Open House = Waste of Time, Most of the Time

Managing Real Estate Broker with RE/MAX Prestige 01723613

If you went on a deep sea fishing trip aboard a high-tech vessel with a state of the art fish finder what do you think would be the most effective way to spend your day finding the fish?

A) Just stopping at various locations, dropping in your fishing line, and hoping some fish are there.


B) Use the fish finder to locate the fish and then drop your line.

All I can say is that any commercial fisherman that uses option A is probably out of business.

Granted you can definitely get lucky once in a while with option A, but why spend all that time and energy when the results cannot be scientifically duplicated.

Open houses are similar. They are becoming more ineffective, outdated, and eventually will become extinct.  

Let me explain why:

1. Technology - Most buyers go to the internet first. They don't need to drive around to find open houses. Most of the time buyers attending open houses are doing so because their agents are busy getting more leads while you are wasting your time showing their clients property.

2. Safety - Lets face it, the world isn't becoming a safer place. In fact, many criminals use open houses to stage potential victims. 

3. Evolution - Open houses were great when there was no internet, and many agents are still using outdated techniques. As the demographics of real estate professionals, buyers, and sellers change those old techniques will become less and less common.

4. Sellers - It is not in their best interests. An open house is not needed to sell a home. In other words, the house won't not sell because you don't have an open house and it is becoming more unsafe. 


Yes there are certain instances to have an open house in which it is beneficial to the sellers. Those circumstances change with market conditions and the particulars of the transaction.






Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jay O'Brien 02/25/2013 03:58 PM
  2. Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate 03/03/2013 12:47 PM
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Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

YouTube, Virtual Tours, and 25+ Listing Photos on the Internet have taken the place of the Open House.  

Feb 25, 2013 11:28 AM #1
Sammer Mudawar
RE/MAX Prestige - Anaheim Hills, CA
OC Real Estate Blog

Hey Fred, I agree open houses are literally available 24/7 online.

Feb 25, 2013 11:59 AM #2
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Came over from Jay's reblog. 

I can argue for and against open houses. If the internet is a virtual open house, why are buyers still wanting to see the home in person? Why not just write the offer site unseen. After all, ALL of those pictures and videos are online, right? And anyways, why do they need an agent to open the door? They don't even need to see the inside of the home anymore with all of those pictures and videos right? And of course you NEVER show more than 2 or 3 houses to someone, because they have already seen the pictures and just go straight to the one they want, right? 

Buyers still want to see the home in person. People don't just "drive around looking for open houses" anymore. They have the internet and can get a list of the houses that are open this weekend and map out a route to see the ones that interest them. 

Still, I agree that 99% of the time, open houses are simply a show for the sellers and a lead generation technique for agents. Besides that, open houses, just like real estate, are local. I don't know about your market, but in the Dallas area we still get 15-20 people through an open house each and every weekend in a 2 hour period.

Feb 25, 2013 05:14 PM #3
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA


Sometimes, I think, it might be a waste of time.....since, all info online easy accessible.


I do love open houses, but if your open house is empty( last Sunday, during Oscar, only 4 groups came! for 3 hours), you wonder........ I think, when the listing is new, it is good to have few public open houses and for brokers; after 2-3 weeks, it should be on the Supra or by appointment only.

Feb 25, 2013 06:54 PM #4
Sammer Mudawar
RE/MAX Prestige - Anaheim Hills, CA
OC Real Estate Blog

Brian, thanks for reading and commenting. Valid points and I do agree people still need to see the inside I just don't think open houses are the actual reason homes sell. Similar to your market if you market and price the property properly we will attract a similar amount of walk-in traffic.

 Inna, that is interesting about the traffic count during the Oscars. I showed property during Super Bowl Sunday and one of the open houses was packed non-stop. N.A.R. should do a study on this, I think everyone would enjoy the results!

Feb 26, 2013 01:38 AM #5
Mary Borth
Bloomington-Normal, IL

You know what? I agree completely. When I got my license 3 years ago the thing to do was ask the more seasoned agents if you could sit open houses for them. I did that for 3 months - 4 open houses every weekend. I got 1 buyer. Granted it was a sale, but not worth it at the cost of being away from my family all those weekends. I made the decision not to do them. I don't mention them in my marketing presentation and have only had 1 person specifically ask me.

