The Internet Kills the Open House
Thanks to the Internet, the days of driving around from one open house to the next are over. Buyers do most of their research online, narrowing down their options before they even contact a real estate agent. There are a ton of websites and mobile apps that give buyers a plethora of homes to search through. They can even be alerted when new homes go on the market, or if a house they are eyeing has a change in price or goes into contract. Many of today’s buyers end up hiring a broker, getting access to the home on their schedule rather than during an open house. As a result, open houses have become a less powerful selling tool.
It Costs You Extra Money
Time is money and the longer it takes to sell your home the more costs you will incur, including the cost to host open houses. There’s candles, cakes and drinks for starters. Those little things may not seem like a lot but it can quickly add up. The air conditioning or heat may have to be on longer which means a higher utility bill. Let’s also not forget the time and cost of keeping your house in show-ready condition. Not to mention getting the kids and the pets out of the house and the stress related to the entire affair. The amount of time and money it costs to prepare for and host an open house has to be weighed against the expected outcome. If it’s only a handful of buyers that will be coming through your house, it may not be the wisest choice.
Real Estate Agents Benefit More
Open houses are supposed to draw buyers but often all they do is bring your real estate agent new clients. That’s because unrepresented buyers often go to open houses, which means potential new business for your agent. And even if they don’t like your home, they may like the other homes your agent is talking about during your open house. That creates an awkward and questionable situation which may sour your relationship with a broker.
Curious Neighbors May Be Your Only Visitors
Let’s face it, opening your home to strangers over the weekend can be a big hassle, even if you have been advised that it would be in your best interest. You grudgingly agree to the open house, rework your entire weekend or weekends only to find it’s only curious neighbors checking out your home. Lots of people who aren’t in the market go to open houses out of curiosity or to get ideas for their homes. And while it may be a fun way to pass the time, for you it’s a big waste of time. It’s also important to remember that serious buyers don’t have to wait for an open house as they can contact your agent directly to get a showing.
One of the risks of an open house is that your belongings may get stolen. It may not happen all the time, but even one incident is enough to spook sellers and rightfully so. Since anyone can go to an open house, it’s not impossible for thieves to attend one in hopes of stealing cash, jewelry, electronics or prescription drugs. They can also use it as a way to scope out the residence for a future break in. While there isn’t any hard data on the number of thefts that occur during open houses, some police departments around the country have issued warnings to homeowners and real estate agents about the risk of being robbed.