Do Open Houses Work?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Premier

I can't give answer for any other area except for the Houston, TX area.  The answer in my experience is NO!  Why would a seller want the agent they hire have them wake up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning to make the house sparkle and then get kicked out for three to five hours?

There aren't that many things that the seller can do weekend after weekend while their agent is holding their open house.  Secondly, holding an open house really isn't productive.  It's considered passive.  This is because the agent advertises the open house but has NO control over who and how many potential buyers come to view the house.  This isn't even taking into consideration Qualified buyers.

Again I ask the same question.  Why would you want to make your house sparkle and get kicked out?  So your nosey neighbors or bored Sunday drivers have something to do?  This method of home sales is non-productive and a waste of time and money... Your Time and Money!  If your home stays on the market longer than it should, your losing money and every monthly payment you make is gone forever.

Don't you think it would be a better use of your Realtor's time to MOTIVATE the entire real estate community (other Realtors in the area) to bring their qualified buyers to your house?  This is productive marketing and will get your home sold quickly and for the most money possible in today's market.

So next time you see someone on HGTV get 15 offers after an open house, just say to yourself, "Real life is NOT reality TV".  Oh, the added bonus is you get to sleep in!

When you are ready for a professional real estate consultant to advise you AND sell your house then visit .  I use many marketing systems together to get your home sold quickly and for the most money possible in today's market.

What's Your Home Worth? (only in the Houston, Katy, Fort Bend County TX area)

If you need help in another part of the country, I have a network of highly qualified agents that I can refer you to and they will get your house sold just as quick.

I'm Always At Your Service!"

David N. Slavin, ABR

Comments (30)

Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

David - I believe that open houses serve 3 purposes, but unfortunately for the homeowners, one of them is NOT the likely finding of "the buyer" for their home.  As you pointed out, it is much more likely to come from a cooperating broker, which is why I don't mind holding broker open houses at all.  Here are the 3 purposes that an open house does serve: 

[1]  Keeping homeowners happy by showing them that you're "working"

[2]  Building a database of potential buyers, who also may be sellers

[3]  Business planning and learning.  I bring a notebook and pen and write down ideas for things that I want to do with my business.  I will also bring a self-help book to read during the "slow" times.  Someone asked me recently why I don't bring a laptop, and I told them it was because I didn't want to take the chance of getting it stolen.  The notebook or book can be easily put away as a buyer is walking in.

Thanks for a great post, even though many will disagree with your opinion.

Aug 15, 2007 12:55 AM
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
I feel that open houses are a great way to pick up buyers.  I did sell one house through an open house few years ago. 
Aug 16, 2007 04:23 PM
Fred Light
| Nashua Video Tours - Nashua, NH
Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH

Or... try a virtual, interactive open house!  Benefits everyone... .buyers don't need to waste $3/gallon gas driving around endlessly looking at a record number of properties, they don't need to be made to feel uncomfortable being the only person in the home with a 'hungry' broker, they don't have to worry about young kids......  sellers don't need to leave their home or prepare their home.  They can actually BE home during the open house.... the realtor doesn't have to waste time babysitting a home in the middle of their weekend, they can hold the open house from THEIR house in their underwear.....   People can walk through the home, drive through the neighborhood and MEET the broker, LIVE online....

