Al Gore has ruined the effectiveness of Open Houses

Real Estate Agent with Benchmark Realty

Honestly, I could sum up this entire blog with one word.                                                                                                  The "INTERNET". 

Ok so maybe whomever ACTUALLY invented the internet is actually to blame. Sorry Al

Let me give you some background. I have been in real estate now for a little over three years. I came into the game and was VERY EAGER to sell. Don't get me wrong, I still am. 


  • I was the agent who did open houses every single Sunday
    • The one who did them on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. 
    • I switched up the times. 2-5pm 3-6pm 12-2pm. I tried everything! 
  • I was the agent who sent out mass emails throughout the office and asked all my fellow agents to come visit. Heck, I even offered food, gas cards, wine, you name it. 
  • I was the agent that put out 10 directional signs and 20 balloons. 
  • I was the agent that threw parties at my homes. 
  • I advertised on Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, (all internet based)
I am no longer that agent. I know the odds are against you but after 3 years, the odds are 0%. In fact, I just spokeAl Gore with a seasoned, SUCCESSFUL, agent in our office about her experiences with open houses here in Nashville TN. She has been in the business for over 20 years. She told me that during her entire career she has only sold ONE home because of an open house. Even at that, she told me that she had personally invited that couple to come see it because she thought it might fit what they were looking for. Bottom line, they would have come seen it regardless. 

With all that being said, here are some scary statistics;
  • She has been in the business for 20 years and has on average 15 homes for sale at a time
  • She does about 4 open houses per weekend (her team does)
  • 4 open houses (avg) a weekend multiplied by 40 weekends per year (avg) multiplied by 20 years in the business = 3200 open houses and ONE sale. (Again, that couple was going to see the house regardless. 
Aside from gas and time, she spends money on advertising too. I don't even want to go into the stats on that! 

Bringing this all back around, what does this mean and why? It means that Open Houses do not work (when it comes to selling a home). The reason though is because it is becoming easier and easier to look at inventory online. The pictures are getting better and I even shoot a full walk through video of the home (which is available on the MLS and is searchable in Google). Heck, I just recently bought a used car online and am completely satisfied with it. I did my research (online) and found what I was looking for. Why would I drive around and deal with used car salesmen when I can buy and drive without even leaving the house?

Now, I know this is not across the board. I know that agents have success stories of open houses. I know that Al Gore didn't invent the internet:) I know that Open Houses are a great tool to pick up buyers. I also know that Open Houses don't sell the home. 

Stephen Strickhausen and Matt Eaton



Nashville Homes for sale




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Teral McDowell
Referral Patners LLC - Murphy, TX

Oh, blame Al Gore, he likes to think he created the Internet...

Oct 11, 2010 07:25 AM
Patsy Overton
Patsy Overton Interiors, Atlanta, Georgia - Duluth, GA

Okay, I just read this and am suggesting it for a feature.  First, I'm with you -- blame it all on Al Gore!  What was he thinking???  Next, you won't believe this.  I saw a program on HGTV last night -- "The Unsellables" -- which is a staging show shot in Canada.  The host announced that stats show that 1 out of 5 homes sold is sold at an open house!!!!  (Again, this is the Canadian market.)  I was shocked!  What are they drinking up there?  Didn't Al Gore's invention make it across the border?  Anyway, I'm happy to hear you've stopped beating your head against the wall.  It certainly sounds like you gave open houses your best shot!  Now if you can just get the point across to your clients who keep requesting them...

Oct 11, 2010 07:30 AM
The 1410 Group of Benchmark Realty, LLC
Benchmark Realty - Franklin, TN

I figured someone would get a kick out of the Al Gore thing:)

I am sure that people have sold homes through Open houses. I just have not seen it... Nor even really heard of it! Maybe I can learn a thing or two from the Canadians... Or maybe the show is rigged!

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Oct 11, 2010 07:36 AM
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

Stephen - I agree with you for the most part. However, I think that new agents looking for business should learn how to do open houses, and then do them every chance they get.

You know that I'm as much an internet guy as anyone, but the fact is that some buyers visit open houses, and a lot of them are unrepresented. It's a good opportunity to meet buyers who need your services.

My first sale was from someone I met at an open house, and my next closing will be from an open house (unless I get really lucky in the next few days). I once estimated my return on investment at about $200 per hour. Let face it, at 2 hours per week, how may productive buyers do you have to get before it becomes very productive.

Even though a lot of open houses are slow right now, buyers are out looking, so I keep doing them when I can. I will agree that for the homeowners, It's not likeley that the buyer of their home will come from an open house.

Oct 11, 2010 11:45 AM
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

Ok, so your title sucked me in....but you are so correct!  The internet has changed our business drastically.

Oct 11, 2010 02:15 PM
The 1410 Group of Benchmark Realty, LLC
Benchmark Realty - Franklin, TN

Larry, I agree with you 100%. I still host open houses from time to time. In fact, I picked up a buyer about 2 weeks ago from one. I believe that they benefit the hosting agent more than they benefit the seller. 

Thanks for the comment Damon!

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Oct 12, 2010 02:45 AM