Pros and Cons of Open Houses

Posted by Steve Vincent on Sep 12, 2016 3:35:18 PM

In Buyers, Sellers

Open House Pros and Cons Should you have an Open House?

There was an Open House for a home in my neighborhood last weekend, and it generated some buzz. It’s a great-looking all-brick ranch, and the owner has often been observed meticulously caring for the exterior. Two families I know from within the neighborhood had genuine interest in seeing the interior of the home – it seemed to have everything going for it. In neither case was the family actively looking for a home, but in both cases, a purchase would have been possible if the inside met (or exceeded) expectations. At a surprisingly high price point for the square footage, expectations were high.

Unfortunately, the inside didn’t exceed—or even meet—either family’s expectations. There were no obvious structural problems, and the home was very neat, tidy, and clean. However, the kitchen was tiny. A master bedroom addition was choppy and awkward. In a neighborhood where many homes have hardwood floors, this one featured many carpeted rooms. In addition, one of the potential buyers commented to me that seeing the condition of the home next door to the open house made him concerned about the neighbors. It’s not surprising that neither family is at all interested in this home, unless the price is dropped significantly.

Now, this anecdote does say something about pricing. (Be sure to check out a few of our posts about pricing, such as 6 Questions to Ask When Setting the Listing Price for Your Home.) But it also quite nicely illustrates both the pros and cons of Open Houses. Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about a few reasons why there’s so little agreement about the efficacy of Open Houses.

The Neighbor Dilemma

Some people think it’s annoying that folks from the neighborhood parade through Open Houses, and they are skeptical that people who live in the neighborhood will make offers. It’s true that 41% of buyers attend open houses, but fewer than 5% purchase a home through an Open House [source]. However, some real estate agents prefer to see the positives:

  • According to a National Association of Realtors 2015 Report, Gen Y and Gen X buyers often stay within 10 miles of their previous residence when they move.
  • People who live in the neighborhood are often strong neighborhood advocates. If they love the area, and they love the Open House when they visit, they’ll likely talk it up to friends and family.
  • There may be families like the two I described above who aren’t actively in the market, but who may feel compelled to purchase – maybe they’ve walked by their “dream home” for years and it’s just now come onto the market.

The “Waste of Time” Worry

Some real estate professionals dislike doing Open Houses because they feel that they’re a waste of time. That can be true…there are certainly times that an Open House is poorly attended (or not visited at all). If that happens, there is usually a predictable reason: The agent did not fully maximize the marketing exposure for the Open House. From the typical signs planted in the neighborhood to email marketing and Realtor Open Houses (more on that in a minute), there are many ways to get in touch with potential buyers. Smart real estate professionals are knowledgeable about the property and target their invitations to prospective buyers who are likely to be interested.

As I am sure you’re beginning to see, there’s not a simple answer to the question, “Should we have an Open House?” In the next several posts, I’ll cover “The Who’s Looking? Question,” “The Brokers Open House,” and finally, “Why Curb Appeal and Staging Are Essential.”

In the meantime, please remember that we are here to advise you - whether you are buying or selling a home - and we will always do our best to help you make wise decisions about this important investment. At The Vincent Group at GreatNest, we are proud to save our clients money by charging a low set fee instead of a percentage commission. We are a full-service real estate company serving buyers and sellers in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Summerfield, Oak Ridge, Jamestown, and other Piedmont Triad areas. Please get in touch with our experienced real estate professionals by calling (336) 790-5210 or by emailing Steve Vincent.  Visit our website at