Do Open Houses Really Put A Sellers Best Interests First?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Group

Do Open Houses Really Put A Sellers Best Interests First?

One of the most controversial topics in the real estate industry are open houses.  Like with anything, there are PROs and CONs to open houses.

As a home seller, your real estate agent should be doing everything to put your interests first.  So the question I present to every home seller is, "do open houses put your interests first?"

At first glance, many home sellers believe that an agent hosting an open house is putting their interests first.  This is understandable because many agents will convince a seller that the reason their home is going to sell is because they're going to host an open house every weekend.

Believing that an open house is necessary to sell a home is actually one of the most common open house myths.  

Before deciding that opening your home up to every Tom, Dick, and Harry next weekend, let's discuss why an agent hosting an open house is NOT putting their clients best interests first!

1.) Chances Of A Home Selling Because Of An Open House Are As Good As Seeing Sasquatch

Obviously a huge percentage of homes sell as a direct result of open houses, right?  Actually it's quite the opposite.

The percentage of homes that sell as a direct result of an open house has been reported to be less than 10%.  According to the NAR, 8% of homes sold as a result of a yard sign/open house.  

Now let's even say for conversation sake, 3% sold as a result of a buyer driving by a home and calling the agent on the sign, that leaves a mere 5% selling because of an open house.  

If I were a gambling man, putting my money on a game that only had a 5% chance of winning would not be the game I'd choose to play!

A home selling as a direct result of an open house is very rare.  Those home sellers who wait for their agent to call them Sunday night with dozens of purchase offers are often disappointed when that phone call doesn't happen.

2.) Real Estate Agents "Forget" To Discuss Who Really Benefits Most From Open Houses

Wait a minute...Home sellers benefit most from open houses!  Nope, the majority of the time this is not the case.  

Fellow agents, before rapid firing away on your keyboard in the comments below about how you picked up some great buyer or seller prospects from an open house, please understand that I have no issue with using an open house as a method of prospecting.  In fact, for newer agents, using open houses as a prospecting method is a good idea.

The issue is that the majority of real estate professionals neglect to explain to a seller that the person who benefits the most from an open house is themselves and potentially their pocketbook.  

Fellow agents, again, before rapid firing away on your keyboard in the comments below about how you hosted an open house that resulted in you getting both sides of a transaction, remember we're discussing whether an open house really puts a sellers interests first.  

Depending on the state you're located in will determine whether dual agency is allowed or not.  Dual agency does not protect a home sellers best interests.  Therefore because an open house resulted in getting both sides of a transaction, it's pretty clear who benefited most from the open house, the agent.

If agents discuss all of the PROs and CONs of open houses and the seller still believes that their interests are first in line, by all means, host away!  The likelihood that a home seller who understands all of the PROs and CONs of open houses still wants open houses is very low.

3.) Would The Number Of Homes Sold Change If Open Houses Didn't Exist?

This question can be easily answered, but that's not any fun!  The number of homes sold would NOT change if open houses didn't exist.

But how is that possible?

It's actually pretty simple, if open houses were banned, serious and qualified buyers would setup private appointments to view a home they were interested in.  There are total of 168 hours in a week, so there's a strong probability that a serious buyer will have a half hour throughout their week to go view a property they're interested in.

Nothing is more deflating to a seller who decides they want to have open houses only to find out afterwards that the only people who attended the open house were their nosy neighbors.  Even worse is when their agent follows up with the attendees of the open house and finds out that the open house visitors can't get approved for a mortgage!

Final Thoughts

Bottom line, hosting open houses does not put a sellers interests first.  Working as a real estate agent in Pittsford NY for almost 7 years, the number of open houses that I've held can be counted on two hands.

Why?  Not because I'm a lazy agent, but because I make it a point to discuss open houses with my clients.  After explaining all of the PROs and CONs associated with open houses and explaining to home sellers how I'll be marketing their home in other ways to get them top dollar, there is no question that they DO NOT want open houses.

Other Relating Open House Resources


Comments (26)

Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Exactly! You nailed it Kyle and there will be a lot of agents who will be upset that your trying to ruin their prospect train!

Aug 17, 2017 11:22 AM
Kyle Hiscock

Thank Bill Gassett !  It drives me nuts when I see agents making comments about them picking up great buyers and sellers and getting both sides of the transaction!  If sellers were provided the entire picture on open houses, I highly doubt many would want them to be held!

Aug 17, 2017 11:27 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Kyle Hiscock, you are absolutely right(IMHO). In my market, open houses don't work, the house isn't going to sell because of the open houses. Some sellers do request them and I have no problem letting them know holding opens will work to my favor to get more listings/buyers. 

Aug 17, 2017 11:35 AM
Kyle Hiscock
RE/MAX Realty Group - Rochester, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Realtor®, e-PRO®

Thank you Beth Atalay ! Like I mention in the article, if people are honest about open houses with sellers and they still want them, host away!  I'm not surprised you're honest with your sellers about the opportunity to pick up buyers and sellers!

Aug 17, 2017 12:32 PM
Joe Boylan
SpringsHomes - Colorado Springs, CO

Nice job Kyle Hiscock you are spot on in this post. I think HGTV has contributed to the Open House's rise in popularity with home sellers. Notice the goal of most of the flip shows is to be done it time for the "Open House". I do have a joke for you though. "Where does a Realtor go to be alone with their thoughts?" an Open House!

Aug 17, 2017 12:43 PM
Kyle Hiscock
RE/MAX Realty Group - Rochester, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Realtor®, e-PRO®

Thanks Joe Boylan !  I've never heard that joke but it's a good one 

Aug 17, 2017 01:19 PM
Laura Matiz

I take offense that I hold open house to only get prospects and am not acting in the best interest of my seller. I clearly discuss the pros and cons with my sellers and 99% want them. My goal is to sell the apartment at the highest price in the shortest amount of time. NYC sellers are savvy and want the most exposure they can have on their apartment. Open houses in NYC are different. Apartments actually sell from holding them. Buyers find them very convenient. Either as a way to get a feel for the market when they are just starting to look or as an efficient way of seeing properties on the weekend. Also, most of the traffic are buyer's being accompanied with their buyer's agent. OH's are just another marketing tool.

Aug 18, 2017 07:53 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is excellent advice to share.

Have a great day and an outstanding weekend.

Sep 08, 2017 05:17 AM
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty Beatrice Associates - Middleton, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Great post Kyle Hiscock .  I think open houses put a false hope in home sellers minds.  The only qualification of coming to an open houses is they can get to the house and open the door.

In many cases the buyers are not qualified to buy a home in the next 30 to 60 days.  Which is fine as long as the home seller understands that only a small percentage of attendees are really in the market to buy a home like theres.

Feb 19, 2018 12:20 PM
Carla England
EXP Realty, LLC - Chandler, AZ
Leads to Real Results

Personally, I do share the Pros and Cons of hosting an Open House and have been using the data of only 1% of homes get sold as a result of hosting one. I explain to my sellers that have already vacated the home that it gives them more exposure and benefits me with opportunity for meeting buyers and sellers in the neighborhood, and beyond. I don't like hosting Open Houses in occupied homes because I think the risk outweighs any benefit to my client but some still want that extra exposure. I'll have to start using 5% now:). Anyway, I love hosting open houses because I shine at face to face encounters and it's been my greatest source of new business.

Feb 20, 2018 12:00 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!

Jan 31, 2023 07:28 AM