Open houses don’t sell homes

There is a popular misconception out there that open houses are a good way to sell a house, and that a listing broker who’s doing his or her job should be having an open house. In actuality they are not a good idea. In fact they can even be counter-productive, making it harder to sell the house or leading to lower offers.

The problem

You would think that having lots of prospective buyers stop by would be a good thing. Unfortunately, just like in the above cartoon, many of the people who show up at open houses are your neighbors or just curious people who are thinking about buying but aren’t ready yet.  This is a problem because they are not buyers, they are just curious. Worse, they may say something that scares off potential buyers who are there. Oftentimes, they are talking about something that might not be true or happened so long ago it is not a concern any more (like a rumor in the neighborhood that something is wrong with the house).  In short you have no control over what they say, and that could hurt the sale.

What really matters: A perfect listing

How a listing is launched makes the most difference, and is what gets the attention of buyers. It is critical that all needed work be completed BEFORE listing the house (painting, repairs, upgrades, staging, etc.). Careful wording in the listing and making sure that all the information in the MLS listing is 100% accurate are a must.

Then there are the photos of the property.  They need to be well-lit, carefully composed, presented in a logical order, and show both the interior and exterior of the house.  Bad photos, or a poorly written description may cause buyers to pass over your house even if it is perfect for them. Also, professional staging (furnishings) can be a very powerful sales tool.  Often staging helps a house sell faster and for more money. Some houses benefit more from staging than others. The average buyer doesn’t usually have the ability to visualize how a room will look with furnishings in it.  They may incorrectly think that an empty room is too small for a king size bed. Or they may not be able to picture how a narrow living room could work with the right size and type of furniture.

Of course, getting the initial listing price right is important because getting it wrong will cost you in the end. You need to accurately evaluate the fair market price of the home and list accordingly.  The timing of the listing also matters. The simplest piece of advice here is don’t list a home between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  Spring is a much better time to list a home and can make a huge difference in the sale price.

Help is available

If you need help or advice about getting everything in order before listing, pricing the house right, and getting it on the market at the right time of year, we can offer years of experience in real estate at every stage of selling, buying, renting or investing in properties.