Are Open Houses Worthwhile?

Posted by on July 7, 2016 in Buying, Market, Open House, Selling | 0 comments

Are Open Houses Worthwhile?

Open House by Stuart Miles

Are Open Houses Worthwhile?

When I list a home for sale, I often get asked if open houses are worthwhile. My answer varies, depending on the property. There are a lot of reasons why open houses can be a great marketing tool. There are also some reasons you may not want to have your house open to the public.

First, there are two types of open houses. Broker open houses and Public open houses. Broker open houses are for real estate agents. Typically, a listing agent will have some sort of food or drink and invite other agents to come view the property. These can be as simple as coffee and pastries for a two-hour period or as elaborate as an evening event with cocktails, servers, and a band. I have found that these can be very effective for high end properties. I will let you in on a secret. When I was a brand new agent, my mentor advised me to go to as many broker open houses a week as possible. Not only was I getting market knowledge, I was getting free food! With that in mind, don’t be fooled into thinking that every agent that attends a broker open house has a potential buyer for the property. They may just be there for the food!


  1. Other agents can give their feedback on your property and may save you from making a mistake.
  2. An agent may come and realize that the property would fit one of their client’s that they would not have thought of, based on the written criteria alone.
  3. May be a safer alternative to a Public open house.


  1. You have to have your property in immaculate shape. Agents are the worst critics.
  2. You may have to be out of your property for an extended period of time.
  3. Depending on the time of year, time of day, weather, etc. there may be little to no attendees even despite the amount effort or money spent.

Public open houses are typically held during the day on the weekend. These are advertised to the public in a variety of ways. A listing agent may put signs out to direct passersby to your property as well as advertise on the MLS, publications and/or mailers. This type of open house invites anyone into your property. This is a great way to get a lot of exposure for your property if the property is in a hot location or a location with a lot of drive-by traffic. Depending on the size of the property, you may ask that more than one agent is present for safety of valuables.


  1. More people view your property in a concentrated time period, therefore, possibly eliminating the amount of single showings and length of time on the market.
  2. Competition is a good thing. Legitimate buyers, may feel more sense of urgency to write an offer.
  3. People who may not have thought about buying now could stumble in on your “perfect” property and decide to make a move on it.


  1. If the open house is well attended, your personal belongings could be at risk, due to lack of an agent’s ability to supervise many lookers at once.
  2. A lot of attendees may just be neighbors or “lookie-loo’s” with no intention of buying your property or any property.
  3. Depending on date, time, weather, location, etc. there may be few attendees despite marketing efforts or money spent.


One note: If you are holding your own open house or you are asking your real estate agent to hold one, safety should be taken seriously. Strangers will be entering the property. If your gut tells you something’s not right, it’s probably not. Keep a cell phone in hand at all times and be mindful of the situation.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles via

About Michelle Froedge
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur baby, Tyler, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.


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