Feb 26, 2013 05:15 AM #6
Stephanie Arnett
ERA Town & Campus Realty - Starkville, MS
SRS, IMSD, Broker Associate, REALTOR

Open Houses work for our area.  In fact, a Buyer just made an offer on an Open House I held last week.


I do agree they may be outdated for some areas though.

Feb 26, 2013 05:17 AM #7
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Do buyers in Anheim buy over the internet? Do they click and buy? I've only sold new construction that way. Aerial photos of the view and floor plans. There was no need to physically see property since it wasn't built yet.

For re-sales in old fashioned New York, buyers still need to see the property in person. I have not found any software, video, tool or state-of-the art technology that replaces physically viewing property. IMHO, the best way to get the most buyers to view a propertty in the shortest amount of time is still an open house.

I currently have 4 listings in contract. All 4 buyers came to one of my open houses. I use the internet to get buyers to an open house. Buyers come on my time and seller's time not the other way around. We don't have lock boxes or showings by buyer's agent without listing agent present.

New Yorkers work long hours during the week. They buy homes on Sunday. It is as simple as that. In one hour I can get 4 or 5 offers. I'm putting a new one on this Sunday hopefully, I'll have multiple offers by Sunday evening Monday morning.

I need more inventory so I can easily sell it at an open house.

All real estate is Local.

Feb 26, 2013 05:32 AM #8
Marc McMaster
RE/MAX Centre Realty - State College, PA
Putting my clients before myself

I've already picked up several buyers and seller at open houses this year.  One netted me a listing, which I got the buyer for as well, and then sold the original seller another house.  Three sides from one open house.  

Feb 26, 2013 07:19 AM #9
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

Open houses remain a good way to pick up buyers who have not chosen an agent and possibly pick up a seller when a neighbor walks through. Given the time involved, I stopped doing open houses and focused online.


Feb 26, 2013 10:11 AM #10
Sammer Mudawar
RE/MAX Prestige - Anaheim Hills, CA
OC Real Estate Blog

Mitchell, buyers definitely need to see the house before they purchase or even make an offer, and I do agree that an open house is an effective method of showing the property, it's just not required to actually sell the home. In our area open houses are probably the cause of a resulting transaction less than 1% of the time. It sounds like in NYC that is not the case and you will have multiple offers Sunday on your new listing, good luck!

Marc, those are amazing results but I would be surprised if that was always the case. However, I would say your time was definitely well spend during that open house!

Bryan, I agree that open houses do yield some results and agree 100% with your second comment, that those results do not justify the time spent, especially since the results are un-scientific.

However, the interesting thing about these comments is none of them demonstrate an actual benefit to the seller. These are all comments regarding the benefit to the agent.

Feb 26, 2013 11:31 AM #11
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

Open Houses have not EVER worked in our VERY rural area. We can't even get the nosy neighbors to visit! :(

Feb 26, 2013 11:43 AM #12
Sammer Mudawar
RE/MAX Prestige - Anaheim Hills, CA
OC Real Estate Blog

Hey Joni, unfortunately the only traffic we get sometimes are the nosy neighbors! Sounds like it's a lose-lose

Feb 26, 2013 12:34 PM #13
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Sammer, welcome to AR - this is your third post and you have already earned the 'Gold Star' by writing a featured post. Congratulations.

About open houses - you are right to an extent. Even I hate it and if we have technology to our advantage, why keep on dropping the fishing line, correct?

The major difference I see between technology and open houses is - in one case, you'll have to deal with NOT MET and in another case, MET. And there is a difference between the two - MET can be considered as PROSPECTS and NOT MET may remain SUSPECTS for long time - and perhaps never become prospects.

Hope to see you more often here.

Feb 26, 2013 01:48 PM #14
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Spammer - I've had success selling homes in the last year with open houses. I use social media to promote them.
Feb 26, 2013 01:54 PM #15
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA

Hi Sammer,

I think they may not be as necessary as they once were, but I've found them to be effective in my area.  We show the seller's we are busy marketing their property, we meet the neighbors who are a good source for future business and have found them the most effective way to sell some of our more unique listings, that required a little extra touch. 

Feb 26, 2013 02:24 PM #16
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

Good Afternoon, Sammer. I do believe you are right. There are plenty of other ways to spend time working on selling their homes!! Have a great Wednesday!

Feb 27, 2013 03:35 AM #17
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

So much depends on the home, neighborhood and marketing strategy. They work well for me.

Mar 03, 2013 12:58 PM #18
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Sammer Mudawar

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