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Hosting Open Houses for your listings has long been an area for debate. Are they a complete waste of time? Do they only benefit the agents? 

There are plenty of agents who tell their sellers not to have an open house. If people want to see it, they will need to schedule a showing.

Preparation is Key

Showing up the day of an open house, putting out a sign, and hoping people stop in isn’t a smart plan.  This article on Inman explains that open houses are most beneficial when the agent is fully prepared. 

Mega open houses can require weeks, or sometimes months, of work. It takes time to connect with vendors and plan any big event. A month before the mega-open house, start sharing the date and time. Use every platform you utilize – social media, newsletters, phone calls, door-knocking, emails – to spread the word every day leading up to the open house. Invite neighbors, realtors, and potential buyers. With the right preparation, a mega-house can draw in hundreds of people. 

For a more standard weekend open house, there will not be as many people coming in and out of the house, nor will there be as many vendors or details to organize. But preparation is still essential. In the week leading up to the open house, use all the same platforms to spread the word and invite people. 

What if no one shows up?

You know that as an agent, there is value in having face-to-face conversations with people in your market. For some agents, that is the only reason they hold open houses. Even if no one shows up to an open house, an open house is not a waste of time. 

Generally, open houses are between two and three hours long. That is two to three hours blocked off to work on your business. If people are coming in and out of the house, and you use that time to develop rapport and have conversations – great. And if no one shows up – it’s still an excellent opportunity. 

There is an endless list of tasks you can complete from your phone or tablet during your time at an open house. If no one comes in, you can shoot promotional videos, follow up with leads, make phone calls, send emails, or work on social content, to name a few. As an agent, there are always more tasks to complete. Any time you can set aside a chunk of time to work on your business is time well spent. 

That’s great for agents, but what about the sellers?

Of course, I look at things from the perspective of an agent; definitely not a waste of time for the agent. The debate about open houses is usually centered around the question: is it a waste of time for the seller? 

I don’t believe it is.

Now, if you look at how often a house is sold at an open house, it’s less than 2%. So, I understand the hesitation. But you are going to get more eyeballs on the property through the promotion and marketing campaigns. 

If you are doing the preparation work, then you are promoting the property in a different way than you would for a new listing or featured property. An open house is something that brings value to potential buyers (or even people who are just starting to consider buying a house). There is a date, time, and location where potential buyers can come and freely see this house without having to bring an agent.

Any time you can promote and advertise and market value to the consumer it’s a win.

And if people don’t come to the open house, that doesn’t mean the preparation was a waste of time. A potential buyer could see the open house marketing, send it to their agent, and then schedule a showing.

Bottom line, you don’t know what is going to happen when you promote a different story than the one you’ve been telling through the listing.