Open House vs. Private Showing: Which Is Better For Your Home Search?

Kelly Crawford


Some homes will sell by scheduling an open house where any interested buyers can look around the property and ask the seller’s realtor questions about the home. Other homes will sell without ever scheduling an open house because buyers will schedule private showings in order to see the home. As you think about shopping for homes for sale in Lafayette, you may have questions about which approach is best for you. This article will cover the pros and cons of either option, with the goal of helping better prepare you for your search for Lafayette real estate.

1. Open house pro: You don’t need an appointment

Sometimes, scheduling a time to see a home can create headaches. You have to find a time that works with your own schedule, your agent’s schedule, and the seller’s schedule. Everyone is incredibly busy with regular life, and adding a home sale or purchase into the mix only increases the strain and demand on your time. Another possibility is that you’re driving, and you see a sign for an open house that you didn’t know what was available. When this happens, you can simply drop in on a whim.

2. Open house pro: You can meet the listing agent

When you schedule a private showing, you might not have any contact with the listing agent. However, if you attend an open house, the listing agent is usually present and can answer any questions you have about the home. They often have more precise information about the home than what you can find online.

3. Open house con: You may be asked for your information

This really isn’t a major con, but perhaps it’s something you want to know about ahead of time. When you visit an open house, there’s a chance you’re asked for your contact information so that the listing agent can follow up with you later on.

4. Open house con: You aren’t the only one looking

By definition, open houses are open to anyone who wants to stop in. As you make your way through the house, you’ll notice others looking at the same features and rooms that you are in. If you aren’t careful, you may start to wonder how seriously they are considering putting in an offer on the home. You may feel increased pressure to act quickly, which could lead you to look past potential red flags or concerns that the home might present. In addition, you may feel rushed to leave a certain room if someone else is waiting to see the space.

5. Open house con: You have to go when it’s scheduled

Open houses are almost always scheduled for Sunday afternoons. While this is usually a time most people have open, that may not be the case for you. Perhaps you have other obligations like work, worship, or children’s sports schedules that prohibit you from attending an open house on Sunday. Since you can’t ask for the entire open house to be rescheduled on your behalf, you’ll have to miss the event, and you may not be able to see the house unless you’re able to schedule your own private showing.

6. Private showing pro: You can take your time

When you schedule a private showing, you don’t feel rushed by any time constraints placed on an open house. You also can move at your own pace through each room and space without worrying about who else may be around.

7. Private showing pro: You can honestly express concerns

If you notice something at an open house that raises any red flags, you can express your concern out loud without worrying about offending the listing agent or any other potential buyers who are around.

8. Private showing pro: You don’t feel as much pressure

When you attend an open house, it’s sometimes easy to feel pressure when you notice significant interest from other buyers. If you see somebody walking around, asking lots of questions, or taking notes as they view the house, you might wonder if they are getting ready to make an offer on the home. While a similar sense of urgency may exist when you schedule a private showing, you don’t feel the immediate pressure of looking at the home at the same times as others.

9. Private showing con: It requires more planning

This was mentioned earlier, but when you attend an open house, you don’t have to go back and forth with the seller and your agent about a good time to see the home. You can simply come to the house any time during the open house window. Also, you’ll sometimes need pre-approval for a loan before you can request a private showing, and you likely won’t be able to schedule a private showing unless a realtor is present. Because of these reasons, an open house may be a better choice if you’re just beginning the process or if you simply want to see what kind of houses are available.

10. Private showing con: Some sellers don’t allow them

For various safety and privacy reasons, some sellers choose not to allow private showings when selling their home. They may rely on the open house to show the home to potential buyers and generate interest. You can always ask for an exception to be made, but there’s a good chance it isn’t granted. If this happens, you’ll have to attend the open house or become comfortable with looking at other homes (or making an offer on the home without seeing it first).

If you’re unsure how to proceed with your home search, consider reaching out to Kelly Crawford and his team of expert agents. Kelly has helped countless individuals find their dream Lafayette-area home, and he understands the differences between open houses and private showings better than anyone. He’s looking forward to connecting with you, answering your questions, and helping you decide which approach is right for you in your search for Lafayette real estate.


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