Do Open Houses Really Make a Difference?

Home Selling

Do Open Houses Really Make a Difference?

It's selling season! Check out our data-tested spring selling tips to get more money for your house in less time

spring selling tips

What’s The Best Day to Put My House on the Market?

Thursday. Homes that hit the market Thursday typically sell faster and for more money, with more than one in five getting above asking price. Homes listed on Thursdays in April do even better, with one in four going for above asking price.

When should I list my house?
On average, homes listed on Thursday get $2,352 more than houses listed on a Sunday. Yet only 18 percent of sellers list on Thursday.

when should I list my house?

Homes listed toward the end of the work week, when buyers are preparing for their weekend of home touring and open-house hopping, tend to fare the best overall. Nearly 30 percent of homes go up for sale on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, the worst days of the week when it comes to fetching a premium price. Sunday has the worst track record, with homes going for above asking price only 17.5 percent of the time.

Whatever you do, don’t list on a Monday in January. They’re the worst days of the year if you want to get the best price.

Keep in mind: In some markets, like the San Francisco area, weekday broker’s opens are common and some Redfin agents advise listing the day before the home will be held open.

Do Open Houses Make a Difference?

Not really. They seem like a great way to get attention — signs, balloons, cookies and lots of people. But they rarely lead to a higher price or quicker sale.

The apparent risks and rewards of holding an open house vary greatly by market. In ultra-competitive San Francisco, homes that had an open house sold for about 6 percent more on average than homes not held open. That’s a difference of $60,000 on a standard $1 million home.

In Austin, 26 percent of homes that weren’t held open sold above list price, while just 17 percent of those with open houses did. That’s likely because the best homes there sell within days, leaving the less-desirable ones on the market a week or so later when it came time for an open house.

FINAL Open House Results by Metros

Another exception to the rule is timing. Homes held open within a week of being put on the market fetch higher prices and sell more quickly. Why? It might be because those houses are in competitive markets and are more desirable–what agent wouldn’t want to show them off?

Back in Austin, houses held open during the first week on the market sold above asking price 30 percent of the time. But if the open was held later, the chances of drawing a higher price fell to 6 percent.

So it’s not the open house driving the price; it’s strong demand. Austin is so hot that only undesirable homes linger for weeks.

Final Open Houses Matter Early

So if you can’t hold an open house right away, or if you don’t want to have one, don’t sweat it. It’s likely that the correlation between selling success and a debut-week open house has more to do with having a desirable home offered at a good price.

“I’ve never sold a home as the result of an open house,” said Redfin agent William Porterfield in Little Rock. “Most of the benefits are for the agent.”

Are Professional Photographs Worth It?

Yes. Homes with photos taken using a professional camera typically fetch more money and sell faster. Sellers who used a high-quality camera and lens for their listing photos got an average of $3,400 more for their properties.

Photos Price

Professional photos help sell homes faster, too. Homes priced between $400,000 and $499,999 sold three weeks faster when photographed with a professional camera.

Photos Speed

Point-and-shoot cameras have come a long way, but they still fall short when it comes to wide-angle shots, sharpness and light.

How Should I Price My Home?

Just right. Testing the waters in hopes of getting a higher price is self-defeating. That’s because homes get five time more online views the day they hit the market than they do a week later. If buyers dismiss your home as overpriced early on, they might never come back.

Even if you drop the price later, you’ve missed a critical window for getting buyers’ attention. New listings get almost twice as many views on Redfin.com the day they hit the market than the day a price is lowered.

“When you’ve had a higher price and you drop it, the buyer will start wondering what’s wrong with it,” said Shawna Besancon, a Redfin agent in Corpus Christi, Tex. “If you price a home higher than what it’s likely to sell for, that’s a warning sign to all the buyers. I always encourage people to price honestly.”

Web Visits to Listings by Day

Methodology:

For open houses and when to list data, we analyzed more than 12 million condo, townhome and single-family sales since January 2010 in active Redfin markets. For some metrics, such as when to list, we reported 2015 numbers while affirming a trend for each year back to 2010.

In determining how open houses impact sales and prices, we pulled home listings and sales for 2015 to see whether open houses correlated to higher sale-to-list prices.

We used data from this analysis of home listing photography.

For pricing strategy advice, we used data from this analysis of home listing page views by day.

Note: A previous version of this report listed slightly different values for the likelihood of selling above list price by day of the week. Those were based on home sales from 2011 through 2015. The current version lists stats only reflecting home sales in 2015. 

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