Open houses have been a disaster for sellers. Many sellers do want their home to be on the list of weekend open houses, because they are hopeful that their home will sell. I do not recommend my clients hold open houses, and there are three major reasons on which all of my clients concur after they are made aware of these dirty little secrets few homeowners know about.

Open Houses

Open Houses Dangerous?

Open Houses Warning No. 1: As a real estate broker, I periodically receive an email alert notifying me that there is a criminal frequenting open houses. That is a rare event in a rural area like Sequim, but it is not unheard of in the metropolitan areas. Even in Sequim homeowners are not naive to the possibility that someone would visit an open house to case the property for a later theft. This alone might be a reason a homeowner, especially an elderly couple, might choose not to hold an open house.

Open Houses Warning No. 2: Did you know that a homeowner who invites the public to attend an open house may be liable if one of those guests falls and suffers from an injury. We all know we are now living in a litigation prone generation, and it would be a tragedy if someone slipped and fell and then sued for a judgment equal to the equity in the home. These kinds of lawsuits are far too prevalent in the U.S. Plaintiff’s attorney’s always name every possible defendant, so that means the listing broker would also be sued.

Open Houses Warning No. 3: This may be the ultimate reason a homeowner decides not to be involved with open houses. Open houses simply do not sell homes in rural areas like Sequim. In fact, the National Association of Realtors nationwide survey concluded that only 1% to 2% of homes actually sell at open houses. After 20 years in Sequim, I do not know of any real estate agent who actually sold a home to someone who attended an open house. There may be someone, but it is so rare, it is almost unheard of.

The Real Reason for Open Houses

You may be wondering why brokers even hold open houses. Can you guess? It’s a logical answer, although it might take a moment of thought. I’ll give you a hint. Have you ever noticed that there are always sign-in lists at open houses? Okay, here’s why brokers hold open houses–to generate buyer leads. That’s it. That’s the truth, and all Realtors around the country know this.

It’s not such a good idea for sellers to have an open house. Now you know why I do not recommend my clients hold open houses. Open houses do not sell homes.

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