A good friend of mine told me recently that she would not want an open house if she were to ever sell her home. The reason being that she has witnessed the voyeuristic nature of some Open House attendees, where potential buyers have opened the owners’ underwear drawers and picked up vases to see where they were made. What is so unbelievable to me is that a listing agent could see this and not do anything about it.
As a real estate agent, I encourage any potential buyer to open every door – even doors that look like they might just be hall closets when viewing a property. Since storage is such an elemental consideration when you’re home buying, it’s important to know what’s behind every door. However, buyers should never cross the line by opening someone’s dresser drawers to decide whether or not they’d like to buy a property.
Another worry seems to be that the neighbors will troop through en mass and then dish about the house at the next block party. Of course they will. But why do you care? Your neighbor is often a strong advocate of your neighborhood, therefore a strong advocate of your house. Remember, you are moving.
This got me thinking. How important is it to have an open house when you’re trying to sell your home?
For those of you not familiar with the process, there are two types of open houses: broker open houses and public open houses. A broker open house is a MUST. It lets all the agents in your community know that there is a new property on the market and allows all agents to preview the home for any potential buyers they might have.
The public open house is typically held on a Sunday and is a convenient time for touring homes without having to make an appointment with an agent. This type of open house benefits both buyers and agents. Semi-serious and new buyers may be more inclined to stop by a public open house because they don’t have to make an appointment with their realtor first. Buyers’ agents can preview a house that they might like to show one of their clients or direct a client to a specific open house.
Many buyers rely on the Internet in their home search. Through Internet marketing and open houses they are exposed to homes that may be a good fit. Whether they regard this as a time saver or have not met the right buyer agent is unknown, but the phenomenon is very real. Many free-lance buyers are newer Americans who don’t quite understand the value of buyer agency, and are thus afraid of the buying process. They believe that attending open houses is the best way to understand the market. Others are younger, tech savvy buyers who completely rely on the Internet for information. I know of many such buyers that have walked into an open house they liked and put in an offer. If there are no open houses these buyers may never see your property. This is a lost opportunity for everyone.
I think an open house is an integral part of selling a home and should not be bypassed. The important thing to remember is to pack your valuables away and make sure you have an agent you can trust, who will act responsibly and be aware of who is in your home at all times. In the end open houses are tools for selling and in a challenging market ALL the tools need to come out of the box.
|Nicole Magun, Realtor
THE ATTIAS GROUP
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