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3 Reasons Why Open Houses Work

Kevin Graham5 minute-read
PUBLISHED: February 27, 2021 | UPDATED: July 22, 2021


The world of real estate has certainly come a long way in the last 15 years or so. Online listings have completely changed the game. With so many people browsing on their computers and tablets from the comfort of their couch, first instinct would tell you that the open house has seen its time to come and go.

While having excellent photos and an online presence is important, there are also some big advantages to not closing the door on this old school method of home sales. After looking at why they still work, we’ll go over some of the best ways to market your open house. Before we get there though, let’s cover some questions you might have at first blush.

Do Open Houses Sell Homes?

An open house alone isn’t going to sell a home in most cases. The best way to really evaluate a house is probably not to be walking through at the same time as 20 other total strangers.

Are Open Houses Worth it?

Although open houses don’t sell homes on their own, they serve a very important purpose: eyeballs. One thing they are really good for is getting a feel for a home. Buyers who might be looking at multiple houses in the day can figure out whether they want to schedule a showing through their real estate agent.

The more potential buyers you can get to walk through our home, the bigger the pool of people who might make an offer. This can’t be underestimated.

Also, the people who go to open houses are at various stages of the home buying journey. Many of them may be walking through to see what their options are and not have a real estate agent yet. In addition to showing the home to a big target market, you can also gain leads on new clients.

Why Have An Open House?

There are a few reasons why an open house can help sell a home. Let’s run through them.

Traffic Is Key

The biggest thing an open house can bring you is people. The heavier the traffic, the more potential serious buyers who will schedule a showing later on. There will always be people for whom the photos on the website aren’t enough to really get an idea of whether they like it.

Actually being in the space gives people a sense for what the home is really like rather than relying solely on pictures.

More Relaxing For Potential Buyers

If you’re a buyer looking at homes, you can hit several open houses in a single day. With a formal showing, you set up a time with your agent and the house has to be available whenever you’re planning to look at it. There’s just a lot of logistics.

With an open house, buyers might be more willing to go look at a house they were on the fence about whether to make an offer on. It gives them a chance to get their foot in the door without having to set up an appointment. They can gauge interest before moving forward.

Prospect For Clients

One of the things that’s great about open houses is that while you’re showing the house, you have a lot of people who, in terms of their relationship with real estate agents, are single and ready to mingle. They don’t have an agent yet and you could potentially earn their business.

Even if you can’t sell them that particular house, there are relationships that you’re always building. You never know what might happen down the line when they’re looking for an agent. This is especially true if they’re just beginning to look at houses to see what they like and what might be available.

How To Promote An Open House

Part of the reason there’s a perception that open houses aren’t as effective in the home selling process may have something to do with how they’re marketed. The traditional method of marketing an open house is to send an email blast to all the other real estate agents in the area. This can be somewhat helpful because if they see your email and have particular clients whom they think might be interested in your house, you might get a showing out of it. The problem is we all get a lot of email and there’s no guarantee it’ll get seen.

The good news is that buyers are on real estate sites like looking at homes all the time now, so you no longer have to rely on an agent network or word-of-mouth to get your listings out there. We have some new school methods to go over that will help you out.

Update Your Listing

Some of the real estate listing sites have open house sections. If you mark your listing as having an upcoming open house on a given date, it’ll go in that section so that people can plan their house viewing schedule.

Get Social

One of the things you should do is some social marketing. If you don’t already have one, set up a Facebook page. In addition to providing content relevant to home buyers, Facebook allows you to create full galleries, so you can post the showcase photos you’re already using on your page so that you meet people where they are with your content.

You can also create a listing on Facebook Marketplace, which is free. There’s a special home sales category and you can create a detailed property listing. If you have the budget, there’s the option to spend some money on an ad listing in order to boost your listing and have it appear more prominently in the feed, but you don’t need to do this necessarily.

Purely because of the capability to add many photos, it’s a good idea to start with Facebook, but there are all sorts of ways to leverage social media without spending money.

Make It An Experience

People are going to be attending a lot of open houses on any given Saturday, so you’re going to want to make your houses stand out. By doing a little bit of event marketing, you can create a memorable experience and show off ways to use the space at the same time.

For example, if the space has a kitchen with an island and looks really nice, maybe you do a cookie decorating exhibition. If there’s a great backyard that you can make look like a peaceful oasis, maybe you set up a meditation course.

Anything to get people in the door and have them remember your house above the others will help. From a seller perspective, it definitely helps to show one idea for the way a space could be used. It’s also a bonus for you because you’re able to attract potential clients and show them your unique take on things.

Now that you’re looking at an open house in a new light, go out there and wow the crowds! Got an open house secret to share with others? Leave a comment below. For even more tips and tricks, check out our real estate agent resources.

1 Quicken Loans® and Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC are separate operating subsidiaries of Rock Holdings Inc. Each company is a separate legal entity operated and managed through its own management and governance structure as required by its state of incorporation, and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

Kevin Graham

Kevin Graham is a Senior Blog Writer for Rocket Companies. He specializes in economics, mortgage qualification and personal finance topics. As someone with cerebral palsy spastic quadriplegia that requires the use of a wheelchair, he also takes on articles around modifying your home for physical challenges and smart home tech. Kevin has a BA in Journalism from Oakland University. Prior to joining Rocket Mortgage he freelanced for various newspapers in the Metro Detroit area.