In my five years in the business, I have sold one home via an open house.  Not great odds, but one is better than none...

There has been much debate on Active Rain the last few days on the topic of open houses...

It seems the vast majority of real estate agents don't like hosting them.  That is fine by me.  Different strokes for different folks...

I host open houses for three reasons:

  1. Sellers generally want them.
  2. They offer lots of marketing opportunities for myself and my listings.
  3. I will be meeting new people/prospects/neighbors.

Open houses are one of my most effective marketing tools.  However, I understand the challenges of actually selling a home via an open house.

I thought I would take a look at why open houses generally don't sell houses...

Keller Williams

5 Reasons Open Houses Generally Don't Sell Homes

  1. Tire Kickers
    Most "buyers" that attend open houses are still several months away (at least) from actually buying a home.  They are gathering information.  When they are ready to buy, they contact a real estate agent to show them homes.

  2. Price
    No amount of marketing will sell an overpriced home.  If your home is overpriced, don't expect an open house to help.

  3. Timing
    I usually host open houses 3 to 4 weeks after listing a home.  My best priced listings are usually under contract by then.

  4. Today's Real Estate Market
    The real estate market is challenging right now.  Most open houses struggle to get more than a handful of visitors, and without traffic, an open house won't work.  5 years ago things were very different.

  5. The Internet
    Buyers have so much information available today at their fingertips.  Pictures.  Virtual tours.  Links to schools.  Etc...


I hope this clears the air just a bit on the issue of open houses.  If you don't like hosting them and your sellers are OK with that, great...

But if you are still undecided, I would suggest you use them as part of your marketing package...

You might be surprised with your results.


For more information on open houses, read my post "Two Keys to Making Every Open House a Success

Open House in Naperville

Comment balloon 18 commentsKen Tracy • August 28 2010 07:04PM


Great Post Ken! 

When I do an open house I am genuinely trying to sell that house, but with the actual odds of it selling through an open house being low, the additional benefits that you mentioned can end up making it pay off down the road!

Posted by Harry Logan (RE/MAX executives realty) almost 8 years ago

Bring some work with you. That way you can be on the look out for visitors and get a head start on Monday.

Posted by Nogui Aramburo, Real Estate Professional in the Raleigh Area (Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®) almost 8 years ago

Hi Harry and Nogui.  Thanks!

Open houses are a great opportunity to catch up on other work when slow.  Blogging, paperwork, emails, phone calls, whatever...

Why do that stuff at the office when you can do it at an open house?

Thanks again,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) almost 8 years ago

Hi Ken!
I agree with all the reason that you should hold an open house, but have a different perspective with a couple of your points about why you shouldn't.

I hold my listing open the very first weekend it is on the market.  I invite the neighbors to an exclusive neighborhood open an hour before the public open.  It makes a big impact and I usually have at least 30 and as many as 60 people through.

The very fact that buyers are on the internet doing their own homework is the very reason that open houses work.  The buyers need access before they have even hired a Realtor...why not be the Realtor that they meet and like at an open house?

I agree that generally speaking, open houses don't sell that particular house, but there is no better way to meed legitimate buyers and sellers (don't forget...sellers might be out there to see how you do and open to decide who they are going to use)!

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) almost 8 years ago

Ken - Great post. I generally don't like doing open houses. I guess I need to change my attitude and have fun doing them.

Posted by Robert Schwabe, Orange Park Real Estate (EXP Realty) almost 8 years ago

Hi Ken... I met one of my most loyal clients through an Open House.  You never know who will walk in the door!

Posted by Steve Shatsky almost 8 years ago

Ken I am certainly in the camp that can see for my own eyes that an open house is one of the least effective marketing efforts. Serious buyers are most often with Realtors. If someone truly wants to look at a home they are going to schedule a showing. Will not holding an open house cause the property NOT to sell - NO! I wrote a blog a while ago about this subject...Public open houses are a waste of time for sellers!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 8 years ago

Ken- Although I have only ever sold a listing from an open house once, I have had MULTIPLE buyers who I met at my open houses and have closed transactions.

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Hi Ellie, Bill, Steve, Robert, and Paula.  Thanks for stopping by.

Hmmm.  We are certainly getting some different views on the topic.

Not surprising....

Thanks again,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) almost 8 years ago

Ken - thanks for your posts on open houses - gives some good food for thought - getting visitors is the key - I'm trying to get attention via craigslist (gotta like that site, my namesake) - I did this ad this morning trying to see how much attention craigslist might bring to an open house 

Posted by Craig Daniels, Technology Instructor/Project Consultant (Tech Training for You!) almost 8 years ago

Ken, you are a better man than I!   I have never sold a home from an open house......I just don't like spending my days sitting in a house hoping and waiting.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) almost 8 years ago

Ken - Open Houses depending which market are you're in.  In my area most homes are sold through online advertisement and web presence. I do my marketing based on its effectiveness and open houses is in my opinion and from research the least effective way.

Posted by Petra Norris, Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale (Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Ken - In my opinion, it's just marketing and building new contacts. There has not been much success in the last 5 years. except the only lead which I got in June. It was a listing !  

Posted by Sham Pathania (Save Max Real Estate Inc. Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

The only folks that attend my open houses are people who are looking for something to keep them busy for an afternoon.  What a huge waste of time.  My clients aren't to hip on having the "public" into their homes.  Open houses are for the agent IMHO.

Posted by Fran Gatti, Managing Principal Broker - RE/MAX Integrity (RE/MAX Integrity) almost 8 years ago

I have at least two Open Houses per month and have for as long as I have been selling real estate (since 1998).  In all that time, I have sold many, many properties to people I have met at an Open House but I have only sold two properties that I was holding Open.

The thing I find fascinating is that clients now have an expectation that Open Houses are going to be my primary marketing tool.  They have gotten that expectation from HGTV.  What I keep asking is where is it in these United States that Open Houses work the way they are portrayed to work on TV?

Posted by Judith Abbott (Coldwell Banker Residential) almost 8 years ago

In 12yr I only ever sold one home from an open house but open houses have been a great resource for buyer leads and even some listings . My best friend is someone I met at one of my open house and now my and his family are very close

Posted by Steven Levengood (Remax Cornerstone) over 7 years ago

Hi Steven, Judith, Fran, Sham, Petra, Damon and Craig.  Thanks so much for reading my posts!

Bottom line is sellers want us to have them.  Give them what they want!

It is great for business too!  Judith, way to go!  Two a month!  Great...

Thanks again all,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 7 years ago

Great blog. I find it true that my open houses usually don't sell the home that is having an open house. However, they have helped market me and get listings with other neighbors. I have also received leads from them that have converted into closings on other properties.

Posted by Alan Atchley (Atchley International Realty, LLC) over 7 years ago

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