Pros and Cons of Hosting an Open House [Home Selling 101]

An open house can be an excellent opportunity to host many potential buyers at once while increasing the overall awareness of your home. Especially during peak buying seasons, some realtors will host open houses every week. While this shouldn't be the only reason you choose a particular realtor, it is one consideration we recommend you make, among others. Here are some of the good outcomes that an open house can produce:

More Prospective Buyers

The main goal of an open house is to increase public awareness that your home is for sale. An open house can encourage more prospective buyers in a few ways. First, many realtors have elaborate marketing campaigns to broadcast the open house over many media platforms. When you host an open house, the goal is to get as much exposure as possible. Some realtors will encourage any buyer to tour the home, regardless of if the home fits their preferences. Getting a lot of traffic in a house is a strategic decision to promote buyer interest. 

Also, buyers might feel inclined to attend an open house because they feel less pressure. Naturally, when other prospective buyers are around, they can tour the home at their leisure without interacting with the realtor. Some people think that an agent will try to give a sales pitch to secure the commission, and they don't like aggressive salespeople. Whether that's true or not, some people are more comfortable in a croup. Plus, they didn't ask for an individual tour, therefore expressing their interest. Instead, they can say they're "just here to look" and will walk out with a clear conscience. 

Sparks Buyer Competition

Especially during peak selling months like June, July, and August, you might get a lot of traffic at one open house. When homes sell fast, or there are few homes on the market, an open house could be the perfect formula to encourage a bidding war. If a buyer notices that a few other people are interested in the home, they could place an offer soon after the open house. 

A bidding war means a few offers competing against each other to place the highest bid for your home. This would be a fantastic outcome because you are making extra money than if you chose to go with the first offer. Increasing attention on your home could mean you make more money on your home. If selling your home quickly and at a great price is the goal, an open house is one route that could get you there. However, you should keep in mind the possible adverse outcomes as well. 

Possible Cons For An Open House

While it's not guaranteed that these negatives will occur, you should still prepare for the possibility of any number of these outcomes from an open house. In real estate, it's tough to predict what will happen. Some realtors host too many open houses to reduce the number of times they have to show a home. You have to decide whether the potential reward is worth the risk of encountering any of these negatives: 

Less Individual Attention

You might get a ton of potential buyers to attend your open house. While it is great to get as much exposure as possible, having too many prospective buyers could be overwhelming for your realtor. If only a few people show up, your realtor can really give a detailed explanation and answer all of the buyers' questions. However, if you get a great turnout, the realtor might have their hands full and might not be able to address everyone's concerns within the scope of the open house. 

If your realtor cannot give each individual the necessary time and attention, it may leave some buyers feeling under-appreciated. While being overwhelmed with potential buyers might not be anyone's fault, you may lose a prospective buyer. One way to mitigate this dilemma is to offer your realtor's contact information at the door. If the agent cannot address everyone's questions individually, the prospective buyer can reach out individually at another time if they're still interested. Besides, the primary purpose of an open house is to increase exposure. Getting people inside your home and building interest is a step in the right direction. 

Attracts Unmotivated Buyers

One of the pros mentioned earlier is that an open house should increase interest in your home. With all of the extra marketing efforts (i.e., fliers, emails, social media posts), the goal is to increase exposure. However, this may include some interest from people who aren't really in the market for your home. Whether their income is too high or too low, or your house doesn't match their "must-haves," you're likely to encounter a visit from buyers who likely won't purchase your home. 

The seller should decide whether it is worth opening your home to uninterested buyers for the chance that a real buyer actually shows up. Some people enjoy touring houses with no real intention of purchasing a home. Most selling agents can differentiate between a motivated and casual client. However, realtors don't do screenings on every person for an open house. This leaves the door open (literally and figuratively) for any person interested in touring a home. 

Unlikely, but possible, you may have a neighbor or family friend show up because they have nothing better to do. Preparing your home for an open house is a ton of work. You should be sure that there is a healthy amount of interest before you decide to have one. The last thing you want is to prepare your home, have your realtor show up, and nobody comes. This is a real possibility that happens from time to time. Be sure to weigh the risk vs. reward before committing to hosting an open house. 


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