There is a lot of debate amongst home sellers, home buyers and Realtors as to the value of an Open House. The detractors point to the quality & number of the attendees as the biggest reason for not doing them and then the fact that consumers can view multiple pictures and virtual tours online so why bother.
I believe that Open House still have value in today's Digital world and the reasons are;
Buyer's love them - drive thorough any neigbourhood on a Sunday afternoon and you will see dozens of open houses signs on street corners, watch those houses and you will see a steady stream of visitors. Why? Buyers can look on-line! If you have ever looked at a house online and then viewed it in person you will know the experience can be very, very different both positively and negatively. Pictures can be distorted, photoshopped or of poor quality giving you the wrong impression of the home. Home buyers still want to touch and feel the home they are buying. Buying is an emotional decision and physically visiting a home is the only way to truly get the feel of the house and the area. Early in my career I was told a buyer will decide within 15 seconds of entering the home if they will consider buying it and spend the rest of the visit either confirming their positive feelings or eliminating the home because of their negative feelings. Initially, I didn't believe it but after 27 years of showing homes it's very true - for these reasons Buyer's love Open Houses.
Real Estate is about exposure - to sell your house you have to expose your home to potential buyers and an open house can be an effective vehicle to do just that. Many buyer's don't want to commit to a Realtor early in the buying process but they want to get a feel for the market and pricing - so they go to open houses. Now you could say well that results in a lot of unqualified people looking at my house - true but it could also mean the person that ultimately buys your home see's it first at an Open House.
Your Realtor is the best person to sell your home - You have listed your home with a Realtor and spent time telling them all about the home. A good realtor will get as much detail as possible, why did you buy the house, what do you love about living there, what updates have you made, what are the problems, how good are the schools, how much does it cost etc. At an Open House your Realtor can tell the story of your home most effectively. another agent showing your house often doesn't have that level of detail.
Buyer's Feel Safe visiting an Open House - Realtor's a salespeople so calling them and asking about a house could end up with you buying a home or at least having a Realtor calling you constantly trying to sell you one. An Open House can be a relatively safe place for a buyer who has concerns about contacting a Realtor. You might laugh but I know personally I got to a store to buy a shirt, pair of shoes or a gold club and when a clerk says can I help? my almost immediate reactions is to say no just browsing. Well an Open House is the publics invite to come and browse.
Efficient use of time - Cleaning and preparing your house for a showing can be extremely stressful. Doing an Open House can result in 2,3, 5 10 or 20 people coming through your home in a 2 hour time frame but you only had to prepare once. Also an Open House early in the listing period can result in a lot of traffic and a potential buyer.
Are there other reasons for Why Realtors do Open Houses? Yes Realtors do use them to generate leads to future buyers and sellers! But if you are working with a successful Realtor who has a steady stream of buyers and homes listed for sale, the likelihood they will successfully sell your home is greatly increased and if they regularly do Open Houses they might well be out doing an Open House on a Sunday somewhere else and meet the buyer for your home.
Visit a Century 21 John DeVries Open House in May 2106 and you could win either a Big Screen TV and sound system or 5000 Air MIles