The Impact of Open Houses.

For much of my career, open houses have been the go-to marketing tool for real estate agents who were wanting to get as many potential buyers through a home as possible. But now that sellers are relying more and more on the internet and technology to show their homes, how effective are open houses today? And by today, I mean in 2024!

According to the National Association of Realtors, only three percent of homebuyers visit open houses. Unless your home is in a high-traffic area, the numbers don’t appear to be in favor of the home seller. As signs can be the primary driver of traffic, agents are not always seeing members of the buying public, but rather they are bumping into members of the general public.

Current studies show that Gen Xer’s and millennials are the largest generation buying homes today. They’ve grown up to be tech wizards and as homebuyers, they’re doing things differently. It’s all about the internet.

How the Internet Has Changed Home Buying.

The Pew Research Center reports that 90% of Americans use the internet. In addition, about75% of that population owns a laptop or desktop computer, and more than 85% of all Americans use a smartphone.

Let’s face it, we are plugged in and that has changed how consumers research everything, particularly how they consume info on real estate. Most buyers begin their research for a new home on the internet.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), more than 50-percent of buyers now find their home online. They can search for neighborhoods, school districts, proximity to parks, shopping, and major routes. Doing this online instead of driving around saves time and money.

With the internet, buyers have:

  • access to hundreds of real estate websites

  • interior/exterior pictures along with virtual tours

  • research access for homes in cities/states far away

Potential Issues Sellers Have When Planning an Open House.

Open houses can be a major headache for the seller. The home needs to be spotless, you need to be long gone, and your personal items should be stowed away before a home is shown to potential buyers. Even if you make it through that, trying to pick the best day for open house festivities, there can be additional factors to consider.

You can’t be there during the open house, so you need to pick a time when you can be gone for several hours. The open house date and time also needs to be when prospective buyers will be most likely to come out and see the home. This can be difficult to predict without knowing each buyer’s work and personal schedule. Oh, and then there is the weather! If your home does not sell quickly, this could mean months of having your life placed on hold while you allow folks who may or may not even be buyers to tour the property.

Open house issues can also include but are not limited to:

  • Extra expenses:  Staging  extras that may include new decor, drinks, and food

  • Need to find accommodations for family pets

  • Need to find someplace for you and your family to go during the long open house

  • Stress and time spent cleaning and making the home “perfect” for prospective buyers

Common Open House Problem: The Visitors.

The primary goal of the open house is to have as many prospective buyers tour the home. Real estate agents may tell sellers open houses usually generate at least one or two offers.

However, it’s more common to have no offers after an open house. The visitors are at the open house for other reasons and are most often not even in the market to buy..

  • Neighbors come out because often they’re curious about your home and the market. “Are they really asking that much?”

  • Some folks just love to go to Open Houses! Would it surprise you to know that there is an “Open House crowd” that is just fascinated by looking at other people’s homes?

  • Displaced Sellers who have their own home on are “checking out the competition”!

  • Many attendees simply saw the sign and are literally killing time!

Not all visitors to the open house may be there for honest reasons. Thieves have been known to attend open houses, posing as prospective buyers. They may do this to check out the house, your belongings, and the home’s security.

This can make it easier to plan a burglary. Some thieves have even taken advantage of a busy open house to steal small items easily concealed in a purse, bag, or pocket.

Reality: Agents Benefit from Open Houses More than Sellers

Many real estate agents push their sellers to have an open house because it’s better for the agent. During the open house, the agent can make valuable contacts and build their network. It’s a chance for the agent to meet-and-greet prospective buyers and sellers who may not be working with an agent. When I was brand new in real estate, Open houses were done to meet members of the public! I could even take advantage of my office’s policy where they paid for open house ads, put my name and photo in the Sunday paper and helped to launch my face in front of folks every Sunday. I can honestly say though, I never sold a home at an open house.

So really how effective are open houses? The answer often is not very. At Ahmann Brothers Real Estate, we knows this. When you work with us to sell your house, you don’t have to have an open house. We want to sell your home quickly and without all the extra work.

How does Ahmann Brothers differ? By acknowledging that its a different time and place.

We focus on how real estate buyers actually consume real estate information! We use the best photographers, tons of photos and present your home online in its best possible light. Then, with the syndication tools we utilize, your home is pushed out to dozens of websites along with its own unique website. Additionally, we utilize social media to push your home in front of hundreds of local consumers as well as real estate agents. Lastly, we email blast info on your property – not just to potential buyers we might know, but more importantly we are able to deliver listing info through portals that other agents utilize to communicate listing info to their perspective buyers!

Wow! Why do we do all of this? To enhance the buying experience for consumers and to protect the equity of out Seller clients! Is it time for an Open House? Probably not.