Do open houses help sell your house? Our house has been on the market for 30 days, we have had tons of

Asked by Sandy, Middlesex, NJ Mon Mar 24, 2008

traffic, but no offers yet. Great curb appeal, nice neighborhood, move in condition home. The feedback we are hearing is the house is a little small - we advertised the room dimensions in the ad. Will an open house help attract serious buyers? any suggestions on how to attract the most serious/likely to bring offers?

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CJ Brasiel, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Mar 24, 2008
Sandy -

Open houses make it convenient for many to see your home. I disagree that open houses are just for agents to add new buying prospects to their database. I have sold homes based on visitors to the open house. As buyers work on their own (even though they may have an agent that will draw the papers and represent them...) having an open house makes it easy for them to see homes on the weekends.

In most cases, room dimensions can cause more trouble than they are worth. How accurate are they? They also may stop people from seeing the home. Layout has a great deal to do with how big a certain square footage feels. I agree with the comments below to work with a stager, remove any clutter, arrange furniture to make the rooms feel their largest.

If you are not getting any traffic from the MLS and agents, re-evaluate the price as well. Make sure you are not the most expensive house on the market. This only helps sell the competition unless your home is truly better and deserves the price premium. If it is not being shown by agents, something is not working. It is either the neighborhood, the price, or the presentation.

Good luck!
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3 votes
Karen Negrete…, , The Santa Clara Valley
Mon Mar 24, 2008
Hi Sandy,

Since everything about your home sounds wonderful but the feedback is that the house is small, consider removing some larger items of furniture.; entertainment units, extra chairs, reduce the sections on your sectional couch, etc.

For example: as a stager, I almost never have dresser/armoire in the master bedroom unless the room is huge. I'll stage it with a bed, two nightstands, plants and maybe a matching chair. You may have heard a Realtor tell you that you're selling the space, not your furniture.

Since you're moving anyway, start packing now and leave only what you need. The less in your home, the larger it will appear.

Good luck,

Karen Negrete, ASP, IAHSP, IRIS
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2 votes
Jeffrey Halp…, Agent, Hopatcong, NJ
Mon Mar 24, 2008
Open Houses sell 14% of homes. It is better to run your open house on the first w/end you list it. And actually you may want to begin the first day on the market as the open house day, or list it a week before, however, stipulate showings to begin that first Sunday open house. The pent up interest and traffic that day will be astounding.
If you really want to be inventive, hold a private open house for the neighbors an hour prior to the public open house to your neighbors as a sneak preview for themselves and people that they know. They are your best salespeople, Who better to buy in a neighborhood than those who have friends in the neighborhood. Good luck and let me know your outcome.
1 vote
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Mon Mar 24, 2008
Hi Sandy,

Are you in Middlesex, NJ? There are slightly different patterns with how buyers and sellers act in different regions. That is not to discount CJ's answer, as it was an excellent post and I fully agree.

In NJ, particularly in spring, we attract Northern NJ, Staten Island, NYC, and Brooklyn/Queens buyers who spend a lot of time at open houses. I have actually sold an open house to a visitor from out of the area who I met for the first time at an open house, so yes, they just might buy! I have sold other properties as a result of an open house. In a few cases, the buyer was working with their own agent, and I was more than happy to show them around the property, answer factual questions about the property, and refer them to their agent for advice on constructing their offer. So, I am firmly in the camp that open houses can and do sell homes. However, it is only one component in the marketing mix, and probably not the storngest component. Definitley worthwhile, but should not be relied upon too heavily.

In response to your statement that you are getting traffic.............If you are getting traffic, where is it coming from? Are they serious pre qualified buyers? How do you know? Other than the size being too small, were there any other comments?

Is your home an older home w/ smaller rooms, smaller closets, smaller bathrooms? This happens with mid-century and historic homes.....a lot! When I take a listing for a beautiful historic home w/ small rooms, tiny baths and closets, I tell my sellers from the word "go" to expect a high number of showings in relationship to offers received. Buyers look at photos and tours online, and they want to see the home, because it is beautiful.

Uh....this is where that word "charm" got nailed in the book "Freakonomics". There are some people out there who think the word "charm" means something negative. It's been a while, but I read Freakonomics 2x.

