What are Open House Listings?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Open house listings are notifications that homes on sale will be open for the public’s view on a specific day and a certain time. People find these listings in newspaper real estate sections many times, and they can also increasingly search the Internet for open house listings in the area where they’re looking to buy. The Internet open house listings have taken the matter one step further by offering virtual open houses. These allow people to peruse many pictures of the home, sometimes ordered as a slide show as it would occur if a person walked through the house.

Curb appeal is important during an open house.
Curb appeal is important during an open house.

Those looking for a home will probably note that many open house listings have either evening or weekend times, which can make it easier for busy folks to see a home. Of course, those interested in a home also know they can arrange with the seller or real estate agent to view the home at a time of their convenience, and they may prefer viewing the home when its flaws aren’t disguised and when it isn’t prettied up for an open house occasion. In fact some realtors claim that the principal benefit of open house listings is not to sell the home, but to pick up clientele, since if a person isn’t satisfied with the open house, they may simply ask the realtor what else they have available. This may be especially true in a buyer’s market, where people have to time to be pickier.

Open house listings let people know about houses that are currently for sale and when they'll be open for the public to view.
Open house listings let people know about houses that are currently for sale and when they'll be open for the public to view.

For the seller, the best way to determine whether having an open house would be a good idea is to consult with a real estate agent. It might an especially good idea if an interior of a home is dramatically different than the exterior; sometimes an exterior isn’t attractive but an interior is dynamite. With a real estate agent or alone if the home is sold by the owner, people can determine a time to hold the open house and create open house listings in one or more sources. Local papers usually are the best way to attract a local audience, but listings online may be recommended too. Either the agent or the seller bears the costs for advertisements; sellers who want to keep prices down could advertise on sites like craigslist for free.

For the buyer perusing open house listings, these are often most convenient if they’re displayed on town map. If they’re not, use the Internet to look up addresses, thus eliminating any open homes that aren’t in areas of town that are attractive. Also, most listings conveniently display price, which is a useful diagnostic for determining if a home is worth seeing. When people are doing a lot of searching it’s easy to forget things like addresses and it may be worthwhile to have a list of home addresses with notes, so people don’t see the same house twice.

It’s also important to note that sometimes open house listings do not truly represent homes for sale because after the listing occurred, someone made a bid on the house. The best way to make sure the home is still open for bids is to use real estate agent who can check this out. In fact, working with agents to buy a home is often useful, since they may save time by not taking their clients to see homes that can’t be purchased.

Working with a real estate agent can help buyers determine whether going to an open house is worthwhile.
Working with a real estate agent can help buyers determine whether going to an open house is worthwhile.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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