Is an open house worth it?

Monday Nov 06th, 2017


With virtual open houses becoming more prevalent, some real estate pros dismiss the practice of holding the bricks-and-mortar variety. However, open houses can, and often do, get the property sold -- but are they worth it?

“In our brokerage, we have some agents who argue that an open house is only for looky-loos and an outdated tactic that many homeowners just don't want,” says Marian Barry, a broker-owner with Royal LePage True North Realty in Fort McMurray, Alberta. “Others say they are devoted to holding open houses, and their clients are on board since these events are scheduled ahead of time, and may allow the same number of potential buyers to see the home with fewer showings.”

Barry offers up these tips to decide if an open house is for you:

Is your agent is willing to put in the time to make an open house a success? Planning for an open house is more than a full day of work, says Barry, but many agents continue to do them because they deliver results. A successful open house will include online marketing, printing and assembling packets of information for attendees, placing signs around the neighbourhood, and hosting the actual event.

Make sure your agent intends to have the right people at your open house. The homeowner should not be in attendance, as it is the agent's responsibility to prepare for questions that may come up from interested buyers. Typically, the listing agent is on hand and they should plan to have someone with them. Often, a colleague accompanies the open house, usually someone who is newer to real estate. In addition, it's becoming more common-place to invite a representative from one of the company's preferred lenders.

Consider security. Make sure you are prepared to securely stow away all valuables, along with prescription medications. Ask your agent what safety and security procedures they follow when holding an open house and research online for yourself. If you are uncomfortable with any aspects of the planning or security, an open house may not be for you.

A successful open house, Barry says, is one that increases the exposure of the home and brings prospects and neighbours who may know someone who wants to buy it. In addition, some buyers like the notion of dropping into an open house without the extra step of booking a showing with an agent. For others who are already seriously interested in your property, holding an open house could be an opportunity for them to bring others for a second opinion, which may translate to an offer, or even multiple offers.

Seek clarification from your real estate professional; do your research, and; ultimately make the decision of open house, or not, based on your individual situation.

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