Mortgage 101

What Is an Open House?

Published on: March 4, 2022

open house

When it comes to selling your home quickly, holding an open house is one of the most effective tools around. Simply put, an open house is where you open up your home for a specified period of time to prospective buyers to view the property. The idea is to have as many viewings as possible, to hopefully drum up offers.

Although an open house is a great way to create interest and demand when selling your home, it’s not the best fit for all home sellers. Before making a decision, read on to see how open houses work and whether it’s the best choice for you.

What is an open house?

In a real estate setting an open house  is a specified window of time where a seller opens up their home publicly in order for potential buyers to view the property. The goal is to attract as many homebuyers as possible to encourage offers on the home and sell your home faster. It can give homebuyers an opportunity to view the property on their own, or with their agent, and can provide a way to have more time to assess the property and its surroundings.

How do open houses work?

Open houses are typically arranged by the listing agent, and the homeowner is typically not present to answer any questions. During this time, prospective buyers can walk through the property by themselves or without their real estate agent.

Homebuyers can usually stop by without making an appointment to view the property, unlike scheduled private showings where the real estate agent needs to arrange a time beforehand. In some cases, the home buyer may be asked to leave their contact details, provide their real estate agent information, or some way the listing agent can contact you to follow up.

While an open house in itself won’t sell your home, the benefit is that it could pique buyer interest, helping them to make their decision. Considering many homebuyers want to physically see the home before making a decision, having an open house can increase the chances of someone putting down an offer. It makes sense since buying a home is a major financial decision — wanting to get a look at the property firsthand helps some to see whether they could see themselves living in the home for the long term.

When is the best time to host an open house?

Since the goal of an open house is to attract as many homebuyers as possible, the best time for hosting an open house would be when most homebuyers are free — typically during evenings and weekends. That’s because most homebuyers are at work during the week, and usually prefer to view homes on their off hours.

Ideally, you’ll want the open house to last a few hours, or at a schedule that allows enough time for people to view the property. In any case, the seller needs to be sure they can make arrangements to be away from the house, including any pets that may reside there so buyers can view the property without any distractions.

How to prepare for an open house

Keep in mind preparing for an open house can be a lot of work. You’ll need to make arrangements to be off the property for a few hours and ensure your home looks attractive to potential buyers. For instance, if you have two dogs, you can take them with you or consider paying for them to be a pet care facility during the open house.

Plus, the seller needs to give their listing agent freedom to be in the property, as well as visitors. Doing so can increase the risk of theft — it may be a smart idea to lock up valuables or take them with you if possible to prevent them from being stolen.

Having the listing agent keep a log of who visited the home will also help to keep track of who was on site, in case there are any issues with theft or damage after the open house is over. Have your agent collect information such as the visitor’s full name, and contact information such as their email and phone number.

To make your property as attractive to prospective homebuyers as possible, consider decluttering and ensuring your home is clean. Ideas include putting excess items in a storage facility for the time being, having clean surfaces, and making sure items are neatly put away.

Removing personal touches around the home like family photographs and children’s drawings is usually a smart idea, as it’ll help prospective buyers envision themselves living in the home. Though staging your home —  where a professional comes in to arrange your living space to attract buyers — may not be necessary,  you can consider enlisting the help of one if you believe it’ll help you sell your home faster.

According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2021 Profile of Home Staging, 47% of real estate agents believe that some form of staging is beneficial when selling a home. Even simple actions such as putting a fresh coat of paint, rearranging furniture and opening windows to let as much natural light in can make a huge difference.

Though it may not be necessary, you may want to consider getting a home inspection to determine whether you’ll need to make any repairs before selling.

What is a broker’s open house?

A broker’s open house is intended to show other real estate agents homes that are for sale. In other words, this event is held specifically for agents (not homebuyers) to help them determine whether a property may be one their clients may be interested in viewing.

A broker’s open house is also a great way for agents to expand their network of buyers by meeting other agents. If a buying agent believes the property is of interest to their client, they can work with the listing agent to arrange a private viewing and determine the next steps to negotiate the home sale.

Contact a local Finance of America Mortgage Advisor today to explore your home loan options.

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