Traditional open houses done every weekend don’t work. An effective open house needs a well-planned strategy. Typically one open house is enough and it should be done within a week of listing your home. An additional open house should be considered if there is a significant price reduction on your listing.
The strongest interest in your home will be the first two weeks on the market so it can also be used as an opportunity to get through the initial rush of showings in a few hours, instead of multiple interruptions to your life over the course of days or weeks.
The key to making an open house work is pre-marketing that develops hype with the right people. Your agent should know exactly where to market to reach the right audience for your particular property, including signage, print media, radio, TV, social media, community ads and database marketing. Creating anticipation and scarcity drives interest in an open house. That doesn’t happen by accident. If your agent can build anticipation through those channels, they’ll likely attract a pretty serious crowd. And a crowd is important because only a small percentage of people who show up to the open house will feel like yours is a home they could fall in love with.
In my experience, a well-marketed open house might attract anywhere from 20 to 100 people, depending on the market and the property. About 70% are there because of curiosity and because we told them about the free face-painting for the kids and wine for the grown-ups. Another 10% are nosy neighbours—“Wow, I can’t believe Chris and Jen are selling.” Another 10% or so are mildly curious buyers there with their real estate agents. The remaining people are the highly interested parties. Even though you only really care about those genuinely interested people, the other 90% are still valuable. That’s because nobody talks to each other at open houses. The few serious potential buyers are noticing the crowd, and when they get home they’ll remember how busy it was and will feel some pressure to make an offer.
Open houses can be effective but they should just a small part of the overall marketing for your home.