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Field Guide to Open Houses

(Updated February 2013)

NAR's 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that 45% of all buyers used open houses as a source in their home search process. This figure suggests the value of open houses even in the internet era. For REALTORS®, safety at open houses is also an important concern. The articles, links and statistics in this field guide will help REALTORS® increase their open house success as well as provide tips on personal safety. (D. Foligno, Project Coordinator)


Open House Safety

  • Work with another person
  • Ensure your cell phone is fully charged and accessible
  • Explore all escape routes in the home
  • Have all visitors sign in upon arrival
  • Always walk behind the prospect
  • Avoid attics and basements
  • Call your office every hour
  • Ask neighbors to be watchful

Source: REALTOR® Safety—Safety at Open Houses


Open House Tips

Open houses: Weighing risks versus rewards, (NorthJersey.com, Oct. 2, 2011)

Strategies for Acing the Open House, (New York Times, Aug. 5, 2011)

Is an open house a waste of time? (MSN.com, May 30, 2011).

Brokers Divide on Utility of Public Open Houses, (New York Times, May 12, 2010).

A Buyer's Guide to Open House Etiquette, (OpenHouse.com).

Brokers Get Creative at High-End Open Houses, (New York Times, Apr. 28, 2010).

Open Houses: 6 Ways to Capture Clients on the Spot, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 2009).


Preparing for an Open House

Preparing for an open house, (REALTOR® Magazine).

Open houses in down markets, (Realty Times, July 12, 2011).

How to prepare for an open house, (HGTV).

Draw More Buyers to Your Open Houses, (REALTOR® Magazine, Feb. 5, 2009).

Hello, nosy neighbors and looky-loos! (Boston Globe, Apr. 13, 2008).

30 can't-miss home staging tips, (HGTV).

4 Steps to staging for an open house, (OpenHouse.com).


Security at an Open House

10 steps to a safe open house, (Inman News, June 23, 2011).

Don't become a crime victim when you show your home to potential buyers, (Los Angeles Times, Apr. 24, 2011).

Personal safety guide, (Washington Real Estate Safety Council).


eBooks & Other Resources

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central.  Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10.  Call Information Central at 800.874.6500 for assistance.

7 Safety Habits That Could Save Your Life, (Adobe eReader)

Home Seller's Checklist, (Adobe eReader)

Home Staging for Dummies, (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Home Staging That Works, (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

House Selling for Dummies, Adobe eReader)

Staged to Sell (or Keep), Adobe eReader)

Staging to Sell, Adobe eReader)

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to REALTOR® Safety

InfoCentral Blog


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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.