With the hustle and bustle of the spring real estate market, it’s the season of showings and open houses. While both provide key opportunities - for buyers to explore properties and for sellers to get their homes in front of prospective buyers - there are notable differences and strategies to consider. 

Chad Larsen and Barry Berg share their perspective on several important questions. 

What’s an open house versus a showing?

When people hear the phrase “open house,” they tend to think of one definition: an event where the general public can tour your home. While that is one type of open house, the Berg Larsen Group notes that there are also open houses exclusive to Realtors. These Realtor-only events allow agents to get acquainted with the listing, spread the word to their clients, and ultimately generate some buzz. In the context of this Q&A, we’ll be discussing the open houses that are an invitation to anyone and everyone - from your curious neighbor to a prospective buyer. 

In contrast to the public nature of open houses, showings are pre-scheduled private touring experiences that are typically arranged through a prospective buyer’s real estate agent. Showings are particularly useful in the upper-bracket market, drawing interested parties who have a more immediate timeline and offering buyers a more personal exploration of the home. 

What should sellers know about open houses?

“If open houses sold properties, we’d do them every day,” Chad jokes. 

The Berg Larsen Group tactically uses open houses to stimulate activity and traffic for a property. In certain situations, it can be a great way to kick off a new listing, revitalize an existing one, or promote a price improvement. However, the outcomes of open houses vary depending on a handful of factors, such as time of year and time on market.  

There are substantial benefits to strategically hosting open houses, but it’s important to understand that they most likely won’t be the sole catalyst for the sale of your home. Chad explains, “The individuals and families that come through open houses often aren't working with an agent quite yet.” Oftentimes, these parties are at the beginning stages of their home buying process. In the best circumstances, an open house might lead to a “second showing” by an agent representing a potential buyer that came through the open house.

When should a prospective buyer attend an open house versus schedule a showing?

If you’re looking to dip your toes into the real estate market, attending open houses can help buyers find their bearings. 

“Open houses are especially helpful for buyers who either are just trying to gain an understanding of different neighborhoods or communities, or wanting to make sure that they don’t miss something that just hit the market,” says Barry. 

If there’s further interest in the property after attending an open house, the Berg Larsen Group recommends that prospective buyers contact their agent and schedule a showing. Scheduling a showing allows people to walk through the home with their Realtor and see the property through the most important lens - their own. This privacy creates an ideal setting for exploring the home in greater detail and discussing any findings with a trusted real estate agent. 

While open houses and showings have their perks on both the buy and the sell side, the Berg Larsen Group recommends showings as the most effective way for buyers to determine which home is right for them.

Posted by Lizzie Byrne on
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