Open Houses in a Pandemic - Yes or No?

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Real Estate


If you’re thinking of selling your home soon, “showings” is an important part of the logistical discussion.  While Covid-19 vaccinations are being rolled out, it’s going to be a while before our nation has herd immunity, and there is still no conclusive evidence as to whether or not a vaccinated person can still carry and pass along the virus.  So… let’s talk about open houses.  

First, open houses have been a staple of Realtor marketing plans for decades.

Why? Because they bring a lot of people into the house at one time.  Also, not that this helps the seller in any way, but open houses give the hosting agent a chance to meet up with more real estate customers.  Even if those “lookers” are in the infancy stages of their home buying journey, just getting their feet wet, the open house is as much a prospecting tool for the hosting agent as it is a marketing tool for the house for sale. So, Realtors like them. 

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t an open house benefit to the home seller.  When you’ve got a well-attended open house happening, and Carol and Mary see that Jessica and Greg are also getting super excited about the house, then that synergy can result in great offers.  But let’s be real about today’s market; ‘bidding wars’ are common.  In just about every market in MetroWest, any home that is priced right and shows well is pretty much guaranteed an overwhelming response.  So… you certainly don’t need to have an open house to create interest. 

Second, let’s look at who visits open houses. 

You’ll have those afore-mentioned “lookers”, infants in the life of their home buying journey, and they may not be anywhere near qualified to buy your home. Your neighbors will certainly be curious.  During this semi “lockdown”, restless folk with cabin fever are looking for weekend entertainment  - or are looking for ideas for their own home improvement projects.  Some homeowners go to open houses when they are thinking about putting their own house on the market, to get a handle on their own home’s value and marketability.  And thus open houses recently have been SWAMPED.  Long lines of cars, long lines of people, many of whom are neither interested in nor qualified to buy the house they’re looking at.

So…  what’s your goal when selling your house?  Do you want to just show your house to as many random people as humanly possible - during a pandemic?  Or do you want to show your house to motivated, qualified, ready buyers? 

Know that you can have amazing results WITHOUT an open house. 

Especially so in today’s market, when the number of real buyers far exceeds the number of homes available for them. I recommend that sellers set some “showing blocks”, set hours when buyer agents may visit with their pre-approved clients, clients who have already viewed your virtual tour, your floor plan, have driven by and gotten comfortable with your neighborhood.  Real buyers.  When I’m representing the seller, I prefer to host these showing blocks, to ensure that my Covid-19 safety protocols are being followed and to get a first-hand sense of interest.

If you’re thinking of selling your home this year, let’s talk about a strategy that is both successful AND SMART, producing incredible results while honoring your privacy, time and safety.

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