So why do agents hold open houses? The open house isn't a very effective tool for selling a home, but it does bring an agent into contact with people who are looking to purchase a home. Even if the prospective homeowner isn't interested in the home being shown, they may be interested in the agent's other listings.
For both the FSBO seller and the seller who uses an agent, the question is this: if the likelihood of finding a buyer via an open house is small, should you hold one? A real estate agent's goal is to sell a house - and yours is just one of the many they have listed. As an FSBO seller, your goal is to sell your house. In either case, the chance that an open house will connect you to a firm buyer is slim, however you can still use your home as part of your successful sales strategy.
Today, nearly 8 out of 10 buyers research homes for sale using the Internet. If you list your home with an FSBO site, choose one that allows you to include a complete set of photographs and a video tour. Your prospective buyers may view your home any time of the day or night. Minimally, your photographs should show the home's exterior and the major rooms inside. This includes the kitchen, dining room, living room, family room and the bedrooms. If the home has a garage, professionally landscaped yard or other interesting features, these should be captured in photographs, too.
What about the bathroom? The debate rages over whether you should show the bathroom in photographs or not. No one will argue about the value of the bathrooms in a home, and truthfully, a bathroom can make or break a sale. For a photographic tour, however, even an outstanding shot doesn't often capture a bathroom at its best.
Bathrooms have a lot of reflective surfaces. Tile, chrome, porcelain, marble and mirrors can impair photographs. Flash units sometimes obliterate the details and distract from the overall impression you're trying to make. Unless your bathroom is something truly magnificent, you may want to hold off on putting photos of it in your tour.
A photo open house doesn't have to show your home's tiniest details. For the FSBO seller, the purpose of the photographic tour is to help prospective buyers determine whether they want to see your home in person. To that end, your photographs should be good quality images. The lighting should be sufficient to show the details of each room on the tour. Minimize the clutter in each room you photograph.
Aside from the photographs, you should provide the dimensions of each room. You don't have to post a layout of the home with the listing, but you should have one readily available for serious inquiries.
As an FSBO seller, feel free to skip the open house and refer prospective buyers to your online home tour. Instead, concentrate on creating an attractive online FSBO listing with good photographs that accentuate your home's most desirable features.