hen you are deciding how to show your home to potential buyers, it’s important to weigh out the pros and cons of open houses vs. private showings and make the decision that's best for you.
One afternoon and it’s all over…right?
The notion of hosting a single afternoon where all the buyers come through at once is a definite pro to having an open house vs. a private showing. Grouping buyers together means you’ll spend less time cleaning and draping a throw blanket diagonally across your perfectly-made bed. But the con is that you may miss opportunities. Not all buyers are available during your open house time and if you do private showings in addition to an open house, you're back to perfectly draping that throw blanket multiples times a day. The reality is, Mr. or Ms. Right may not walk through the door of your open house. They’ll need some private time without all the hub-bub of the open houses in favour of that private showing.
A case of the lookie-loos
Another pro to having an open house vs. private showings is getting all the lookie-loos in and out of the way! Nosey neighbours, researchers, or curious onlookers are prime attendees. You might even encounter some people doing their research because they are thinking of selling. Besides tire-kickers, hosting an open house is a great way to gently introduce buyers to your home who may not be ready to commit to a private showing. A first-time homebuyer might feel intimidated booking an appointment but a friendly non-committal “hey we’re having an open house - all welcome” might be just the thing to get them off the screen and out into real-life house hunting.
Open house security
If “concerned about personal security” best describes you, don’t have an open house. Period. This is the biggest con to having an open house vs. a private showing. You can put away your jewelry, hide your documents and take down family photos but it’s not going to stop complete strangers from coming to the open house. That is what an open house is; random strangers coming through your home. We would hope that all guests are legit house hunters, who are just as concerned about personal security as you are. But there's no guarantee.
There are no rules that require you to have an open house
As a matter of fact, you don’t have to have an open house at all. Public open houses are a courtesy on behalf of home sellers, it gives buyers free rein to wander through your home in exchange for the chance that someone might buy it. Some buyers are under the misguided impression that it’s their right to see a home without any qualifications just because it's listed for sale. The pro to having an open house vs. a private showing is more potential views because you can’t sell your home if people can’t see it. We're not quite at a point where people are ready to buy their house on Amazon Prime!
When someone loves your home, they want to see it privately
When a buyer loves your home, they will book a time to see it privately. Whether or not they attend an open house, they are imagining themselves living their life within these four walls and that's very hard to do at a bustling open house with other buyers popping their heads in and out of their fantasy bubbles. A con to having an open house vs. private showings is that serious buyers may feel discouraged by the home being freely available to the public, or they may camp out for the open house to see if traffic is low and adjust their offering accordingly.
It’s important to remember that every home-selling situation is different. It’s impossible to apply a one-size-fits-all to something as personal as the home you call your own.