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Are open houses a necessity in today’s market?

by Diana Dietz on

The increase of Internet listings with video and multiple photos is quickly making open houses more of a preference, rather than a necessity for selling a home.

“There are still buyers out there that do not want to be tied to agents right away and they are searching the Internet for open houses,” said Realtor® Terry Kirkwood of Radnor. “I make sure all my open houses are on all the Internet sites.”

In 1995, two percent of home buyers used the Internet to look for a home, according to the National Association of Realtors®. NAR has reported that over 90 percent of home buyers today shop online. Many Realtors® now refuse to hold open houses, considering them a misuse of time. And many sellers now prefer to open their doors to serious buyers only.

“Opens don’t sell houses, rarely generate serious buyer prospects and can result in theft,” said Realtor® Andrew Wetzel of Havertown. “Today’s initial showings happen online and serious buyers would prefer a ‘private showing.’ The proof in the pudding is that many new agents won’t waste their Sunday sitting for a couple of hours.”

Since MLS listings began being featured online around 1996, the transparency of homes for sale has improved considerably. Through the use of multiple photos, virtual tours and video, home buyers can look inside each home without ever setting foot on the property.

“Many Realtors® make use of open houses when the normal advertising has not worked to secure prospective buyers to look at the property,” said Realtor® Conrad Vanino of Shillington. “In many cases, it is good as it allows the Realtor® that is holding the open house to meet prospective customers that may become clients.”

Without an open house, qualified buyers still may need to make arrangements see a home with the assistance of a real estate professional. In the end, running an open house is a matter of preference, not a necessity, in selling the home.


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Comments (5)


  • Nick Vandekar    January 11, 2012 | 1:02 pm

    Have to say, the majority of our properties last year sold as a result of open houses. There are many buyers out there who do not wish to be connected with an agent whilst looking, and prefer to attend open houses rather than schedule a showing with an agent. Whilst buyers are looking on line this is only a “first showing” and the open house allows potential buyers to visit without pressure and see if the house meets their needs.

    Reply to Nick Vandekar
    • William Smulick    August 18, 2015 | 7:55 am

      I agree
      With all the internet and online marketing today’s consumers are leery of of contacting an agent to see a particular property and the potential obligations that may arise. They feel more relaxed to at an open house.

      Reply to William Smulick
  • Tyler Wagner    January 11, 2012 | 2:25 pm

    While I’m a big fan of all the incredible technologies that allow you to market a home online, nothing beats walking through a home. I find every market is different in regards to the popularity and success of open houses, however it offers a great opportunity to help promote the homes features and the location of home. I’ve sold many homes through word of mouth connections that began from a neighbor or friend walking through an open house. Additionally, because of technology, face time in front of potential customers is much more limited than it once was. To have a couple minutes to speak with the public in person has truly made an impact on my business. While it may not be a necessity, I highly recommend Open Houses as both a great marketing strategy and lead generation opportunity.

    Reply to Tyler Wagner
  • Elise West Greenberg    January 12, 2012 | 7:41 am

    I couldn’t disagree with this article more. I find open houses to be an excellent tool as a listing agent to get a “read” on my house to make sure I’m marketing and showing the house properly. I’ve sold many a house via open houses.

    Reply to Elise West Greenberg
  • Becky Nguyen    August 18, 2015 | 11:52 am

    With the advancement of technology today, buyers are shopping online, identifying those properties that have potential interests, and then determining which ones are open. Their time is quite limited, and they prefer to go on their own, at their own pace, etc. Buyers turn to their agents to guide them through the negotiations, the paperwork, inspections, etc. Hosting open houses are an integral part of inviting our newer generations into the home that may most likely become their next home.

    Reply to Becky Nguyen

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