How Open Houses Help Sellers - dummies

By Dirk Zeller

Open houses are a popular way for buyers to view homes. But, you may wonder, “What’s in this open house thing for the seller?” Why do homeowners agree to be booted out of their houses for an afternoon so that their agents can throw open the doors and attract prospective clients? And why do sellers care if their agents generate new leads, anyway?

Although you may have these questions, sellers rarely, if ever, ask them.

That’s because most sellers have no idea of the limited results they’re likely to get from an agent holding an open house in their home. In fact, if you survey sellers, you find that most of them desperately want their agents to hold an open house for their home. They hold fast to the belief that an open house may sell their home. The odds are low: Homes are sold directly through open houses only one out of every twenty times. Yet it seems that every seller knows someone whose home was one of those few success stories. They inaccurately apply one seller’s experience as the rule instead of the exception. As a result, they want an open house, ASAP.

To sellers, an open house is a tangible way to see agents doing something to earn their fees. The selling of real estate is a mystery to most people, but they can easily understand an open house because it isn’t part of the behind-the-scenes magic that an agent performs to get the home sold.

Sellers actually do realize some real advantages from the open house experience. Open houses do sell homes — just not the featured home and not usually to a prospect who attended the open house. For example:

  • An open house attendee may share her home-buying interests with the hosting agent, who proceeds to sell her a home featured at an open house a week ago.

  • A couple attending an open house may find that the featured home isn’t right for them but that it matches the wish list of some good friends, who end up making a purchase offer.

What’s more, an open house prompts the owners to get their home ready for prime-time showing, and that alone makes it worthwhile for all parties involved. Whether the home sells as a result of the open house (as only a few do) or afterward, the effort provides a worthwhile dry run for all the showings that follow.