The Value of An Open House
When you see a collection of gorgeous pictures of a home and begin thinking "I really like this house, will it meet my needs..." the first thing you do as a home shopper is to plan to walk through the house so you can look and feel how your family will fit.
In times past you almost always had two options: 1) call your agent and schedule an appointment to view the home, or 2) visit the home during an open house. Now that a few companies have created a business model where they believe the listing agent should show the house to buyers, some buyers rely very heavily on open houses. However sellers weigh the "costs" to them of an open house versus the expected advantages.
Each buyer is unique. Will this house make my family feel happy and proud to have it as their home? Are the rooms sized appropriately for my family? Are there any problems with the house or the neighborhood? These three questions are always present. There are always many unique questions. If the buyers have a large dog, they want to be certain they will have a good home for it. Conversely if they have young children or work at home, they may want to be certain the neighbors don't have a large defensive dog. The things to look for are almost infinite. Be ready to learn from each open house encounter.
Buyers have very different behaviors when visiting an open house. Some buyers briskly walk through the house asking every question they have: How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? ... Other buyers want to quietly walk through the house paying attention to how it makes them feel, then ask very specific knowledgeable questions such as "the termite report indicates there is damage near the front of the garage, does it get wet or damp?" An open house is an opportunity for buyers and sellers to learn from many people.
A real estate sale is a journey. Each open house encounter is a stop on that journey where people can learn from each other. Questions are asked and answered, opinions shared, bringing forward ideas, some unexpected, from many sources, sometimes very efficiently. An open house provides benefits to all.
Buyers want the open house host to be knowledgeable, to point out attractive or special features, and to honestly discuss any problems about the house. Being with the right people always helps. Experience and passion are excellent teachers. An open house host is the tour guide for that stop on a journey. Some have more experience and passion for the work than others. Other open house visitors can both add and detract from the experience.
If you are pursuing a real estate sale, visit open houses. Every open house encounter is a stop on a unique high value journey. An experienced tour guide for your journey can make it more enjoyable and effective. Unlike many journeys, this one has a goal of completing a major sale. Make the journey with and learn from others. Make it enjoyable and effective for both yourself and those you encounter.
My Open House
One of the constantly changing aspects of selling a home, is how to host an open house. I believe an open house is a very high value activity. For many, many years I have been using my own team of open house hosts to help me hold as many houses open as many times as it makes sense to. I do not have to decide which house to hold open or if it is the best use of my time. If I host more than one open house at the same time, I visit both while having a team member always remaining at each house. My team is not an agent who has volunteered to help me. It is composed of professionals, some of whom have real estate licenses, who perform specific duties as part of my team. My open house hosts are either team members whose main duty is to hold houses open or if I'm expecting a large number of visitors, one of my buyer agents whose main duty is to show homes to our buyer clients.
At my open houses I like to provide light snacks and drinks. This makes it easy for people to just hang around, chat, and munch on some treats. I also like to provide a "poster" with information specific to the house to encourage people to think about it and ask questions. My own and thus my team's goal is to help the visitor's learn as much about the value of the house and to have them work with us. We follow up on visitors.