OPEN HOUSED: Definition & How It Works

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It’s simple to look at properties for sale online, but going to an open house is the best way to get the entire picture.

Open houses are one of the most tried and true real estate marketing strategies. The long-standing custom started in the 1910s as a reward for signing an “exclusive contract” to sell a home. Attending an open house is crucial for the average buyer in the early stages of the home buying process.

They are regarded as an important opportunity to make certain selections concerning your future residence. Continue reading to learn more about open houses, including what they are and how they work.

What Is an Open House?

An open house is a time when a house or other dwelling is designated to be accessible for viewing by potential purchasers in the real estate industry. When a broker organizes an open house, the owners or renters usually abandon the property.

The word “open house” can also apply to the actual real estate property; in any instance, it refers to homes that are for sale by the owner. They’re frequently held to promote a freshly created neighborhood.

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What Is A Broker’s Open House?

Investopedia defines a broker’s open house as a showing of a property for sale targeted to other real estate agents.

“Broker open houses are only advertised to the brokerage community, and they can be very useful in informing buyers’ agents about your offering.” “Because many agents sell what they know, it’s beneficial for them to keep your property in mind when working with clients,” Postilio says.

If you don’t want every home buyer in the neighborhood to come to your open house, have one solely for buyer’s agents and brokers organized by your listing agency.

Remember that most transactions involve two brokers—one representing the seller and the other representing the buyer—so this type of private open house is an excellent time for the seller’s agent to explain why the buyer’s agent should market your property to her customers. To tango, you need two people!

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How Does An Open House Work?

Buying and selling a home is an example of a somewhat illiquid market with various products in the real estate industry. Even if they are in the same area or even on the same street, each house will be distinct. During an open house, the seller or seller’s agent allows interested purchasers to enter the property and walk through it at their leisure or with the assistance of a realtor.

The purpose of an open house is to pique the curiosity of potential buyers. Instead of a shorter one-on-one visit with a broker, open houses allow interested buyers to take their time looking at the house and surrounding acreage.

Many open houses take place on weekends, especially Sundays, and brokers advertise with banners and other pomp. Owners maintain their homes clean and arranged during an open house period in order to attract potential purchasers. At these parties, some owners or agencies also serve coffee, cocktails, or hors d’oeuvres.

Who Hosts An Open House?

An open house could be hosted by any of the following people:

  • Listing agent: The listing agent, like the one employed to sell the home, should be an authority on the property.
  • Listing agent’s team member or associate: A busy listing agent may also send someone from their team or another agent from their business to fill in for them. They should be local market experts, but may not be as familiar with the specific home.
  • Homeowner: When a home is listed for sale by the owner (FSBO), the seller will conduct their own open house. They are unquestionably home experts, but their knowledge of the local market may be restricted.

Are There Advantages Of An Open House?

An open house event can assist you in selling your home in a variety of ways. Let’s look at it more closely.

1. Aids in raising awareness among the general public as well as agents

Open houses, which are frequently advertised both online and offline (for example, through internet commercials, roadside billboards, and posted flyers), help to raise awareness of your property’s availability by boosting the number of people who see it. They also give your listing agent an excuse to go out to other real estate agents in the hopes of finding a buyer for your house.

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2. Steady footfall

An open house may also help you attract more visitors as a seller. The higher the volume of foot traffic that goes through your house, the better your chances of finding a buyer or, at the very least, organizing a future follow-up showing with more serious purchasers.

3. Enjoy a stress-free viewing experience

Homebuyers frequently want to tour homes to get a sense of what it might be like to live in them. Rather than relying solely on photographs and agents to transmit information, being in the location itself may assist potential buyers to get a better sense of the house in person.

4. No need to make an appointment in advance

You don’t need to make an appointment for an open house, and you might be able to tour several empty houses in one day. In a traditional showing, you and your agent must set a time, and the house must be available at that time; this can be a lengthy and difficult process. You can stroll straight in during an open house viewing.

5. Casual setting

Open houses provide agents with a less formal setting in which to meet potential customers and other real estate professionals. Additionally, buyers’ representatives frequently meet and exchange contact information as a result of these encounters. Because an open house sign can be driven by and then stopped at any time, some potential buyers may attend the event without the assistance of an agent.

Disadvantages Of An Open House

1. Weekend rushes might detract from the viewing experience

For buyers, visiting multiple homes can be stressful and confusing. It’s difficult to picture living in a house with so many people in it. Also, if a buyer comes to see your home after visiting several other open houses on the same day, they may be tired and unwilling to give it their entire attention.

2. Not everyone will be interested in buying

Because anybody can attend an open house, some attendees may not be serious buyers. Anyone from your neighbors to a potential buyer could knock on your door looking for inspiration for their home improvement projects.

