What purpose do open houses hold? Some will tell you that less than 5% of homes sell through open houses. Some Realtors will tell you they sell 25% of their listings through open houses. For some sellers, having open houses as often as possible is a huge request. For others, they have no interest in open houses. Ever. Bottom line, there is no hard, accurate stat out there as to the success of open houses.

Some buyers do most of their home shopping through open houses. When they see the home they like, they approach the closest Realtor that they can find (ie: the one standing in the kitchen) and ask to make an offer. This really is the ideal scenario for both the seller and the Realtor and why an open house is held to begin with. A buyer(s) gets out of their car, walks through the home and says “yes…I’ll take it”. Also known as The Realtor’s Sunday Dream.

One thing to consider with this buyer though…the impulse buyer can also be the buyer that makes an offer and then pulls the plug during the conditional period after a family member views it or they have a change of heart in the home or location. Simply, they made a quick decision on a lovely Sunday afternoon.

Worth considering: If a buyer is looking at homes with a Realtor, they are more likely to have been qualified and vetted in terms of their motivation and actual ability to buy. These buyers for a home seller are gold and are usually not open house buyers. They see homes by appointments on pre-scheduled and private viewings which are almost certainly more successful in terms of sale potential.

Other people (not necessarily buyers) attend open houses as an extension of their HGTV and Realtor.ca viewing. They look out of curiousity or for décor ideas or simply as a quasi-hobby.

Either way, an open house is a seller casting a net to the world and inviting any and all people who are willing, to walk in their front door and stroll through their home. In a world where we’ll barely crack the front door to a door-to-door salesperson, it’s quite interesting that we’ll vacate our kingdom to allow Mr. and Mrs. Anyone in.

Here is the question then:

If open houses ceased to exist tomorrow, how would that affect today’s buyer and how they shop and purchase?

And no we don’t have the answer. It really is an untested and unknown concept. Would the number of homes sold be affected? Would prices be affected? Would the inconvenience that sellers can experience be lessened? Would buyers be less active or look at less homes?

We could write pages and pages on the open house concept but we’ll leave it there for now. How would the disappearing open house change your home selling or buying habits? We’d love to hear from you!

If we can help, contact us anytime.

Patrick, Jim & Liana

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