Chances are you’ve been seeing more for sale signs in your neighbourhood lately. Have you been noticing more ads for open houses too?
Open houses are back, it seems. We spoke to REALTOR® Christine Lovatt to find out if open houses are indeed a good tool to help sell homes, if they’re effective and if so, when is the best time to hold one.
“An open house is a good idea when the house first hits the market. It is a good time to get many people through in one controlled time period,” says the agent.
If the house happens to be in an area where the builder is still selling new homes, you can often get this clientele coming to your open house as well and possibly falling in love and deciding to buy a resale home instead.
If the home is in the country, you’ll likely get fewer people coming through overall, but you may get that one serious buyer who has travelled to come and see it.
“The most important thing about an open house is that the agent knows all about the home and its community, past sales and the schools in the area. Prepared agents can make people comfortable to fall in love!” says Lovatt.
Normally Lovatt would be doing an open house (or two) every single weekend, Saturday and Sunday anywhere from noon to four. “Since Covid, we stopped doing them and we still sold homes, so I question whether they are necessary or not,” she says.
Sellers are the ones who decide whether or not they want to hold an open house. Some people only want agents with qualified buyers coming to their homes through a pre-booked appointment. Others believe an open house gives you the chance for different people to come. Lovatt leaves the decision up to her clients and whatever they are most comfortable with.
If you do decide to have an open house, your home must be absolutely “show ready”, just as if you were preparing to have photos taken. One of the advantages to having an open house over just a series of photos, however, is that you can entice potential buyers’ other senses too—through lightly scented candles or fresh baked treats. Fresh flowers also add a lovely touch.
Clearly open houses do work; Lovatt herself is a case in point. Says the agent, “I have personally bought two homes after seeing them at an open house and I was not even looking to move but did fall in love!”