3. A little straining for sellers

Consider whether the effort is worthwhile before planning an open house. You must not only prepare, declutter, and stage your home, but you must also make arrangements for your family and pets to leave during the event.

4. Theft & safety

An open house welcomes strangers into your home, which raises concerns about theft and security. A thief can arrange a break-in or steal unsecured items from your home if you have an open house. Remove any valuables beforehand, keeping this in mind.

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How To Promote An Open House Successfully

Now that you understand what an open house is, learn about different marketing methods that might help you attract potential buyers to your home.

1. Make your listing more appealing

It’s critical to keep your open house listing updated so that it’s towards the top of the newest show on listing services, in addition to keeping buyers and the real estate market in your area up to date. If possible, seek advice from a real estate specialist to determine how your house should be presented to compete with other properties on the market.

After signing a listing agreement, you may need to make repairs, arrange your home, or come up with inventive ways to sell the property quickly.

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2. Display versatile signs

Organizing an open house entails placing a sign in front of the property announcing it, as you are surely aware. There are a few more signs that you’ll need to make. To begin, don’t underestimate the value of posting fliers and pamphlets in public places where locals meet, such as coffee shops.

You can boost your chances of meeting potential consumers by taking advantage of the enormous volume of people passing by these sites. On the day of the event, don’t forget to set up directional signage. Visitors who are unfamiliar with the area may benefit from the added signs.

3. Create a Facebook ad with a specific audience in mind

When it comes to getting your real estate listing in front of a specific group of buyers and sellers, Facebook advertisements are hard to match. You may utilize audience insights to target leads as one strategy.

You can also use a keyword or phrase to limit your search to those who are only interested in certain pages, such as real estate listing websites.

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4. Use Instagram’s geotagging feature

To make your open house stand out, utilize geotagging in a post or Instagram Story. If you geotag your open house with the name of a specific neighborhood or a local landmark, such as a school or park, more people in the region will see it.

The gallery option on Instagram allows you to display a large number of photos from your listing, while the description tool allows you to add more information about the open house to your post.

5. Make it a memorable walkthrough

On any given weekend, your open house will be competing with several others, so make it stand out. For example, you might make the most of the space by hosting an event and marketing it in line with a specific theme or holiday.

A vendor may benefit from displaying unique ideas that demonstrate all of the different applications for a certain region.

How To Attend An Open House

Here’s what you should do once the day arrives, now that you’ve done your research and is ready to add some open houses to your home hunt.

1. Ask questions

Don’t be bashful about asking the listing agent (or their associate) your questions during an open house. Ask questions you wouldn’t be able to answer by reading the listing description alone, such as:

  • What are the HOA rules and regulations?
  • Is there any evidence that the seller has filed a property tax appeal?
  • Have there been any renovations or repairs recently?

2. Be honest

If the open house is hosted by someone other than the listed agent or the homeowner, it’s most likely an agency looking for possible buyer clients. Be honest if you’re already dealing with an agency (or if you have no intention of buying).

3. Check for damage and disrepair

Professionally photographed or altered photographs can make a home appear much more appealing online than it is in person. Take advantage of an open house to examine a home’s condition and make note of any potential flaws that could affect your offer price.

You can do the following:

  • Assess the windows: Check for flaking paint, sash misalignment, and moisture from air leaks. These could be symptoms that your windows need to be replaced.
  • Check for water damage: Look for warped baseboards, stains on the ceiling, and musty odors.
  • Make note of cracks: Cracks in the ceiling or drywall may signal a foundation problem.
  • Test functions: Cabinets, doors, and drawers should all be opened. Run the faucets. Make sure the water pressure is adequate. An open house is an excellent time to double-check that everything in the house is in functioning order.
  • Gauge potential renovation needs: Home upgrades can add up quickly. Keep an eye out for urgent renovation needs such as floors, fixtures, or significant repainting projects as you stroll around a home.

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An open house can help you reach out to more potential buyers while also allowing your home to shine. Furthermore, if you’re concerned about others entering your house, you can do one virtually right now. An open house serves a crucial role in real estate in any situation: it helps get more potential buyers through your door.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Find an Open House?

Online real estate marketplaces, social media, and just calling local agents and inquiring about forthcoming open houses in your region are all good ways to look for listings.

Can Anyone Go to an Open House?

Open houses are a great method for potential buyers to examine new homes on the market, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Should You Go to an Open House Before Making an Offer?

Although you are not required to attend an open house before making an offer, it is often a good idea to view a home in person before making a decision. During the 2020 economic crisis, however, many brokers sold properties to eager purchasers entirely only on images and information found on web listings.

What Should You Serve at an Open House?

You don’t have to serve refreshments at an open house, but offering potential buyers coffee, tea, water, and cookies might be a lovely touch. You may serve mocktails or cocktails with hors d’oeuvres during an evening event or a specialty open house.


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