To Open House or Not to Open House...

...That is the question.

And this blog will help you make that decision. As a home seller, your decision to allow open houses should not be taken lightly and you need to be involved. It’s not just your agent’s decision.

First, I’ll let you in on a couple of secrets…
- Open houses are typically held by agents to gain more clients. They are trying to identify people that are not already contracted with a licensed agent and are somewhat seriously looking to buy and/or sell a property. 
- People who attend open houses rarely purchase the house.

So if an open house doesn’t directly lead to getting your home sold, why on earth allow your agent to hold a series of open houses? There are some benefits depending on the type of market (seller's, buyer's or somewhere in-between) and your agent’s sales strategy.
- If you’re using a ‘hold offers’ strategy, holding open houses gives agents and their buyer clients an opportunity to see the house when time is of the essence and it might not be possible to book a private showing. Remember, the goal of a 'hold offers' strategy is to create urgency and multiple offers on your property.
- Even if you aren’t using the ‘hold offers’ strategy, open houses get a lot of people through the doors early in the listing, some of whom might be interested enough to ask their agent to book a showing. 
- Agents will sometimes send their buyer clients to see a number of open houses on their own to help them decide what they really want in a house. The feedback to their agent based on these visits helps their agent to be able to present them with a more-focused list of properties to book showings for.

If you do want to hold an open house, here are some things to consider:
- Have the open house staffed by two agents so one can be on the main floor welcoming and registering visitors while
the second agent is stationed on another floor or floating around the home. Why do I say this? I have had people pull open every California shutter in every room on the entire second floor and then leave them open. I have had families allow their kids to run around a large, unfurnished master bedroom with hardwood floors, to the point I had to go upstairs and ask them to stop. I have had people open windows in the middle of winter and leave them open! If there is only one agent and it’s a busy open house, chaos may ensue and high-quality visitors might be missed.
- If you are still residing in the home, make sure that anything with personally identifiable data on it is taken or locked away. In this day and age, identity theft is an issue. Ask any one with large bags or backpacks to leave them at the registration table. When registering visitors, have your agent record names, phone numbers and email addresses so that the information is legible.
- You have to be comfortable with strangers and neighbours having a rather intimate look at your private lifestyle; opening cupboards, closets, medicine cabinets, drawers…
- Speaking of neighbours, you might want to warn them. With a busy open house, people and cars will create a lot of traffic which leads to parking issues (but then again, hopefully they won’t be your neighbours much longer!)
- Have your agent review the results of the open house with you after its completion and make sure they follow-up with everyone that registered.

If you're not sure about opening your doors, consider a virtual open house.