Despite what consumers may think, open houses are less effective at selling homes than in the past. In fact, less than 1% of home buyers actually found their home through an open house. (*statistics provided by NAR, 20112 profile of buyers and sellers. ) However, there are still benefits of having them that could make it well worth the effort.


Buyers today see less value of an open house. Before the "net", the easiest way for a buyer to see the inside of a home was to actually go in person. Therefore, attending a Sunday open house was critical.  In fact, this is how we bought our current home. We looked in the Sunday newspaper, saw which homes were open, and went to see them.

Now, with so much information available on line, potential buyers are doing a ton of research on homes using their laptops or even smart phones. They are basically eliminating homes they see on line that in the past, they would have likely seen by attending an open house.

The role of the listing agent acting as the sole "gatekeeper" of getting into a home has also changed. The evolution of buyer's agency, where a buyer can have their own representation, makes buyers less dependent on going to a Sunday open house.

Also, the lifestyle of today's buyer is very hectic and many don't want to spend their time driving around seeing homes. Therefore,  the buyer's agent ends up doing a lot of the leg work and screening of homes in advance. When a home is deemed worth a look, the buyer's agent schedules the showing for a day/time that is convenient to the buyers, not necessarily on a Sunday.


Open houses still have their place. From a listing agent's perspective, they owe it to their sellers to make sure they are doing everything possible to market their home. Even if only a few people show up, it's still better exposure for the home then doing nothing.

A listing agent can also grow their business by having open houses.  Many buyers who actually attend a Sunday open house are not quite ready to buy.  They are more casual lookers, typically 6-18 months away from making a buying decision. However, they will buy at some point and this is a great opportunity for the agent holding the home open to earn new business. Basically, the open house is like bait on a hook to reel in buyer leads.

It's also good for a busy buyer's agent. If an agent is with one set of buyers on a Sunday, and another buyer wants to see a particular home, sending them to a home that is open makes things convenient.

Also, although it's hard for me to believe, some people simply don't like real estate agents. There are a small percentage of buyers who will refuse to work with a buyer's agent, but they still want to see homes. These buyers end up utilizing the Sunday open house to find a home and work directly with the listing agent.

For the most part, an open house won't likely sell that particular home. However, they still serve a purpose for acting as a catalyst to bring buyers and sellers together.