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The Great Open House Debate

Written by on Friday, 03 January 2014 9:43 am

With the spring real estate market just around the corner, more homeowners are thinking about putting their homes up for sale. And with a potential influx of new properties hitting the market, it’s an important time to think about how you can make your home stand out from the rest.

There is an ongoing discussion of whether it benefits a seller to hold an open house. These days, virtual open houses are the norm, with real estate websites featuring virtual tours that give a more nuanced and dimensional view of a home for sale without the effort of heading out to every property that shows promise. Some agents feel that this technology is replacing the need for actual feet-on-the-ground open house visits.

Other arguments against holding an open house include the arrival of nosy neighbors to go through your home when you’re not there (but does that really matter if you’re moving away?) and worries about security. The quick fix for security concerns is to remove all items of value (both financial and sentimental) from the property before the open house. These concerns aside, many agents feel there are very few drawbacks to staging an open house. In fact, there are quite a few reasons that an open house might be a good option for you when you list your home for sale. Here are four:

Exposure. Even a casual or unmotivated prospective buyer can drop by an open house without having to go to the effort of booking a showing. A quick walk through of your home might pique an interest for further visits in the future. Additionally, open houses receive added attention via signage and classified or Internet ads. More eyes on your home could translate into an offer.

Convenience. With an open house, you get to decide on timing, meaning that in contrast to the tedious daily effort of keeping your home “show ready,” you can have it looking exactly the way you want prospective buyers to see it. You can add in fresh flowers, cookies straight from the oven, and other small touches that are harder to pull off on a daily basis when you’re not sure whether to expect a showing. Your house will come off feeling like a true home.

Comparison. On any given weekend, prospective buyers will likely have a number of different open houses they can visit in your community or area. Being able to compare yours directly to others may give you a slight edge over the competition – particularly if a buyer is motivated to make an offer and get into a new home quickly.

“The Lock. For a buyer who is already interested, holding an open house might just be the tipping point on the road to an offer. An open house gives an interested party the opportunity to check out the house more thoroughly and without feeling rushed, even if they’ve already had a private showing. A prospective buyer might even bring friends or family along to get an opinion about the house. And that could be just the nudge a potential buyer needs to take the plunge and make an offer.

Remember, it only takes “one person” to be interested and make an acceptable offer.


While holding an open house might not be necessary in order to make a sale, it certainly can’t hurt. With the increased attention that an open house can draw to your house, it might just be the difference between landing an interested buyer or increased time on the market.

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1 comment

  • Comment Link Phil Amodeo Saturday, 04 January 2014 5:45 pm posted by Phil Amodeo

    I agree with you 100%, Lilian. Any exposure a home gets is a good thing. After all, it's a numbers game. About half of my business comes from open houses, although I usually only sell 1 or 2 each year that I hold open.

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