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Do Open Houses Sell Homes

This is a questions that every real estate agent has been asked at one time or another in their career.

One of the most heated debates in real estate comes into play when Realtors® talk about whether open houses work to sell a home.

There are two camps on this hotly debated topic – those that say open houses are a vital part of marketing and those that say they are completely unnecessary.

Let’s get one thing out on the table right away. Open houses are a waste of time for a seller and entirely unnecessary to sell a home in the digital age.

According to the National Association of Realtors via Investopedia, only three percent of home buyers visit open houses. Unless your home is in a high-traffic area, the numbers don’t appear to be in favor of the home seller.

When someone decides they are in the market to buy a home what do they do? If you are thinking they get on their computer and look at homes, then you are 100 percent correct.

Current studies show that Gen Xer’s and millennials are the largest generation buying homes today. They’ve grown up tech-savvy and as home buyers, they’re doing things differently. It’s all about the internet.

When they become really serious, do you know what else they do? If you are guessing they call a real estate agent you are right again! Buyers always call a real estate agent when they are in the market to purchase a home. They pick up the phone, call the agent, and say I would like you to show me the home on Yankee Hill.



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Open Houses "Work for Who"?


So when someone asks the question do open houses work, my immediate thought is always “work for who”? You see the dirty little secret is that open houses work great for real estate agents!

They are the perfect opportunity for a real estate agent to shake hands and meet people. Not everyone who walks in the door is a buyer for that home, but they could be a “prospect” for other houses.

This is why real estate agents do open houses. Don’t kid yourself believing otherwise, despite what some of agents want you to think. Open houses are the perfect place to meet prospects for other properties.



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Open House Means Anyone Can Come In


Frankly, it doesn’t mean anything as long as you don’t care who walks through your home. What many sellers forget about is the fact that an open house means precisely that – open for ANYONE to come through the door!



An open invitation means you will see some or all of these people coming by:

  • Neighbors come out to be supportive and because often they’re curious about your home
  • Those who are UNQUALIFIED to pay anything close to your asking price.
  • Other real estate agents come out to see homes new to the market.
  • Agents that may have lost your business also will come to see how things are progressing.
  • If you are really unlucky, you may end up with a thief walking through the door.

Are these the kind of people you want prancing through your home? The real estate agent hosting the open house is certainly not going to be at the front door screening people!


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Theft Potential During An Open House


Not all visitors to the open house may be there for honest reasons. Thieves have been known to attend open houses, posing as prospective buyers. They may do this to check out the house, your belongings, and the home’s security. Some thieves may take advantage of a busy open house to steal small items easily concealed in a purse, bag, or pocket. Here are the things you should put away if you have an open house.

  • Your keys
  • Your money
  • Jewelry
  • Guns or other firearms
  • Cell Phones
  • Laptops
  • Paintings
  • Artwork
  • Vases
  • Nostalgia
  • Any heirlooms
  • Anything else easily obtainable.

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Are Open Houses Effective


So really how effective are open houses? The answer often is not very. With home buyers going online and the headache of preparing for an open house and the fact that less than three percent of home buyers actually attend an open house I would put my efforts into other areas.

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How the Internet Has Changed Home Buying and Selling

The Pew Research Center reports that nine in ten Americans use the internet. In addition, about three-quarters of that population owns a laptop or desktop computer, roughly 50-percent owns a tablet, and 81-percent of all Americans own a smartphone.

As a society, we are plugged in and that has helped change how consumers research everything, even real estate. Most buyers begin their research for a new home on the internet.



According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 50-percent of buyers now find their home online. They can search for neighborhoods, school districts, proximity to parks, shopping, and major routes. Doing this online instead of driving around saves time and money.

The internet benefits home sellers as well. Listing online requires less of a time commitment, and may save money. It can cost less to list online and you don’t have to deal with an open house.