Open house: Deciding between the nosey neighbour and the ideal marketing tool - MoneySense

Open house: Deciding between the nosey neighbour and the ideal marketing tool

Not every home, or seller, is suited for an open house. To decide: answer these three questions (plus, five tips to maximize the public viewing)


It’s spring. You’re going to sell your home and you want to get the best price. So you’re agent suggests holding an open house. Should you?

Open houses are traditionally the best marketing tool for selling your home, but that doesn’t mean that every seller should agree to an open house.

To decide whether or not to hold an open house ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have the time? Most of us remember to factor in the time spent away from our home during the open house, but we forget to factor in the time it takes to de-clutter and clean our homes. The good news with an open house is that you may only have to clean and de-clutter a few times (depending on how many open houses your agent holds) as opposed to each time a potential buyer wants a private viewing of the property.
  • Do I want nosey neighbours wandering through my home? While there’s a benefit to having your neighbours poke around — they may know someone interested in moving into the neighbourhood — not everyone is comfortable with people peeking into their private life. If you hate the thought then consider asking your realtor for private viewings. While this will limit the marketing of your home, it can help reduce your anxiety regarding nosey neighbours. And it does work: this is how luxury or celebrity-owned homes are often sold.
  • Does my home show well? Open houses help potential buyers visualize your current space. But what if you know that major repairs or renovations are required? If your home isn’t in optimal conditions, or the curb appeal lacks (and you cannot or will not change this before your home is listed for sale) then consider skipping the open house and trying different marketing tools.

If you decide holding an open house will help market your home then consider these five tips to help you prepare:

1. Pick the right date: Make sure your chosen date doesn’t conflict with a holiday or a special event, as it could put a damper on the turnout.

2. De-clutter: Concentrate on visible areas first, such as kitchen counters and bathroom vanities. Then move to bedroom closets, desktops and family rooms. Also, consider moving larger furniture pieces into storage to open up your living space and make it more appealing.

3. Keep it clean and fresh: Make sure everything in your home is cleaned, polished, and dusted. A home that looks well kept will create a favorable impression. Also, open the window for some fresh, clean air. If you have pets, consider boarding them until the home is sold to remove smells for the duration of the listing.

4. Lighten up: Consider turning on all the lights in your home. A well-lit, bright home feels warmer and more inviting.

5. Spread the word: Tell your friends and neighbours, it never hurts to promote your own open house.