An open house is pretty self-explanatory. The home seller picks a time and date that is both convenient to them, and that they think would see the most number of viewers, and opens their home to any and all interested viewers.
Sellers usually stage their homes and vacate the premises for a few hours to let their agent run the show. The agent plays host and shows the property to multiple buyers at the same time, or back-to-back viewings. (Read here on why we think scheduling all your viewings in one day can drive the demand for your home and possibly get you offers higher than your flat valuation.)
It may get crazy during an open house, so we’ve made a list of pros and cons to help you weigh if this is the route you want to take when selling your home.
Here are the pros of hosting an Open House
#1: High foot & digital traffic
Traffic is essential to an open house. And you don’t just want the foot traffic, but also the online traffic that comes with it. So let your viewers take all those pictures and videos for their Facebook and Instagram stories and TikToks, especially if you’ve already spent a good amount of time and effort staging your home. (Here are 5 home-staging tips that will drive a bidding war for your home.)
If you hire a property agent, he or she is also supposed to ensure as many people as possible know your home is on the market.
Here, you can take a leaf out of the book of new launch condo developers who generate as much buzz online as they can before launch, hoping to have snaking queues of interested buyers at the showflat on the launch date. Your agent should have a strong marketing plan in place to draw foot traffic to your home for the open house.
High traffic not only makes your home look “in demand” to all buyers present, it could also attract the attention of buyers of other units in the block, or the viewers of buyers who come for the open house and post content about the unit. The increased exposure and foot traffic may improve your chances of selling your home at a higher price.
#2: Low pressure
An open house allows buyers to view a home without pressure. While you or your agent hosting the open house should be ready to answer any questions, open house viewings are typically more of a guided tour for all interested buyers, sans the feeling of being “sold” something.
Open houses also allow buyers who are in the early stages of the home-buying process to view your home without the pressure of a private showing where you or your agent may try to close them when they are not ready. These “browsers” may come back with an offer, as the low-pressure environment encourages them to view in the first place — something they may not do in the case of a private viewing.
#3: High competition
If your open house garners high traffic, serious buyers who attend will know their offer has to be competitive. Successful open houses show buyers how many other “competitors” they may need to beat, whereas in private viewings, buyers do not feel the same pressure to make higher offers. A good open house not only encourages buyers to offer high, it also puts heat on buyers to be decisive and make a quick offer so they don’t lose out on a house they really want.
Timing an open house is also crucial to its success; weekends generally work better than weekdays, and holding an open house not more than a week after the house is listed is imperative, since buyers will see that the listing is still “fresh”, versus one that has been languishing on the listing page for more than a month.
An open house consolidates as many buyer viewings as possible in a single day, saving you time and the hassle of repeatedly having to open (and maybe leave) your home for private viewings. You will also be spared the hassle of having to do multiple clean-ups or staging so your home is presentable for each viewing.
Here are the cons of hosting an Open House
#1: Unqualified buyers
With an open house, just about anyone is welcome to walk through that door. This means you are going to get at least a few unqualified buyers who are:
a) merely browsing
b) live in the neighbourhood and want to compare your house to theirs to get a gauge of how well theirs would sell
c) simply curious people who want to poke around a private space
d) buyers who are serious but who haven’t properly done their financial calculations or who don’t have the right criteria to buy your house
While you or your agent can attempt to pre-screen all visitors before letting them in through the door, you may not be able to filter all the duds out from actual buyers.
#2: Security threat
Allowing almost anyone to walk through your door during an open house also makes your home vulnerable to theft and vandalism. On a more alarming note, ill-intentioned individuals may use it as the opportunity to canvas your home for valuables and weaknesses in security so they know how best to break in, so always make sure your valuables are stored away during an open house. You don’t have to stage your home luxuriously; simple yet tasteful furnishings will help buyers visualise how they can live in the home much better than in an elaborately furnished space.
#3: Too many people, too little time
An open house may receive overwhelming interest such that you and your agent cannot manage the crowd effectively, cope with all the questions, or break off to spend more time on buyers that appear more serious. In this case, it is good to make a contingency plan to quickly assess the crowd, filter out the potential serious buyers, and have your agent take them aside to try to close the deal.
Toying with the idea of an open house?
Did you know Ohmyhome has an app with an Open House feature? This makes it easier for you to schedule Open Houses so you can attract more traffic to your listing. It helps you save time connecting with buyers or tenants instead of arranging multiple viewings too! Add your listing on Ohmyhome and schedule your first open house now — download the app here.
You can also leave your home staging to the pros! Ohmyhome Super Agents are trained by our in-house professional photographers to take the best listing for your home. With that training comes the knowledge of how to stage your home right — they’ll be able to guide you on the steps you need to take to make your home look as beautiful as it can be online, whether it’s decluttering or adding a fresh coat of paint to your walls.
Speak to any of our Super Agents via our Whatsapp here or chat with us at our Live Chat, which you can find at the bottom-right corner of the screen.