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Dec.December 16, 2021 10:38 AM

What you should expect when a realtor hosts your open house

You’ve handed over the keys — literally — to your agent, and it’s open house time. It can be an exciting, albeit nerve wracking, feeling knowing that strangers are visiting your home, and one of them just might fall in love with it on sight and pay you a handsome sum for it. But what is actually realistic to expect?

The first thing you should expect is to not be there. Sellers don’t usually attend their own open house. Not only can you leave this part to the pros (your agent), it can inherently personalize the home in a way you don’t necessarily want when it’s listed. A key theme of listing your home should be cleaning and staging it in a way that the buyers can imagine themselves living in it, not feel like they’re visiting someone else’s home. It’s those kinds of emotional connections that make buyers put further offers that sellers can’t refuse.

Still, while such a connection is always possible, don’t go into your first open house expecting it. In fact, while open houses can generate decent exposure, the percentage of home sales that actually stem from an open house lead is frequently cited as below five percent. A key reason for this is that the house is indeed open — it is not practical to screen attendees in advance based on whether or not they’re a serious, mortgage-preapproved buyer. As such, even if your agent reports a hearty crowd, know that that could include a few nosy neighbors, a few sightseers, or a few daydreamers. But in that crowd just might also be a serious buyer or two, and if they do happen to be pleasantly surprised with your home, there’s a high quality prospect you may never have come across otherwise.

Even to get that many folks in the door though, know that an organized and robust marketing plan is usually necessary. Look for an agent who knows how to balance a healthy mix of social media content and advertising and traditional solutions like signage around the neighborhood. Your agent should also have helped you find professional photographers, if desired, which makes a large difference on how appealing your listing looked in advance of the open house. 

Overall, open houses may not directly lead to a sale in most cases, but they can certainly provide other useful indicators of buyer interest and invite in decent prospects who would have otherwise remained on the fence.

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