Open Houses: Are They Worth It?

Whether you are a buyer or seller in the downtown Boston area, someone interested in learning about Boston condo options and relative values, or just looking for design inspiration, you’ll find open houses to be a valuable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Here’s why.

Benefits for Buyers

Open houses are a great way to begin the process at your leisure, even if you’re just starting to think about buying in Boston. Condos in Midtown might vary greatly from those you’ll find in, say, the South End. Open houses, along with guidance from a savvy realtor, will help you become more educated on the market. Open houses give buyers the opportunity to:

  • Explore different types of condos—from brownstones to apartment-style, and lofts to luxury buildings—at different price points
  • Get a feel for the range of options in features, layouts, finishes, condition and parking scenarios… and then create your list of priorities
  • Assess relative values and fine tune your price range
  • Get a first-hand look at the character of various neighborhoods and the lifestyle options they offer
  • Ask questions on the spot about the property for sale, as well as the neighborhood

Benefits for Sellers

Open houses are just one component of an effective home marketing strategy, and done right, they can stimulate interest in your home. Open houses give sellers the opportunity to:

  • Expose your property to as many prospective buyers (and realtors) as possible
  • Show off your home and its most appealing features
  • Get feedback from potential buyers on your property’s positioning and pricing relative to other options
  • Give prospective buyers a low-key way to get a first look at your home and envision themselves living there

Sellers also can and should attend open houses prior to and during listing to gain a better understanding of the current market and how your home fares from a competitive standpoint. This will help position your property to yield the highest price possible in today’s market.

Before doing an open house, consult with your realtor for guidance on preparing and staging  your property in order to highlight its finest features and show it in the best possible light. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Benefits for Others

You don’t have to be actively engaged in buying or selling a condo to benefit from attending open houses. By attending open houses, you have the opportunity to:

  • Get a hands-on sense for the Boston condo market
  • Gather design and decorating ideas for kitchens, bathrooms, etc.
  • Get space saving ideas for living in the city

Even realtors benefit from attending open houses, as it gives them the opportunity to know the inventory and screen properties for their clients to help them make the best-informed real estate decisions.

In today’s Boston condo market, where inventory is at a record low, it’s common for listing brokers to hold off on showing properties until the first open house.  This practice is likely to draw a crowd and often yield an offer… and in many instances, multiple offers.

If you’re interested in a list of open houses for this weekend, feel free to contact me.  If strolling around town, look for the open house signs. And, if you’ve attended or held an open house in downtown Boston, please share what you found to be most useful about the experience.