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 At most of my listing appointments the question of holding an open house usually comes up.  So I wanted to share with you the pros and cons of holding an open house.

Cons of holding an open house.

  1. Theft.  A couple of years back we had a gang of thieves hitting the open house circuit here in Metro Detroit.  Two or three people would come in together.  One would keep the agent occupied while the other two stole small items like cell phones, IPads, and jewelry.  They were eventually caught but theft can be an issue because the agent holding the open house cannot keep track of multiple lookers.  Usually when an agent takes a buyer out they have the buyer's correct info and know the buyer is qualified.  Open houses you do not have that.
  2. Unqualified buyers come through.  Some are noisy neighbors.  Some of the lookers have nothing to do.  I have had people come into a 3000 square foot colonial home knowing that they could not afford the home and were actually looking for an small ranch home.  It was a waste of time.
  3. Low percentage of sales.  They say less than 2% of open houses result in a sale.  (96% of buyers search the internet in todays real estate market.  They can view the house on line most times and if they really want to see it they call their real estate agent.  I think that even the 2% of sales from open houses is not in the Michigan area.  It is rare that I even hear of somebody buying from an open house.  I bet more sales come from buyers already interested in the home and they come out on their own without their real estate agent the first time to the open house.
  4. Appeasing the seller.  The reason most agents hold open houses is not only to appease the seller, but mainly to get buyer clients for other homes. It shows the seller that the agent is working. Though they would be better off spending more time marketing the home on the internet.
  5. Low traffic and time away.  If is usually a three or four hour block on Sunday that you have to be away from your home.  I have had ZERO buyers come through sometimes.  And that was with advertising in advance and on the internet.


Pros of holding an open house

  1.  A few more potential buyers may see the home.   A neighbor may have a friend or family member that wants to live in the neighborhood.  Open houses sometimes tend bring in potential buyers who would otherwise be too casual, lazy, or unmotivated to book a showing with an agent.  Sometimes buyers come alone because their agent is busy.  An open house is one more way to market your home.  It is not the highest return for your time, but it does open another tiny avenue of marketing.
  2. The agent can set the scene – Their way. Sometimes sellers are busy or are not home when showings are requested.  When holding an open house the agent is going to try to make your home appear at it's best.  When potential homebuyers stop by your home for a regular showing, they often do it with short notice, which is why it can be stressful keeping your home “show ready” for the entire time that it is on the market.  Pets may be in the house during week day showings.  When holding a n open house with an agent your home can be staged at it's absolute best.  It can be very consuming to keep wastebaskets emptied and floors free of clutter, ensure that the laundry doesn’t pile up, and make certain that floors are routinely swept and vacuumed. With an open house, you’ll be able to prepare for an event that has the potential to bring in many prospective buyers with one fell swoop. It’s much easier to do some deep cleaning that will leave your home spotless if you know exactly when people will be visiting. And you’re also able to sweeten the deal by baking cookies and setting them out or filling vases with fresh flowers and cuttings.
  3. The agent could sell that interested buyer. The open house agent has more time to talk about your house and get to know the buyers creating rapport.  That gives your home one more possibility to get your home sold. 
  4. Buyers can compare and contrast.  On some weekends real estate agents get together and hold multiple open houses in an area.  Michigan home buyers interested in purchasing a home in your area will be able to comparison shop by attending several open houses, giving you the opportunity to make your home stand out from the crowd.
  5. Weekends may be a better time for you to show the house.  You may get agents showing your house at an open house if you have limited times to see your home.  It is sometimes good to hold an open house the first weekend you list the house.

In my opinion holding an open house does not produce the results you need.  With the chance of theft and keeping you out of your house for 4 hours on the weekend it is not worth it.  A buyer can see the house on the internet and if they are interested in the house they will call me the listing agent or their agent to see the house.  Getting a house ready to show to people that may not be qualified to buy or are not in the market is not my idea of marketing your home.

I compare holding and open house to putting an add in the Sunday paper.  It is old school.  Sure there is a very small chance to get the home sold, but we should be concentrating on and working on marketing your home for the results that payoff.

I hope these pro and cons of holding an open house helps you decide whether to hold one or not.


Russ Ravary your metro Detroit real estate agent

Put my years of real estate experience to work for you!  You will be glad you did

Cell (248) 310-6239 or email