Open House, The Benefits and Drawbacks Of Having One

Open House, The Benefits and Drawbacks Of Having One

Having an Open House is a long-standing tradition when it comes to selling real estate. The goal of an open house is to expose more people to a home for sale than otherwise would be. By advertising the open house, the hope is to bring more people in. But does an open house really work?
Open House
Most real estate agents should take the time to explain the pros and cons of having an open house to their client. But not having an open house can take away from an agent’s personal gain, as well, (aka generating leads), so you want to make sure you know what is at stake with an open house, beforehand. Let’s take some time to look at the benefits and drawbacks of having an open house and if it is right for you.


1. You Choose The Timing

Unlike home showings, which can pop up at the last second, an open house is scheduled well in advance. Holding an open house has the potential to put your home on the map and allow many people to see your home when you have the time and input to stage it exactly how you want it. You set the scene! You’ll have ample time to prepare for the event and you’ll get many prospective buyers in the door all at once. It can make deep cleaning easier and you know things will be spotless when people are walking through your home.

2. Attracts Inexperienced Buyers

Many don’t know how to start searching for a home, so heading to a few open houses is a great way for them to get their feet wet before really committing to anything. It helps them to keep your home in the back of their head as they look at other homes, because they will use it for a reference point for what they liked and didn’t like. It could be easy to sell them on the points of your home, as they don’t have much to compare it to yet!

3. Buyers Don’t Feel Pressured

People are generally more relaxed when they head into an open house. They know they aren’t going to be put on the spot with decisions and the focus won’t be entirely on them, since others will be at the open house, as well. It can help them to really explore things and make a more positive connection with your home, as well, without being rushed!
Open House

4. Actual Browsing

Let’s face it. People search for homes on the internet these days, where there are limitless photographs and videos showing homes all over the country. But, there is nothing like walking into a home and seeing how the space feels to you first-hand. Pictures can be tweaked and videos can only be so long and may have missed the incredible garden you have, so having people in your home physically is a much better way to sell them on it.

5. Open To All

Your open house will bring in potential buyers who may have been too lazy to actually book a showing. It can draw in visitors more than just a simple listing on the internet may have, as well. With advertising and signage in your neighborhood, it will catch the eye of both the casual and serious potential buyers in advance. It may also attract brokers who want to team up on the sale and can offer advice on ways to assist a home seller faster.

6. Additional Exposure

An open house can give additional exposure to your listing through promotional advertising, internet ads and street signs. Without maximum exposure and a strong marketing system, the chances of selling a home are greatly reduced. Every little bit could potentially help!

7. Feedback

Regardless if it’s good or bad, an open house is a great way to hone in on feedback from multiple sources that your property is getting. While some of it may sting, it’s much better to learn about any potential problems this way before a sale falls through because of an inspection issue. Also, remember that some comments will be valid, while others will be random and unhelpful. Take the good with the bad and remember that you can’t please everyone!

Open House


1. Security Issues

This is one of the biggest drawbacks to having an open house. There is the potential for theft when you let strangers in off the street to walk around your home for an undisclosed amount of time. If your open house isn’t busy, the real estate agent can spend time keeping an eye on things, but when you have multiple people in your home at once, it can be difficult to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be.
A majority of people are there for the right reasons and are there to learn more about it and take a peek. But there are people who may be coming in to look for access points, security weaknesses and valuables.

2. Theft

This ties in with our first drawback, but it deserves it’s own point. There have been many documented cases of people breaking into homes for sale to steal things. With an open house, though, the risk is even greater. Burglars can walk right in, see what they want to take and how they can get it out, and than they take it. Unfortunately, this happens all over the country and can be an open invitation to make theft in your home more possible.
If you do have an open house, make sure to remove all valuable items before the event. This can include prescription drugs and other items, as well! Also talk to your realtor about their procedures during an open house. Do they take precautionary steps? Make sure you understand that theft can happen and no realtor is going to take responsibility for things that go missing during an open house.

3. Unqualified Prospects

Let’s face it. Many of us have driven through a gorgeous neighborhood that we know is a little out of our price range. But than we see the Open House sign and ponder… “why not?!” Or, you may see a cute house that you’ve always loved and just want to see how they decorate it inside. While there is no problem with this and there certainly isn’t anything illegal about it, you have no intention of buying the house, thus wasting the agent’s and the seller’s time. This happens all over, so know that many who may be walking through your open house, may be doing the exact same thing.

4. Nosy Neighbors

Finally! It’s the one time when EVERY neighbor can come and check out your house to see how you live! They’ve been curious for quite a while and now they are going to come over in droves. The problem? You’re not really interested in them wandering around your house just for the heck of it. Unfortunately, it is what it is, though, and there is no real way to stop them. When you have an open house, always expect the busy bees to stop through, then start discussing it with the rest of the neighborhood on what they loved and what they can’t believe you’ve lived with for so long!
Open House

5. Seller Competition

Others in your area who may be trying to sell a similar home may pop in to see what the differences are between your home and theirs. These visitors do no good for your chances of selling, but it makes sense to check out the competition! They may see things that you are doing great and take it back to their own home, or may reevaluate their listing price based on yours.

6. Agent Motives

Many people who are walking through your open house may be unattached to a specific real estate agent. That makes this the perfect time for your agent to establish a relationship with this buyer and turn them into one of their own. Make sure you talk with your agent about their intentions, because you want to make sure you’re not hosting an open house only so they can pick up additional buyer’s instead of selling your home! It’s the perfect place for the agent to build rapport with people. You can avoid this type of behavior by choosing a real estate agent that is perfectly matched for you.

7. Rarely Results In A Sale

This may be the biggest reason why an agent will talk a homeowner out of having an open house. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that homes rarely sell specifically as a result of an open house. According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of homes sold due to an open house is shockingly low. Only 2%! That is not very promising.
It’s much better to have private showings, where many of the interested parties would have already been financially vetted and clearly interested in seeing your home for one specific purpose – to buy it!
Ultimately, it’s the seller’s decision when it comes to scheduling an open house. While they are not required, this list of benefits and drawbacks to having an open house will make you aware of the positives and negatives that may occur. Today’s home buyer is much more technologically savvy. They can do most of their research online and look at virtual tours before visiting a select number of houses they truly are interested in.
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About the Author

David Haug is a Madison WI real estate agent. He is passionate about helping clients, customers, and friends succeed in residential real estate. He is also a raging Badger fan. #OnWisconsin Baby! Connect with David on LinkedIn: