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Vail Daily column: Are open houses useful for sellers?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I have my home listed locally and my listing agent has asked me if I will let them have an open house at my home. I am not very anxious to have a bunch of “looky Lous” wandering around my house. Plus, I have heard the statistics that very seldom does an open house sell a home; rather, it brings possible clients for the Realtor holding the open house. Is that true? Am I missing an opportunity I should be considering? My wife has said I need to consider what the Realtor wants to do. What do you think? Thanks.

Dear Open-House Aversion,



This has been debated for the many years I have been in real estate. To answer your concern of having strangers walking through your home, you will need to have an understanding with your Realtor, as well as a mindset change. Visit with your Realtor and have a serious conversation about what kind of open house she wants to have and how she will hold it.

There are two different kinds of open houses. One is for other Realtors and these can be very effective. If you calculate that every Realtor has at least 250 people in his or her network, and you get 10 or more brokers to come to your open house, then there should be at least 2,500 opportunities for a Realtor to contact a client they know if they think the home might be a good fit. The more brokers that actually tour your property, the better.



The second kind of open house is a public open house, which you were describing in your question. You are correct by saying that the percentages are low for one of the open house visitors to end up buying your property. However, there is still a chance that one visitor might turn into a client and buy the property. More importantly, however, activity breeds more activity. When neighbors and the public start to see people looking at the property, they have no idea if everyone who goes in wants to purchase the home or if they are just filling their Saturday afternoon. Often the momentum and activity simply creates the synergy to bring the right party to purchase.

Your broker needs to discuss with you how long she will be there and insist that everyone sign in, and make sure she has enough help to keep every party accompanied through the home so that your property is protected. She will also tell you to please put any small valuables away to remove any temptation as well.

I think you need to be open to a frank discussion with your listing agent and together you can make some informed decisions on who and when and how you could get some open house exposure and still feel comfortable. Good luck!



Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 and http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.


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