Do open houses work?

I’m doing 2 open houses this weekend, and I thought of a topic that home sellers often ask me about…. Do open houses really work??

There are advantages for both sellers and Realtors when they have open houses. You get to show off your beautiful home, and we get to meet more people who are at least willing to get out of their car to look at a house. It can be quite disappointing when nobody comes to the open house, which does happen sometimes. However, there have also been occasions when the one person who comes to the open house is the person who ends up buying the home. It only takes one buyer, it just has to be the right one.

So, my answer is that it is different week by week. I try not to schedule my open houses to overlap with Colts games, or big races. Sometimes I have nobody come to the open house, sometimes I have had 15-20 people through. One house I’ve sold actually sold to someone who came to the open house. I like to do them, because you never know which marketing strategy is going to work until you try it. It is better to try it all, try to get as many people into the house as possible.

Here are some more resources about open houses. Weigh the pros and cons, let me know if you think they are helpful or not. Please leave your comments too!

This MSN article looks at the other side of open houses, saying they are not really helpful for sellers.

Here is an article that discusses how to have a good open house and a little bit about if they are worth it.

This one is’s take on the open house topic.


5 thoughts on “Do open houses work?

  1. rogertheriault says:

    Michelle, good topic and points, and excellent link resources. Having a variety of things I can spend my own time and resources on, I try to focus on the most impactful – and sadly, open houses are not productive, especially in my local market.
    They can be good for newer agents or buyer’s agents looking to convert a fence sitting looker into someone who wants to move.


  2. indianabc says:


    You have been reading my “can I sell my house..” over at the Indy Star forums. I can tell you that I specificed NO OPEN HOUSES for my house. In my reading – they help the realtor more than the person selling the house. I am also a security minded person and I do not like just anybody walking through my house. They can take notes where my alarm system is, what I have, and learn a lot about me. Meanwhile, I know nothing about them. I don’t believe any realtor takes ID at the door. You might ask for phone or name – but that can all be bogus. I heard a while back that there was a problem with prescription drugs being stolen out of open houses. Now if my house was vacant, do what ever you want. That is my two cents!


  3. mmorris says:

    Thank you both for your insights and opinions. Another thing I have to worry about is my own personal safety. I always encourage sellers to take valuables with them or lock them up and I stay with people as they go through the home as much as I can. On the other hand, I usually stay by the door if it is a single guy, just for safety’s sake. My company however, really pressures us to do open houses, so I am sure my house-sitting days are not over. By the way, for my 4 hours of open house time this past weekend, only 1 person came. It only takes 1 person though, it just has to be the right one!!!


  4. mmorris says:

    What I mean is that the agent stays at the house for about 2-3 hours, and the public is allowed to come through and look aat the home. Signs are put out telling everyone where and when the open house is, and we hope that interested buyers and potential future clients will come in. Sometimes a lot of people come, sometimes nobody comes. C’est la vie!


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