens will give the realtor an idea of what needs to be changed to sell it and what is actually working. In a slow market, a seller may need to do multiple opens to generate traffic and spur interest.

8. If my realtor doesn’t personally host the open house, he or she isn’t doing my home justice.

MYTH. With exception – there is always that lazy realtor that would rather be at the beach than working, but that is the rare exception. More often than not, your realtor is busy working on other ways to market your property at the same time and by having another agent host the open, he or she is expanding the listing’s exposure to that agent’s network as well.

In summary, to hold or not to hold open houses are based on the unique factors of your particular listing. Personally, I like them and find that in general, they are very effective. But each home is different, and you must weigh those pros and cons for yourself after a frank discussion with a licensed Realtor. He or she is most familiar with the speed of the market, the conditions of your home, and the circumstances of your sale.