Saturday, October 01, 2005

Open Houses: Are They Worth It?

Many home sellers who wish to expose their property to a larger market make the decision to hold an open house, and schedule a date and time during which they invite people to come and explore the property. Is it worthwhile for potential sellers to go through the hassle of an open house? Is it more risk than reward?

Of course, plenty of homes are sold through private showings, scheduled only between the home owner, the realtor, and the buyer. But the publicity of a well-advertised open house can bring in a larger sphere of interested people who might not have been exposed to the property otherwise.

Many people in the market to buy a home can't leave work or family to go house-hunting during the week; it can be difficult to find a time that works for both the buyer and the owner. Open houses make this simple. They are usually held on weekends, and all parties have plenty of advance notice. Not to mention the fact that a buyer at a well-prepared open house sees a much more pleasing display than one who is led through the house at 9:30 on a Monday morning.

However, all of this can come at a price. The number one concern among home sellers regarding open houses is security, for their possessions as well as their property. A seller who is already packing up to move might be very amenable to the idea of an open walkthrough, but one who is still living in the home would have quite a lot of preparation ahead. Things can, and do, get broken or stolen at open houses. It takes a great deal of time to organize a household's worth of belongings in such a way that several strangers poking through the house at once, trying to see how big the closets are, will not disturb them.

There is another security factor. Home owners are often just plain bothered by the idea of people seeing what they own and getting a chance to essentially case the joint. This is another reason why, if the owner is unable to store their property elsewhere during the open house, it may not be worth the risk.

Those who feel that an open house would be a good move in their market simply need to act smart. Request the help of your realtor, friends, and family, and pack away belongings. Provide adequate supervision in every room during the open house. If you would rather organize the open house into a series of guided tours, with one starting every fifteen minutes, this is a possibility (although you might lose one or two buyers who would prefer to wander free).

Basically, if your house doesn't have a lot of curb appeal and is short on offers, it might be worth your time to let potential buyers get a free peek inside. It can be a secure and helpful step in the selling process, provided you take the time to prepare for it.

Dobler Consulting Inc
2339 Warwick Dr
FL 34677
United States

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