Private Showings vs. Open House: Which Is Better for Potential Buyers?

Any good real estate agent needs to be familiar with the market. Some methods may work better on different people, depending on what their needs, budget, and location are. As the agent, it is up to you to determine the best course of action when it comes to presenting homes that you want to sell to the prospective buyers who approach you.

Try to always put yourself in their shoes to effectively assess their needs. If you’ve bought your own house in the past, you surely recall how overwhelming it was, even if you’re not a first-time buyer. When people interested in buying a home feel ready to start touring some houses that they are interested in, some of them can be confused about whether an open house or a private showing is better for them. As the agent, you can advise them on what kind of home viewing is best for them by getting to know what their needs are.

Benefits of Private Showings

These are usually scheduled appointments made by the buyers, where they exclusively get to tour a house they are interested in buying, with their real estate agent. The agent acts as the guide and is there to answer their questions and give information that is unique to the home. Here are a couple of advantages of private house showings:

  1. Exclusive tour at the buyers’ own pace. Unlike an open house, the buyer can set their own schedule for a private showing and can go on the tour at the speed that they like. There are usually a lot more people at open houses and the presentation is treated more like a general group tour. Unfortunately, this also means that the finer details are usually not brought up or discussed in depth with the buyers. 

This type of setup is not ideal for buyers who are further into the home-buying process. The details will matter a lot to them, especially if they’re already serious about buying a particular house. If you are going to assess the people who want to hire you, definitely ask them about what they’re looking for and if they prefer to see a house by themselves or with other people.

  1. More transparent discussions. For more serious buyers, they will definitely be more observant and particular about what they’re looking for in a house. In a private showing, they are free to ask you any questions that they like and can voice their opinions on the house, whether these are positive or negative. This might not happen as much in an open house as there are more people there, and there is less time to entertain everyone’s questions and address everyone’s concerns.

You can have more frank conversations with buyers at a private showing because there is no one else there. It is much easier to be open and to provide all the answers and clarifications that they need without worrying about time restrictions or moving along with the tour.

Benefits of Open Houses

For buyers who aren’t exactly sure what kind of house they want to buy or haven’t hired an agent yet, open houses are more ideal for them. There is less pressure to close the deal and more room for exploration. As the agent, your goal is to ultimately sell the house, but you also need to keep in mind what people’s needs are. In this case, you can help them decide on what they’re looking for by having them attend an open house. Here are two tips to keep in mind regarding that:

  • No prior appointments needed. While private shows need to be booked in advance, an open house can commence on a regular basis until the property is sold. Most open houses are held on weekends and only last for a few hours each time as the emphasis is more on giving a general tour of the property and not so much on the small details. 

Since open houses are normally for walk-in buyers, they are also easier to set up and go through. Many buyers can simply come to the property, register with the agent at the property, go through the open house, ask a few questions, and leave. 

  • Less pressure and more clarity. For a lot of first-time home buyers, it can be extremely daunting to look at different homes when they’re not quite decided on what they are looking for yet. An open house is a bit like going window shopping or visiting a convention. It’s simply a chance for them to get a guided tour from an agent and to look around without feeling the need to come to a decision right then and there.

An open house is also a way for a lot of buyers to see which real estate agent they would like to work with in the future. If you happen to be the one presenting the home, this is also your chance to make a good impression on these people who are not just future homeowners but future clients of yours as well. For the people who attend the open house and ask to get a closer look at the home, you can use this as an opportunity to recommend that they schedule a private showing with you.

Whether you’re doing a private showing or hosting an open house, the potential buyer’s needs are important in determining what’s right for them. Moreover, you should also be concerned about coordinating with the home seller too on the days when you’ll be conducting either. To skip the hassle of going back and forth and finding a schedule that works for everyone, you can request that the seller simply install a lockbox in their home so only you can access the keys to the home. To learn more about lockboxes with customizable security features that can be relied on, click here


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