For decades, open houses have been the go-to marketing tool for real estate agents and homeowners alike wanting to get as many potential buyers through a home as possible. But now that sellers are relying more and more on the internet to show their homes, how effective are open houses today?
According to the National Association of Realtors via Investopedia, only three percent of homebuyers visit open houses. Unless your home is in a high-traffic area, the numbers don’t appear to be in favor of the home seller.
Current studies show that Gen Xer’s and millennials are the largest generation buying homes today. They’ve grown up tech-savvy and as homebuyers, they’re doing things differently. It’s all about the internet.
How the Internet Has Changed Home Buying and Selling
The Pew Research Center reports that nine in ten Americans use the internet. In addition, about three-quarters of that population owns a laptop or desktop computer, roughly 50-percent owns a tablet, and 81-percent of all Americans own a smartphone.
As a society, we are plugged in and that has helped change how consumers research everything, even real estate. Most buyers begin their research for a new home on the internet.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 50-percent of buyers now find their home online. They can search for neighborhoods, school districts, proximity to parks, shopping, and major routes. Doing this online instead of driving around saves time and money.
With the internet, buyers have:
Thousands of real estate websites
Real estate websites with interior/exterior pictures
Easier research access for homes in cities/states far away
The internet benefits home sellers as well. Listing online requires less of a time commitment, and may save money. It can cost less to list online or skip the listing altogether and rely on a company like HomeGo, plus you don’t have to deal with an open house.
Potential Issues Sellers Have When Planning an Open House
Open houses can be a major headache for the seller. The home needs to be spotless and your personal items should be stowed away before a home is shown to potential buyers. When trying to pick the best day for open house festivities, there are many factors to consider.
You can’t be there during the open house, so you need to pick a time when you can be gone for several hours. The open house date and time also needs to be when prospective buyers will be most likely to come out and see the home. This can be difficult to predict without knowing each buyer’s work and personal schedule. If your home does not sell quickly, this could mean months of having your life placed on hold while you allow potential buyers to tour the property.
Open house issues can also include but are not limited to:
Extra expenses: Home staging that may include new decor, signs, drinks, and food
Need to find accommodations for family pets
Need to find someplace for you and your family to go during the long open house
Stress and time spent cleaning and making the home “perfect” for prospective buyers
Common Open House Problem: The Visitors
The primary goal of the open house is to have as many prospective buyers tour the home. Real estate agents may tell sellers open houses usually generate at least one or two offers.
However, it’s more common that visitors to the open house are not motivated to buy. They’re at the open house for other reasons.
Neighbors come out to be supportive and because often they’re curious about your home
Other real estate agents come out to see homes new to the market
Agents that may have lost your business also will come to see how things are progressing
Future home buyers like to look and see what’s on the market, but they’re not ready to buy
Not all visitors to the open house may be there for honest reasons. Thieves have been known to attend open houses, posing as prospective buyers. They may do this to check out the house, your belongings, and the home’s security.
This can make it easier to plan a burglary. Some thieves may take advantage of a busy open house to steal small items easily concealed in a purse, bag, or pocket.
Reality: Agents Benefit from Open Houses More than Sellers
Many real estate agents push their sellers to have an open house because it’s better for the agent. During the open house, the agent can make valuable contacts and build their network. It’s a chance for the agent to meet-and-greet several prospective buyers who may not be working with an agent.
So really how effective are open houses? The answer often is not very. HomeGo knows this. When you work with HomeGo to sell your house, you don’t have to have an open house. We want to sell your home quickly and without all the extra work.