Ask the Egghead: Should I tell neighbors about my open house?

Dear Egghead: My realtor has scheduled an open house for my property next weekend. Should I let my neighbors know about this, or stay mum?

Answer: Real estate agents are of two minds about this.

Many agents believe that nosy neighbors can ruin an open house, and never help it.

On one hand, neighbors at an open house suck up the agent’s time asking questions and offering their opinions. So, the reasoning goes, the agent has less time to devote to visitors who might actually buy the house. Yes, there are several ways a neighbor can ruin an open house — sometimes they’ll talk about problems with the house or neighborhood within earshot of potential buyers. That can kill interest among visitors.

On the other hand, some agents believe “the more the merrier.” The wider the exposure, the more likely a buyer will be found at a good price. If the traffic is brisk with people coming and going, it contributes to the sense of strong interest in the house, and that making a prompt, strong offer for the house is a good idea.

That’s not all. Every one of those neighbors might let their friends and family know about this house being offered for sale. And yes, it does happen — neighbors sometimes end up buying a property after attending a nearby open house. Or they let their friends and family know about the property.

Some sellers detest the idea of an open house. They believe it’s mainly an opportunity for their realtor to gain new clients. Sure, agents make valuable contacts at open houses — everyone who walks in is a potential customer or one connection away from a new client. But there’s no denying that open houses result in lots of sales. If they didn’t, people wouldn’t go to the trouble of holding them.

When the rubber meets the road, I firmly believe that open houses are in the best interests of the seller and their agent.

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