There is a Wrong Way to hold an Open House

Real Estate Agent with Remax First Realty II 0790808

A friend attended an open house hosted by a competitor and, over coffee, shared his experience. This is what he told me.

He said: "As soon as we pulled up, the Realtor came out of the house to greet us.  The first thing she said (before introducing herself) was 'I know that the house is overpriced!' We didn't respond and she continued, 'Come in and see it anyway!'

So we went into the house.  As we walked through the house, she followed us around, talking constantly. But she wasn't telling us about the house - she was telling us why we should hire her as our agent!" 

"It was really annoying," our friend told us. 

"Did she ask if you were working with an agent?" I asked him.

He was surprised. "No. All she wanted to do was tell us why we should work with her."

"Did she ask for your contact information?" I asked.


"Did she ask what you thought of the house?"

"No, she told us she would help us find the right house because this one was overpriced."


Our Open House technique is different. We'll greet buyers in the driveway by introducing ourselves and asking for their name in return. 

The next question we always ask is, "Are you working with an agent?" Ethically, we can't solicit business from a buyer who is working with an agent. 

  • If the answer is "Yes," then our reply is that they are welcome to tour the house and to please ask us if they have any questions. We also ask them to sign in and give us the name of their agent so we can follow up with them.
  • If the answer is "No," then our response is to ask them questions - how long they've been looking for a home, where they're living now, what are they looking for in a home, and so on - as we escort them through the house, pointing out the salient features. After the tour, we ask for their contact information and promise to follow up, which we usually do within the hour. 

There are tens of thousands of real estate agents in New Jersey. If you find one that isn't responsive and professional, switch


Posted by




~ Wayne & Jean 

Union County, NJ - a great place to live and work!

If you're looking to buy or sell a property in Union County, call us at 908-917-4189 or email


facebook  Pinterest  LinkedIn  Read Our Blog!

All opinions, information and data provided is deemed reliable but is subject to errors and omissions. Not intended to solicit other Brokers' clients. We cooperate with them fully. 

Jill Winchel
Royal Shell Real Estate - The Koffman Group - Cape Coral, FL
We make it easy. You make it home.

Christine #70 makes a good point...the listings belong to the Broker so any agent sitting in a listing represents the seller (during the Open House). As a Realtor, my first intention while sitting an Open House is to find an interested party for that house. If the buyers who walk in aren't working with another Realtor and aren't interested in that house, I ask if I can assist them with another.

I wait for buyers to walk in the front door though...never have greeted anyone in the driveway! You want buyers to feel welcome and comfortable, not pressured. :)

Jul 19, 2016 03:55 AM
Susan McCall - - Compass Realty Solutions
Compass Realty Solutions - Portland, OR
Listing and Buyer's Agent

This is an interesting topic that has obviously touched so many real estate professionals.  Do we really need someone, like on the TV shows, walking in front of a client pointing out that this is the kitchen and this is the back yard.  Oh and the kitchen has a built in bottle opener inside the cupboard and the backyard has a deck leading down to it.  And the deck was installed 10 years ago but has been restained and sealed at least three times since then.  An open house is an opportunity for people to walk through a home just for the fun of it.  But sometimes ya just gotta suffer for the fun of it if you don't have your own special realtor♥

Jul 19, 2016 04:16 AM
Theresa Akin

Wow! Nothing like shooting down your listing. I don't go out to the driveway to meet and greet. I wait for the viewers to step inside,  introduce myself and give them some information bout the house. I do give them my business card to give to their agent if they have one. If they have no agent that is my cue to sell my assistance. All the while doing this I try to point the best features of the home. Don't understand why people want to shoot themselvces in the foot.

Jul 19, 2016 06:27 AM
CA COASTAL ESTATES Lauren Selinsky Perez CRS
California Coastal Estates - Aliso Viejo, CA
"Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren

Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl it never surprises me when I hear this because we think professionals will have ethics and morals and that makes them no longer a professional. 

I like the meeting at driveway. 

Lauren Selinsky 

Jul 19, 2016 07:45 AM
Wayne Zuhl

Sometimes there are things you want to point out about the exterior. 

