Real Estate Marketing Ideas

Are Open Houses Worth It?

By Lindsay Goebel Last Updated March 16, 2022 3 min read

While hosting an open house is a long-standing tradition in the real estate market, it’s debatable whether or not this marketing strategy is a waste of time. Roughly 2% of properties that have open houses sell to a buyer in attendance. Still, there are some benefits to in-person open houses, but the hosting agent often reaps the reward, not the seller. 

Agents often ask if open houses are worth it. Depending on your real estate goals, hosting an open house is an effective and valuable marketing strategy. 

What to Know Before Holding an Open House During COVID-19

COVID-19 restrictions undeniably changed the landscape of the real estate industry. There are a few strategies and precautions to keep in mind when it comes to holding an open house in today’s market. 

The CDC and the WHO offer updated guidelines to help businesses keep their clients and guests safe and comfortable. Additionally, the National Association of Realtors provides a comprehensive guide on hosting open houses during COVID-19. 

When the pandemic began, real estate agents found resources on hosting virtual open houses. Virtual open houses are a fantastic alternative to in-person open houses. They can also complement an in-person open house. 

A virtual open house strategy should include a Zillow 3D Home tour, 360-degree panoramas, professional listing images, and interactive floorplans. In some markets, aerial photography and video may help a virtual open house strategy. 

Staging Makes all the Difference

When it comes to both virtual open houses and in-person open houses, proper staging is paramount. A seller can hire a professional to stage their vacant listing or use the furniture they already own. It’s important to declutter and depersonalize the space, too. A staged home is welcoming, clean, and helps buyers better visualize usable space. 

Virtual staging is also an affordable option that an agent should consider. 

staging for open house
Staging the home to highlight its unique features will improve the open house’s success rate!

Pros and Cons of Open Houses for Sellers

When a property owner decides to list their home, the main goal is to sell fast and for the most money possible. A seller looks for an agent who can market their listing to qualified buyers. An open house produces maximum exposure across multiple marketing channels. 

Once an agent schedules an open house, the event information is visible online through the local MLS and third-party listing sites like Zillow. Additionally, the listing agent places signs around the neighborhood to lead potential buyers to the open house. Roadside signs generate buzz and get neighbors talking. They may even refer friends and family looking to buy. 

While open houses help create excitement and increase exposure, there are some critical drawbacks to note for sellers. When an agent hosts an open house, the seller opens their home up to everyone. Sometimes, people with ill intent may attend. 

Theft is undoubtedly a concern for sellers and should be taken seriously by the hosting agent. One way to dissuade theft is by removing temptations. Agents need to encourage their clients to hide or secure valuables before the open house. 

Pros and Cons of Open Houses for Buyers

Open houses can be an exciting event for buyers, especially those just beginning their homebuying journey. Attending open houses is a low-pressure way for buyers to walk through listings and see what they want and don’t want in a home. 

Buyers can sometimes gauge if a listing is desirable based on the open house. For example, if there is a lot of foot traffic and they see other attendees in quiet conversations with their agents, they can assume the listing sells quickly.

Most of the time, open houses are beneficial to prospective buyers. There are, however, some disadvantages. The setting of an open house may prevent buyers from feeling relaxed. With other buyers around, it is challenging to picture living in the home. Additionally, buyers may feel uncomfortable speaking freely about their thoughts while inside, ultimately hindering the buying process. 

To soften these setbacks, the buyer’s agent can schedule private tours for listings before or after the open house. 

How Agents Benefit from Open Houses

Real estate professionals benefit the most from open houses. An open house is a perfect opportunity for the hosting agent to find unrepresented buyers and turn them into potential clients. 

It’s not uncommon for a seasoned listing agent to ask a new agent in their real estate brokerage to host their open house. This trade-off is mutually beneficial as the seasoned agent shares their workload, and the new agent generates buyer leads. 

Several benefits make an open house worth it to sellers, buyers, and agents. An open house may not guarantee an instant home sell, but it can boost listing exposure, help agents find unrepresented buyers and gently ease new buyers into the market.