Timing is everything: When you’ll find open houses

May 18th, 2015

Sunday afternoons are the peak time for open houses.

An open house is the perfect opportunity for homebuyers to see what’s available on the market, and new data from Trulia shows the best times to attend these events.

Peak hours for open houses are on the weekends, particularly Sundays. With many Americans working full time during the week, many sellers don’t have time to show their homes within daytime hours of the work week. As a result, most open houses happen on Sunday between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Peak times may reflect religious practices
Trulia hypothesized this could be due to what it termed “the church effect.” Considering Christians typically attend services Sunday mornings through the early afternoon, it makes sense that open houses would peak by 2 p.m. However, the data showed this isn’t true for all denominations of Christianity. The trend was most prevalent among metro areas with large concentrations of evangelical Christians.

“Why?” the report asked. “It’s possible that evangelicals have longer church services, more active churchgoing members, or both. In metros with the largest proportion of evangelicals, sellers might hold Sunday open houses later in the day to avoid conflicting with church services.”

In fact, ForSaleByOwner recommended sellers avoid early Sunday mornings or have the open house hours go from morning to the afternoon because of this reason. Not every homebuyer is an evangelical Christian, but smart sellers or seller’s agents will choose hours to accommodate these individuals.

Some weekday times are available
Of course, not every American has a job that aligns with the typical work week. For those buyers who work on the weekend, the peak times are not beneficial.

Luckily, Trulia’s data showed some open houses happen during the week. Some sellers like to host these events in the evenings. This gives them time to get settled after work and allows buyers enough time to get to the open house after they get off of work. Additionally, sellers with agents don’t have to be present. While these homeowners are at work, their agents can host the open house during the day.

However, first-time buyers may want to ensure they’re visiting at peak times. Experienced buyers are usually at open houses, and their reactions to the property or price can help first-timers discern whether a house presents a good deal, according to Zillow. If novice buyers are the only ones at the event because they went during off-peak hours, they won’t be able to gain this insight.