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What happened to the traditional "Open House"?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Capital West Realty, Inc BRE# 01717774

When I was starting out in this business, it seemed that every weekend there was a littany of Open House signs all over town. My signs were often part of that mix and that is where I would get some really good buyer leads! I've only actually sold the house I was holding open to buyers that walked in on two occasions, but I can't think of any time that I didn't at least get one good buyer lead out of the time spent showing off someone's home for sale.


These days, it is rare to see an open house sign and I was just thinking about what has changed. For one, some of the bank owned homes are in poor condition, so that wouldn't be good to show off. Plus, short sale homes are often occupied without real motivation from the sellers to put their best foot forward in showing their home for sale. Of course, the internet has made it easier and easier to see multiple pictures and even videos of homes for sale, so why should prospective home buyers waste gas, just driving around? Lastly, many agents have left this business which leaves agents who may be more seasoned and possibly working with more referrals, than anything else, which is what has happened to my business! I do love working with referrals, but wondering if other agents still get out and do open houses on a regular basis?

Susan Shartzer
Re/Max State Line - Overland Park, KS

I think you have to pick and choose which listings are good ones to have open. I find it hard to carve out the time for an open, especially this time of  year because I am usually out showing buyers on Saturdays and Sundays. I agree with you that the buyers have seen so many pictures online now they don't really need to go to open houses.

Mar 25, 2012 11:58 AM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Depending on the neighborhood, open houses either work or don't work. Some agents still swear by them but a lot don't bother any more.

Mar 25, 2012 11:58 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

We are finding safety to be a huge factor.  There have been many problems with theft and agent safety.  I don't do them at all and my Seller's fully agree in light of the things going on.

Mar 25, 2012 11:59 AM
Marnie Matarese
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

With the strength of the internet and the price of gas, most buyers do their previewing on the computer.  For safety reasons I no longer do open houses anywhere and I explain the reasons to my sellers.  They totally understand and also do not want strangers walking through their homes.

Mar 25, 2012 12:03 PM
Marty Swingle
Capital West Realty, Inc - West Sacramento, CA
West Sacramento 916-718-7134

I hadn't considered the safety factor, but great point and certainly a valid reason to not do open houses.

Mar 25, 2012 12:31 PM
Suzanne Gwaltney
Century 21 Sail/Loft Realty - Oriental, NC
Oriental Waterfront Specialist

I suppose that the open house concept is relevant to the area.  In the rural area that I work, Oriental, NC and surrounding Pamlico County, open houses have not been a productive marketing tool.  Houses are too far apart and this area has many resort and second homes that appeal to buyers from outside the area.  I would agree with you that the internet has also impacted on this concept.  With virtual tours and rising gas prices, the consumer is wise to shop the internet.  You'll also find the consumer shopping the internet to select their Realtor of choice.

Mar 25, 2012 12:36 PM
Broker Patty Da Silva Da Silva
Green Realty Properties® - 954-667-7253 - Cooper City, FL
Top Listing Broker


I think that the internet is the biggest reason for the reduction in open houses but the other points you made are also very valid.

May 09, 2012 04:36 AM