I have been a practicing realtor for a very long time. I have seen varying types of markets: Seller markets, buyer markets, crazy markets...well, you get the idea!
I view open houses as 'soft marketing' and marketing that does not get immediate 'in your face' results....in other words, an open house today, a contract tomorrow. What it DOES achieve is:
Visability for your home to your neighbors, friends and family. If your realtor really works really hard, they can even affect the buying public. Facebook, twitter, email and fax blast, open house sign twirlers and door hanger ads can all be utilized to bring in the buying public.
Many realtors say it is a waste of time. I seriously doubt agents are TOO busy to give 3 hours of their time to the possibility of exposing their listings to the market. As a marketing professional during my pre-real estate life, I can say you have to leave no stone unturned when it comes to advertising. More is more and less is lazy!
My good advice to sellers is:
1. Choose an agent based on their ability to give you the most/best advertising money and time can buy.
2. Remember that selling your home is a team effort between you and your agent. A well staged and clean home is a pleasure to open and show on Sunday afternoons!
3.Open Houses are 'part of the advertising package' and if an agent says it doesn't work, go find an agent who is 'willing to try' to the best of their abilities.