Open houses are good for more than the obvious! Why go to an open house? There are a ton of great reasons….
The obvious #1 goal of an open house is absolutely for a buyer to see the house, and decide to purchase it. These may be buyers who have a buyers agent, or not. Maybe their agent is busy (holding an other open house somewhere, maybe?) and can’t come. Maybe the buyers agent comes with them. Or maybe the buyer doesn’t have an agent. All of these are OK. Ultimately, if the buyer is looking to purchase a home… we beg you PLEASE COME TO OUR OPEN HOUSES.
Maybe the buyer is not “ready” to buy a home. Perhaps they are new to the area or first time home buyers or whatever. For any number of reasons the buyer may be a self described “tire kicker” and it is OK for tire kickers to come, too. It’s a great way to get to know an area, property values and features. Heck, quite accidentally, you might find “the” house for you. Who knows? So come on out and take a look. And if it’s not the right house, maybe you can quiz the agent, learn more about the market in general and maybe, just maybe, you’ll decide that when you ARE ready, you’d like to work with one of the agents you met at an open house.
No… don’t sneak into your own open house. Go to someone else’s open! Check out the competition. See how your home compares. Be honest – tell the agent there that your home is listed. Ask what they are seeing in the market. If they aren’t too busy, most agents won’t mind chatting. They may share some perspectives with you that will be helpful in making sure you’re making the right decisions about positioning YOUR home for sale. (Be careful, though… if you are listed, other agents can not interfere with the existing relationship. They can certainly tell you that they see homes with wood floors sell for more, or that buyer traffic is down overall, but they can’t give you advice on selling your home. Don’t put them in an uncomfortable position.)
OK, Nosey Neighbors. Stop hiding. We know you’re sneaking in. And it is OK. No need to lie or hide. In fact, we want you there.
First of all, it’s your neighborhood, so you have a vested interest in knowing the values of the homes selling in your neighborhood… and their condition. It will impact the value of your property which can impact your ability to sell or refinance. Also, all owners eventually become sellers… even if you are years out. So learn what agents are seeing in the market, how long it takes to sell a home, what important upgrades are. Get opinions on the styles and types of upgrades that are going to return you the highest value (but keep in mind that market conditions change and therefore the answers to those questions change, too).
And since you DO have a vested interest, here’s an opportunity for you. If you think (know) that green carpet in the living room has got to go, but you haven’t had the heart to tell the seller (who is your friend) face to face… tell the agent. Then the agent can say (honestly) to his client, “Three people came in today and said they really felt like that green carpet was going to have a negative impact on your ability to sell for top dollar.” The best part? The agent won’t say, “Suzy next door was one of them.”
OH, and if lots of neighbors come, and some buyers are there, too…. the buyers think the property is even MORE popular then it is. That’s a good thing for home values overall.
Last but not least… safety and security. Agents are sitting, waiting on strangers who have not pre-registered, to come see a home. We want people to be meandering in and out all day. We don’t really care why. I did do an open house once and a creepy guy came in and freaked me out. A neighbor (who happened to be an agent) popped in to say hi, and I asked him to hang with me for a while. It made me feel MUCH better… and the creepy guy left. I will never know if a problem was averted by that nosey neighbor, but nosey neighbors will ALWAYS be my favorite open house lookers.
So, nosey neighbors, buyers, someday buyers, sellers, and someday sellers… Come one, come all! Come on out to our open houses. We want to meet you!