Strangers in Your Home: The Open House
The very concept of an open house outwardly looks like an odd one. Strangers are openly invited into your home, allowed and even encouraged to investigate each and every nook and cranny all while openly discussing the tangible worth of perhaps your most important possession. They can be difficult to prepare for and through all of the people that funnel in and out of your home, only a handful may end up actually interested in the home.
With all of that negativity about open houses out it in the open, it may seem like the obvious benefit to you is that you may actually sell your real estate through an open house. Yes, it does happen in some cases, but the actual percentage is very low. Showings yield much more prospective buyers than open houses and you don't have to open up your home to neighbors and the world.
Open houses do routinely benefit one demographic, new realtors. As a prospecting tool, the open house is an excellent way to glean a lot of information from prospective home buyers in one centralized location. New realtors especially are often asked to run open houses to get their feet wet with prospective clients, enabling these fresh recruits to try out their marketing spiel on an array of people.
Does that mean your realtor does not have your interests at all in mind when suggesting an open house? Of course not, but you should know that all realtors are motivated to do well at their job just as you are at yours. Open houses not only work as great prospecting tools, but really communicate that your realtor will do anything to sell your real estate and is exhausting all possible angles. That is an entirely valid reason for hosting an open house and sometimes just drumming up activity can jump start the selling process.
Whether or not an open house is worth the trouble of dressing up your home, vacating the premises for a few hours and coming back to clean up anything amiss is up to you. Of course, any additional activity you can generate surrounding your possible home sale has the potential of benefiting you down the road by either getting a new buyer in the home or alerting buyers in the area that your home is for sale. As often as not, open house signs can fuel drive by looks at your home that later result in showings as anything else.
If you do have an open house, of course make sure to secure anything that you perceive as valuable. Your realtor will be in your home and will often accompany people through your house, but at a busy time with many people in the property, that is not always possible. Theft at open houses is not a common occurrence, but there is really no reason to tempt fate by keeping grandma's pearl necklace out on the bedroom dresser for everyone to see.
Along that same line of thought, be prepared for children to be in your home. As anyone that's had any experience with children knows, they can be unpredictable, so think like a child. If you have something perched precariously at a height accessible to a nine year-old, think about putting it in a safer place. No realtor can be with every customer and customer family member at every moment.
Open houses can be a valuable selling tool to drum up activity for your property and get more people to traffic the area near your home. On Sundays when open houses are going full blast, that activity can sometimes net a few more interested glances than usual. However, know that open houses are not essential to selling your home and if you are simply not comfortable with people traipsing around you carpet with muddy feet, don't be afraid to tell your realtor that you don't think an open house is worth it.