If your home is warm and shows pretty, but lacks the functional characteristics that today's buyer wants, you will have many people tour and provide a lot of positive feedback. They will "ooh and ahh" and say how wonderful things are.....and then, go buy something less worthy of the "oohs and aahs", but that makes life word better for them on a day to day basis.

You didn't say your home was older, or that you lacked size in the baths and closets. If my exact comparisons here are not applicable, keep in mind that that concept still applies. Buyers will be charmed by character, but more will buy function.

Is it the house total sq footage size that is too small? But the room sizes are generous? If so, ask your agent (or you if FSBO) tweak you advertising to attract a buyer who needs fewer rooms. *** Take note *** Do not violate fair housing laws by specifing familial status! You can write ad copy (or your agent) that appeals to the type of buyer that would appreciate the features your home offers. Example for a small house, 2 bedrooms with a large master bedroom: "This cozy 2 bedroom home packs a big punch with a master bedroom that will make you feel like you are on a retreat or vacation. It can easily hold a king sized bed, and you will still have room for a desk or sitting area." Just an example.

Best of luck!
Deborah Madey - Broker
Peninsula Realty Group
732 530-6350
1 vote
Katie, Home Buyer, San Jose, CA
Mon Mar 24, 2008
Yes.Open houses are very important when you sell your house.If your house is a little small try to organize your space by removing big pieces of furniture if you have some.Also clean the clutter.Make the best of the small space.If it feels cozy then people will like it even if it's small.Try also to define the space as much as possible:bedroom,office....Don't mix for example an office and a playroom .Keep the house neutral as much as possible by removing personal objects(pictures....)People have to imagine themselves in the house with their own furniture.Your style worked while you were living in your house.But now you have to sell it.I hope it helped.
1 vote
Marilyn Gibs…, Agent, Saint Charles, MO
Mon Mar 24, 2008
In some locations, open houses seem to bring "traffic", but often it is nosey neighbors or people who are thinking about buying 6 months from now and are just checking out neighborhoods and decorating ideas. The effectiveness of an open house has diminished since the use of lockboxes. Serious buyers are looking with their agent at a time that is convenient to their schedule, and looking at properties that meet their predetermined criteria. However, you don't mention an agent, so if you are selling For Sale By Owner, perhaps an open house will help to bring more traffic through. But as you have experienced already, traffic does not necessarily create a successful sale. Good luck to you.
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1 vote
Hi, , Virginia
Mon Mar 24, 2008
lower the price 15%, that may help you get an offer.

good luck
0 votes
Jerry Murphy, Agent, Anthem, AZ
Mon Mar 24, 2008
Hi Sandy,

My business partner and I always tell people that we do not like to leave any stone unturned when we list a property. That being said, open houses are not necessarily THE most effective way to market your property, but sometimes they do work. Another agent in our office has sold two homes to buyers that came in on open houses. You may want to be judicious with the scheduling of the open houses. Having one every week is not only inconvenient for you the home owner, but they may lose their effect when people drive by every week and see that you are holding another open house.
0 votes
Graham M. Lo…, Agent, Franklin, TN
Mon Mar 24, 2008
Sandy-Great advice so far. Not to sound repetitive but OPEN HOUSES can sell your home. It should be used carefully and in conjunction with a total MARKETING plan. My only other comment would be if your getting comments that the home feels small, and it doesn't feel cluttered...compared to what? If your competition has a bigger house, than you may have to adjust your square footage cost accordingly to take it out of that bracket, and put it into the listing bracket that best fits your homes size. Then look at the absorption rate, and adjust your homes price to the lower of that range. That is if you desire a quicker sale...hopefully. PRICE in the long run, and in a NORMAL market, is what usually sells a home. Good Luck!
0 votes
Edward Vende…, Home Seller, 801 garden street
Mon Mar 24, 2008
we are going through the same thing in rahway except our house has been sitting for 80 dyas. i think we originally listed it to high but have since come down. now with spring here i am praying some one makes us an offer. so i would say check your price. also if people are saying the rooms are small could you possibly remove somethings from these rooms to make them appear larger, try it. our house is about 1700 sq feet and several people mentioned room sizes. to me the room sizes are large for the price we are asking. it seems some people want huge rooms and think they can pay low dollar. my thinking is if you want larger rooms go look at a mansion ot get a house built to your specifications. some buyers are just idiots and waste our time. don't worry i am sure your house will sell...good luck!
0 votes
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