Ah... the slowly dying Open House. The heavily debated Open House. The sellers want them but a lot of agents hate them Open House. As selling real estate in the Birmingham area evolves, along with the rest of the globe, it's become a product sold primarily through internet marketing. With that being the case, are open houses still the best way to sell a house? Are they still effective at all?

Well the first answer is NO. Open houses are not the BEST way to sell a house. The best way to sell a house is to hire an agent with a proven marketing plan, local expertise, a great attitude and a personality & business-style that meshes with yours.

If you're a homeowner trying to sell your house, it's very likely you're going to hear reasons like, "open houses just bring in unqualified buyers" and "open houses are just a place for agents to meet new clients" when your agent explains to you why open houses are useless. There is some truth behind those statements. But not the whole truth. At the end of the day when an open house is done correctly, it can sell a house. I've seen it with my own two eyes.

So to answer the second question, YES. Open houses are still effective. If you started the home selling process correctly by hiring an agent your trust, then you should have no worries about unqualified buyers or your agent just trying to meet new clients. Or any of the other excuses out there. Your agent is experienced and capable of handling an unqualified buyer. Unqualified buyers may look around your home and leave knowing they can't afford it. But what if they know someone who is qualified who may love it? Home buyers know more home buyers. Young home buyers with tight budgets have parents with bigger budgets. There are so many scenarios that can play out here. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face by not having an open house at all. I'll address the excuse about agents just trying to meet new clients too. Sure, sometimes when you're hosting an open house you meet people who are shopping for a new home. I know it's crazy, right?! Again if you've hired an agent you feel great about, you can trust this agent will handle all situations with your best interest in mind. So that means his or her primary duty is always to sell your house to that person. Now when all efforts have been exhausted and it's clear that person cannot afford the house or the house is not a good fit and he or she asks for your agent's help, why not? There's no harm here. To be honest if you've hired an awesome agent, this is even more likely to happen. Your agent is probably kind and welcoming, helpful and knowledgeable and builds rapport. Well who wouldn't want to work with that person??

And just as a bonus, I'll offer my best piece of advice for making your open house effective. Hopefully your agent already knows this... host it as soon as your house goes on the market! Don't wait two weeks because your schedule can't accommodate it or because you think your house isn't ready. If your house is ready to be on the market then it's ready for an open house. I like to the think of an open house as more of a grand opening. All the home buyers who have been shopping for weeks or even months and have saved searches on various websites will know the minute your house hits the market. If your agent has already scheduled the open house and marketed it on those various websites, you can bet they're coming to your open house. Instead of having them book showings throughout that first week and weekend at all random times and then walk through your house unattended aside from their Realtors, they'll all come on one day and your agent will be there as well to supervise and to sell your house. The shoppers will see there are other people shopping along with them and they'll know they better make a decision quick. Do I smell multiple offers? And another crowd this will attract is the neighbors. Don't we just love when all the neighbors come over to snoop? Yes, we do actually. The neighbors might not be shopping for a new home as much as they're shopping for paint colors and decorating ideas and satisfying their own curiousity but they often know people who are in the market. And this is a great thing. They're usually pretty chatty too so a lot of times they're full of information. They give their feedback of the house. They tell your agent why they like the neighborhood. The more eyes on your product during this open house, the more likely you are to sell it. You don't need your agent to host an open house every weekend but you do need your agent to host a "grand opening" open house. If it's up to me, the open house will live forever.