Do Open Houses Really Work?

If you're looking to sell your home, chances are you've considered holding an open house. They are a common marketing tactic used by real estate agents to showcase properties to potential buyers. But do they actually work? 

In this article, we'll explore whether open houses are an effective way to sell homes. Specifically, we'll look at the pros and cons, analyze whether they’re successful in selling homes, and suggest some alternatives. Additionally, we'll provide insight on our experiences. 

Whether you're a homeowner or an agent, this article will help answer the question: Do open houses work?

What is an open house?

Open houses are a type of showing in which a property is open to the general public for viewing.  Unlike regular showings, which typically involve one potential buyer, they are designed to attract a larger audience.

The typical process for involves several steps:

  • Preparation: First, the real estate agent works with the homeowner to prepare the property for viewing. This may include cleaning, decluttering, and staging the home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. 
  • Promotion: Next, the agent will promote the event through various channels, such as social media, flyers, and signage. 
  • Execution: On the day of the open house, the agent will be present at the property. This is to greet visitors, answer questions, and provide information about the home and the surrounding area.

While open houses are a popular strategy in real estate marketing, they are not without their criticisms. 

Some people believe that open houses are unnecessary, as they can attract non-qualified buyers. Others argue that they are simply a way for agents to gain exposure for themselves, rather than sell the property. 

Nonetheless, open houses remain a common way for real estate agents to showcase homes to home buyers.

Pros and cons of an open house

Open houses have both advantages and drawbacks as a marketing strategy for selling homes. Let's take a closer look at each:


  • Increased Exposure: By opening the property to the public, open houses can generate more interest and exposure for a listing. This can lead to more potential buyers seeing the property and making an offer.
  • Convenience for Buyers: Open houses provide a convenient way for buyers to view a property. All without having to schedule an appointment or work around the seller's schedule.
  • Higher Sale Price: Increased interest in a property can result in multiple offers, which can drive up the sale price.


  • Security Risks: Opening up a property to the public can pose security risks. It can be difficult to control who comes and goes. This can lead to theft or other safety concerns.
  • Tire-Kickers: Some people visit open houses out of curiosity, without any intention of buying. This can be frustrating for the seller and the agent and waste valuable time.
  • Low Attendance: Despite the potential benefits, open houses can sometimes have low attendance. It can be a discouraging experience for the seller.

There are various statistics and examples that support both sides of the open house debate. For example, statistics from the National Association of Realtors state that open houses were responsible for 4% of home sales.

Some studies have shown that the majority of buyers actually prefer to schedule private showings rather than attend open houses. However, anecdotes from real estate agents and homeowners vary widely. Some report great success with open houses while others find them to be a waste of time. 

Ultimately, whether or not open houses are effective for selling homes depends on various factors. Location, price range, and the condition of the property all play a part. Of course the marketing strategy and expertise of the real estate agent are equally important.

Alternative options

While open houses can be a useful tool in selling homes, there are other strategies that may be more effective. 

Here are some alternatives to open houses:

  • Private Showings: Private showings allow potential buyers to view a property at a time that is convenient for them. Real estate agents can work with buyers to schedule private showings. They can provide personalized tours and answer any questions.
  • Virtual Tours: Virtual tours are becoming increasingly popular. These tours can include 3D photos of a property, drone footage, or pre-recorded video tours. Virtual tours provide a convenient way for buyers to view a property without having to physically be there.
  • Online Listings: In today's digital age, online listings are a crucial part of any marketing strategy for selling homes. High-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and accurate pricing information can help attract potential buyers and generate interest in a property.
  • Networking: Real estate agents can leverage their professional networks to connect with potential buyers and other agents. These agents may have clients looking for a property like the one you’re selling. 

While open houses aren’t always the most effective marketing strategy, there may be situations in which they are useful. For example, open houses can be a good way to generate buzz for a new property. Or to showcase a unique feature of a property, such as a stunning view or custom design. 

Additionally, in some areas or price ranges, open houses may still be a common part of the home selling process. Realtors and homeowners should consider a variety of marketing strategies and tailor their approach to the property and target audience.

Our approach to open houses

At A Cole Realty, we have extensive experience with open houses. We have developed a comprehensive approach to maximize their effectiveness for clients. 

Based on our experience, we offer the following tips:

  • Timing is key: Choosing the right day and time can make a big difference in attendance and interest. Consider factors such as local events, holidays, and the weather when scheduling the open house.
  • Personalized attention: Providing individualized tours and answering questions from potential buyers builds a personal connection. This can increase the likelihood of a successful sale.
  • Follow-up: Following up with visitors after the open house can help gauge interest and answer any further questions. You can also gain valuable feedback for future marketing strategies.
  • Consider alternatives: While open houses can be effective, it's important to consider other strategies for marketing your home. At A Cole Realty, we often recommend private showings and networking as alternative approaches.

We’re here to help!

Open houses can be a useful marketing tool for selling homes, but their effectiveness depends on a variety of factors. We have extensive experience with open houses and can help sellers weigh the pros and cons of using this strategy. We also offer alternative approaches to marketing a property that may be more effective in certain situations.

At A Cole Realty, our goal is to help clients sell their homes quickly and at the best possible price. Whether you're considering an open house or another approach, our team is dedicated to providing the support and guidance you need. So if you're thinking of selling your home, don't hesitate to contact us for expert advice and assistance!

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