Is a Public House Really Necessary?

House For Sale by Chris Betcher
  Picture by Chris Betcher

Open houses have long been considered the best and most efficient way to showcase your property and attract potential buyers. Years ago, the only means of letting people know about the new listing was adding it to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) with a few photos and a short description. Because the photographs didn't always give the buyers a clear idea of how the property might look like, conducting an open house seemed to be a much better marketing tool. However, the arrival of computers and Internet made open houses more of an option, rather than a requirement for selling a home. Most real estate agents admit that fewer sales come from open houses every year. However, in certain cases making your home accessible for showing works. If the agent is able to present what is special about your home, it can be the best way to appeal to serious buyers.

There are two types of open houses: an open house designed for agents on tour and a public open house.

The Agents’ Open House

Agents’ open houses are usually held on a weekday, soon after a listing comes out. After the announcement in the MLS bulletin with the date and specific hours, the owner leaves the agent do his job. He plays host and points out special features and answers questions, which makes it easier for other agents to preview your listing and hopefully increases the likelihood of receiving an offer from any agent who was through your home. The more agents view your house, the more potential buyers you will have.

The Public Open House

Saturday or Sunday afternoon – that is the most common time for conducting a public open house. The details (date and time) are usually published in varies advertising media and online. The responsibilities of your listing agent include an early arrival to your house and setting out open house signs on your front lawn or any other visible places.

While the public open house works on the same principle as the agents’ open house, there is one major difference. Attendance is a lot more unpredictable. There could be a lot of visitors, many of whom might be complete strangers to you. However, you might encounter situation where only a small number of people shows interest in your property.

Even though most visitors to open houses rarely buy the property, they often generate some great “word of mouth” advertising for your listing. This method of promotion is one of the most influential forms of advertising. People believe what their friends and neighbors say about your house, and they remember it for a long, long time. If you present your property in the right way, this can work pretty much in your favour.

If you decide to organize an open house viewing, here is one important advice: Put all your valuables out of sight in advance. With many strangers walking through your house, it may be quite difficult for the agent to supervise them all. Also, it is advisable to put away things that can be easily damaged, broken or knocked over.

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