Thanks to the internet, today's home buyers are better informed than ever before. Most house hunters begin their search online, where they are able to educate themselves on availability of homes, price, school districts, and finishes that homes in their market offer. In years past, home buyers utilized open houses and the agents hosting them as the primary means to gather this information. Recent statistics would make a seller wonder why they would hold an Open House in today's technological age. According to the National Association of Realtors® in 2014, only 9% of buyers found the home they eventually purchased at an open house. That’s down from 16% in 2004—and the number of buyers who even visited open houses has dropped accordingly, from 51% in 2004 to 44% last year. Despite these numbers, there are still benefits to the home seller (and buyer) in holding (or visiting) an open house.
Holding your house open within the first couple of weeks after your listing going active on the Multiple Listing Service showcases your home to other agents and active buyers in the area. The first couple of weeks after a home is listed or has a market adjustment in price we typically see a flurry of activity from the buying market. Having the house open for a couple of hours is a convenience for the seller as it funnels many potential showing requests to the open house time, at a planned convenient time for the seller, and may cut down on the number of times that they should leave your house in order for the home to be shown. While many a nosy neighbor has visited an open house to merely get a peek at your interior desing style, there are benefits to these visitors to an open house. Neighbors visiting an open house are typically excellent advocates for purchasing a home in their neighborhood. A neighbor will offer a unique, genuine perspective for the benefit of a home purchase that a REALTOR can't replicate, because the REALTOR is the salesperson, and it is their job to sell the house. A neighbor is merely pointing out the benefits to other attendees of an open house that may buy, therefore increasing authentic motivation for the home purchase.
In visiting open houses as their schedules allow, buyers are able to get a first hand perspectives of what is available on the market in their price point without necessarily being committed to any one agent, particularly when a purchase may be many months away and the motivation for an actual purchase at the time is relatively low. During open house visits buyers can get a better idea of what they are looking for in their next purchases as it relates to their particular wants and needs and style. In this relaxed atmosphere a buyer will be able to to determine many different agent's knowledge of the market, what's available on the market, and help to determine if the REALTOR hosting the open house might be a good fit to represent them in their home purchase. The buyer can utilize open houses as a way to interview many agents before hiring an agent to represent them as a Buyer's agent.
The internet is a great tool in the business of selling and buying houses. Even in today's technological age, there are still many great reasons for Sellers to hold, and Buyers to attend, an open house.
Melissa Rolland is a licensed Connecticut realtor. She lives in Tolland, along with her husband Todd, a licensed broker. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty and can be reached at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com.