Check it out this weekend....Sept 23 and 27th 

Sep 20, 2007 12:13 AM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate
David - They are for the most part very unlikely to sell that particular home. The statistics nationally bear this out despite all the realtors that like to claim how wonderful they are. Wonderful for who....the client or the agent?? Adam sums it up well. You may meet a future perspective client and it shows that you are "working". Unfortunately it is a very unproductive use of your time.
Sep 20, 2007 12:36 AM
Nancy Albea
Entrances Home Staging LLC - Katy, TX
Hi David...Do you know why it works on HGTV?  Because the homes are staged!  If you attract just one serious buyer who is and has been looking to purchase in the demographic of your listing and the home has been prepared to outshine it's competiton, the opportunity to make the sale from an open house is great!  Give staging a works!
Oct 08, 2007 03:39 PM
Chuck Wagon
Sugar Land, TX
As a brand new agent, I believe if you do it right, Open Houses can work for you.
Since I don't have my own listings, I pick a house that is in a busy location and ask the listing agent if I can do an open house.
For me, the bottom line is getting potential buyers for other properties.
For my very first one, I got 6 groups of people to come in. 2 of them are good potential leads. If I can perfect the technique of having open houses, imagine how much more people I can get to come!
Oct 18, 2007 05:50 PM
David Slavin
Keller Williams Premier - Katy, TX
CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier
Thank you for proving my point.  If you are the listing agent, your job is to get the home sold.  Holding an open house doesn't get the job done.  It does, however, provide a way to gain buyer leads but this is not in the seller's best interests.  Are you working for the seller or yourself?
Oct 19, 2007 01:48 AM
Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038 - Downingtown, PA


I too have never had any good come from an open house.....other than picking up a Client or two.  Some may say then it worked for you....yes me, NOT my Seller.

I still have to discuss with the Seller the results of the open house and try not to be happy for myself....sometimes hard to do.  And most ask, Did you get any new client's?    I have to answer yes because I am always honest.

I tell my Seller's I do not do open houses from the start...if they want I will do, however they will most likely get neighbors snooping....lookieloos out for the day.....and discouraged when they do not sell and I get a new client.  I stress if you are priced in the market, then my advertising program will sell your home.

Oct 19, 2007 02:01 AM
Jeffrey Owen - Houston Metro Home Inspection - Katy, TX


Interesting take.

I noticed an open house the other day in my neighborhood (Grand Lakes) on a Wednesday at lunch time.  I thought it was dang strange.  I popped in to say hello as I have done some inspections for that broker. I was overwhelmed with food offers as no one had been by and the agent had bought all this food for the open house.  Of course you know Grand Lakes as a massive bedroom community that empties out during the day. I think I am the only one around sometimes during the day on my whole block!

As in most things I think it is how it is executed.


Ion Home Inspection




Oct 22, 2007 09:01 AM
IT was great reading this blog and all of the comments.  It truly makes the case now to my realtor as to why I also feel that open houses are a sheer waste of time for the most part, at least from the sellers standpoint.  I can now rest stating that my decision for no open houses is the right one and our realtor will abide  by our decision and she will have to rely on her creative skills, hard work and her OWN networking capabilities which may bring in that "special" buyer who will have the great opportunity of purchasing our wonderful home.
Jan 06, 2008 04:33 AM
Christi Borden
BHGRE Gary Greene - Katy, TX

My experience in Katy, TX is that many buyers from other countries and cultures are not initially working with an agent and the only access they may have to a property is through a Public Open House. While I do not personally hold many Public Open Houses, I do offer them to my clients if they wish as yet another avenue of exposure.

Another advantage to a Public Open House is I advertise the time and date to agents who have previously shown the property. If their buyer would like a second look and wants to linger and view the home at their leisure, then this affords the buyer another opportunity to view the home. This has recently helped sell several of my listings in the Cinco Ranch and Grand Lakes neighborhoods. I simply let the buyer wander around and spend the entire 2 hours, if necessary, to see if the home works for them. I then let the buyer's agent know they visited so that their Realtor can follow up.


Feb 10, 2008 11:28 AM
Shirley Parks
Sands Realty 210-414-0966 - San Antonio, TX
Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate
The OPEN HOUSES I have held here in San Antonio were mostly seen by curious neighbord. I have not sold to a visitor. However,  like many others agents I was able to get some HOT leads.
Feb 11, 2008 03:46 AM
Michelle Rottach
RE/MAX Elite Homes - Bettendorf, IA
Scott County Iowa Real Estate

I do an open house every Sunday. I believe in word of mouth advertising and I love it when the neighbors come by. Real estate is a numbers game - the more people you come in contact with the more real estate you will sell. You never know where your next buyer or seller is going to come from.

