This blog post from the Horton Team details what is the best Open House length to attract buyers as well as other strategies for boosting your chances to sell your home.

Best Open House Length — How Long Should My Open House Last?

If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’re probably considering hosting an Open House. But do you know what is the best open house length to attract buyers? Learn all about hosting a strategic Open House to get your home sold quickly!

What is a Strategic Open House?

When we use the phrase strategic Open House, we really mean an Open House designed around doing the most possible to increase your chances of selling your home. That description is intentionally vague, as different houses require slightly different actions depending on a few variables like size, price, and location. However it’s important to note that the main benefits of hosting an Open House will not occur during the Open House, but prior to it. You may be surprised to know that finding a buyer for your home during Open House is actually pretty rare. That being said, we still absolutely recommend planning to host a strategic Open House. As long as you follow the broader steps outlined below, there’s a good chance your home won’t stay on the market for long!

How Long Should My Open House Last?

When it comes to figuring out the best Open House length, you need to consider a few factors. All of our Open House events last one and a half hours, barring some kind of extraneous circumstance. In some markets you’ll see agents who run their Open Houses for two or more hours—in some cases you might even see an Open House that runs all day and night! The reason reduced-time Open Houses are so much more successful is that having limited availability creates a sense of urgency among buyers. At its core this phenomenon is related to the idea of loss aversion. This way of thinking says that people experience stronger emotions from the fear or pain of loss than they do from the joy of gain. When you think about that paradigm in terms of setting the best Open House length, it’s not hard to see why a shorter duration will play in your favor. By reducing the length, buyers will have less time to spend with the home, which in itself creates a sense of urgency. The real emotions start to flare when more and more buyers see each other inside the home at the same time. There’s nothing magically cryptic about that side of things—if you have fifty guests spread over six hours, they won’t see each other nearly as much as 50 guests spread over an hour and a half—but you’d be surprised how many real estate agents get this wrong!

What Open House Strategies Can I Use to Take Advantage of Loss Aversion?

Aside from finding the best Open House length, there are a few other Open House tactics you can employ to boost your chances of selling your home. For starters, be sparing with your scheduled Open House events. If you host an Open House every weekend, buyers will quickly notice the repetition, and you’ll lose any loss-aversion leverage that you might’ve had. On the flip side of that, if you only hold one Open House throughout the tenure of your home sale, prospective buyers who may be interested in your home could potentially move onto another home that they feel they’re more likely to miss out on. Like we alluded to at the beginning of the post, this is one of the factors that must be weighed when hosting what would be considered a strategic Open House. There are really only a handful of times when it’s imperative that you must host an Open House:

  • when there’s an interested party
  • immediately after a price reduction
  • once a major conditional improvement has been made
  • after receiving an unacceptable offer

If any of those events happen, hosting an Open House is the best way to push any interested parties off the fence and into the home. Doing so will reactivate the fear of loss and may cause the buyers to submit an offer on your home. Another strategy you may employ is to announce your Open House early in the week. We almost always hold our Open Houses on Sundays. There are other markets across the country where Open Houses on Saturdays or other days through the week are common, but the vast majority of Open Houses in Newburgh, Evansville, and the rest of southwestern Indiana are held on Sunday afternoons, anywhere from 12:00PM – 6:00PM (we typically shoot for 12:30 – 2:00PM or 2:30 – 4:00PM). In that scenario, it’s best to announce your Open House plans as early as Monday or Tuesday. Following this schedule will give potential buyers enough time to schedule their private showings prior to the Open House, which could result in a sale before the event or the chance for a bidding war over your home. Of course, none of that will happen if you don’t pair your announcement with the proper marketing, so don’t forget to put an Open House sign in your yard immediately and to advertise the event online. Whichever strategy you decide to follow through with, you can count on the aversion to loss playing a major role in how many buyers will be interested in your home!

We employ these strategic Open House tactics on all of our listings. If you follow the steps above and don’t find success selling on your own, chances are there is some other issue like improper staging or a lack of updates that are preventing your home from selling. Get in touch with our team and we’ll help you get to the bottom of the problem with a free 10-15 minute walkthrough of your home!