Jul 20, 2016 09:43 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

There are incredibly stupid people in every occupation. 

This reminds me of a time when my son was looking for a house. We met the agent at a bank-owned home and ask we toured the house she informed us that "If these are any good, my broker just buys them."

Jul 19, 2016 08:12 AM
Wayne Zuhl

That's so shocking it's actually funny.

Jul 20, 2016 09:43 PM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

What a story!  First off I would never go outside the house and meet and greet a prospective client as they are walking up the driveway.  If I was going to an open house and the agent came outside to greet me I would feel like that agent was too desperate.  I always stand at the door and greet my visitors as they are walking in, introduce myself and welcome them to my open house as well as invite them to sign in and enjoy their tour of the house.  I also ask a few questions while they are signing in and then let them know  if they are already working with someone to please jot down their name so i can follow up with them and if they are not working with an agent I follow up with them after the open house to see if there was any questions they had or could I help them with something else?

Jul 19, 2016 08:16 AM
Wayne Zuhl

I think what you say gives the impression of being desperate, not so much where you meet the client.

Jul 20, 2016 09:44 PM
Mary Horesco PA
Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. - Naples, FL
"Redefining Service in Real Estate"

Driveway greeting is intimidating to buyers AND Realtors. Licensure courses unfortunately do not include business etiquette.

Jul 20, 2016 02:18 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Having done many open houses, I've developed my own style.  Some folks want to chat--some don't. I try to ask neutral questions not related to the home right away and make them feel confortable and conversational

Jul 20, 2016 11:12 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Probably a house-sitter. I never allow anyone to hold open houses in my listings, for just this reason. 

Jul 21, 2016 02:38 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Holy Toledo!  That agent is hungry for business, regardless of who walks up that open house.  It's painful to hear that there are still agents who don't get it.  Good for you that you listen and ask the appropriate questions!  

Jul 21, 2016 02:55 AM
Jeff Pearl
Samson Properties / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Talk about bait and switch. I wouldn't be surprised if the houses belonged to a frind or relative of the agent, and it wasn't even really for sale.

Jul 22, 2016 12:07 AM
Dan Lopez

A simple case of needing appropriate training .. if not from her brokerage, then from another source. Simple sales training from her local Board of REALTOR®, a state or national convention, a seminar put on by a local lender/ attorney/ title company .. anything to offer her the skills needed for better presentation and communication.

Jul 22, 2016 04:52 AM
Marnie Matarese
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

Wow!  That agent is lucky that the buyers were not friends or neighbors of her seller.  Those are not words that any seller would want to hear coming from the lips of their own agent.


Jul 22, 2016 11:20 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Oh my,  This one has a lot to learn about the Real Estate business..Lack of training.

Jul 22, 2016 11:35 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

I remember when I was a newbie, I would help experienced agents out by doing open houses for them. This agent needs a little mentoring and I am sure she will get better the next open house.

Jul 23, 2016 10:24 AM
Christi Farrington
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT

I'm speechless!

I would never meet people in the driveway.  In my viewpoint, that seems a bit over the top.  Relax and let them enter the house, make small talk, ask questions, answer questions, request that they sign in and always ask if they are working with a Realtor. Depending on the house, show them around or let them view and discuss privately.  People do not like to be followed and talked to constantly. 

Every now and then, I think a 'ghost buyer' should go to the open house for either the listing agent or seller to see how it is handled. 

Jul 25, 2016 01:33 AM
Claude Labbe
RLAH / @properties - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

There are so many things wrong with this story.

I'm not certain who to feel bad for, the agent or the sellers. Maybe both.

Aug 09, 2016 04:28 PM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Excellent post with all the wrong ways to hold an open and solicit a new client.

Congrats on Feature and numerous reblogs Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl 

Aug 20, 2016 07:35 AM
Wayne Zuhl

Thank you, Mary! 

Aug 21, 2016 12:02 AM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Great post Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl ...yes, there is a wrong way to hold an open house! 

Sep 13, 2016 01:06 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Great post Wayne and Jean!

Unfortunately that agent is not that unusual, hopefully this one will give up soon before she does any more damage.

Sep 13, 2016 03:44 PM