I use the open house time to call FSBO's and expireds.

Mar 09, 2008 12:20 PM
Kimberly Dotseth
Blend Real Estate, broker/owner - San Diego, CA
Try Our "Cancel Anytime" Listing!

We get so much business from open houses it's crazy! They work!  You have to get a lot of forces to in your favor at once like signs, advertising, the Internet, and a friendly attitude. 

I do broker opens to meet my colleagues, but they tend to be less productive ironically.

We only ever use for all our open house advertising. It's a very clean, professional, easy to use site. We pay $10 for an ad that runs seven days.  We use them for broker opens all the time.  You can add photos, virtual tour, link to your personal website and all your contact information is very easy for the open house visitor. I have had a lot open house visitors come to me from this site.  I know it's in San Diego and I talked to the owner who says they're expanding nationally and looking for five other cities.  We used to use the Union Tribune but one small open house ad starts at $132! Insane.  The death of papers is here, which is too bad because I read my religiously with coffee every morning.

We do six signs. That tends to be our magic number. Placed strategically for best exposure but never on private property ~ that's just my rule. I also put it on Craigslist the SECOND before I leave the house to get everything opened. That way it's top of the list...sort of. But I love the Genie site best.

Good luck!

Kimberly Dotseth


Green Box Homes

Jul 17, 2008 03:25 PM


It would be nice (also fair) to come clean and say that you OWN OpenHouseGenie!

Nothing wrong with that, but don't make a blatant AD look like a testimonial, because it's NOT.

Jul 17, 2008 10:02 PM
David Slavin
Keller Williams Premier - Katy, TX
CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier

Running an ad that looks like a testimonial is cheap.  Be honest and people will want to do business with you. 

Jul 23, 2008 04:47 AM
Paul Sager
RE/MAX Results - Saint Louis, MO

David -- contrary to your post, open houses are a great way to get new buyers. I sold a house from the open house 2 weeks ago, mulitple offers...always look on the bright side...when i started in this business I held 2 homes open each sunday. I got most of my clients from them, 5 years late, I am the #1 agent in my office for the 2nd year in a row.

May 27, 2009 02:05 PM
Gloria Todor
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Newtown Square, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Thanks David for your post.  Since my partner and I have not lived very long in the area where we now work, open houses have been a great opportunity for us to meet potential clients.  And yes we have been fortunate to sell a few houses from opens along the way.   Gloria

May 27, 2009 03:32 PM
Cancel My Active Rain Account
Cancel My Active Rain - Silver City, NM

I am a new broker and I was told by those in my office that open houses don't work. Take a good book was the advice. I did two open houses on the same property. The one I did on the Saturday after Thanksgiving was a flop: two people showed up. I posted ads in two local papers, put an open house sign on the property the Sunday prior to the open house, open house directional signs during the open house and still only got two people. I scheduled another open house on Saturday Jan 9th with the same signs but this time I advertised it in The Real Estate Book for a couple of weeks prior and got the total opposite turnout. I was busy for the whole 2 hours. I think that 25 people in at least 12 groups came through! One couple expressed a lot of interest having seen the home online first. We will see what happens. I don't know if the turnout was the exception and not the rule, but I have another one scheduled for another home at the end of this month advertised the same way. My office was sure surprised at my results! As a new broker, I do believe I can gain a much needed exposure doing open houses and get some buyers in the process. My philosophy is the more eyes that see a property, the better chance for an offer. Just a newbie's thoughts. Thanks for the post everyone.

Jan 14, 2010 03:56 AM
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

I agree that open houses do not work. 

Many Realtors hold opens to please the seller.  I think it is better to be honest and let the sellers know that they do not work in this market.  I have actually listed two homes recently and both owners told me that they did not want an open house.  Savvy sellers know that this is old type of marketing.

Great post. 

Sep 30, 2010 09:46 AM