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(Updated November 2016)

Holding listed properties “open for inspection” has been a key feature in the real estate professional’s marketing toolkit for decades. In Salesmen’s Success Stories, a collection of marketing ideas published by the National Association in 1963, a REALTOR® from Ohio offered his insights about the value of open houses:

Holding houses open consistently, Sunday after Sunday, can be very rewarding and profitable. You can attract more prospects by investing several hours in this manner than you can in perhaps three or four weeks by the conventional appointment method. Additional benefits are the exposure it gives a salesman to buyers and owners of real estate and the opportunity you have to discuss other properties with them. Last but not least it will sell the property in question.”

The overall goals of an open house haven’t changed much over the years, but the methods for making the property look its best and attracting potential clients are constantly evolving. This Field Guide offers resources to make open house events worthwhile, innovative, and safe for REALTORS®, home sellers, and potential buyers. (R. Carlson, Information Specialist)


E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.


The Value of Open Houses

How to Make the Most of open houses, (Inman, Aug. 24, 2016).

Overcoming Open House Objections, (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 2016). 

5 Ways an Open House Can Actually Hurt Your Home Sale, (Investopedia Blog, Feb. 24, 2016).

3 Properties Where Open Houses Work, (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 2016). 

An Open House Disguised as a Dinner Party, (New York Times, Sept. 25, 2015). 

Should You Still Be Doing Open Houses?, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 24, 2015).

Open Houses: Powerful or Pointless?, (RISMedia, Aug. 7, 2015).

A Brief History of Opening Our Homes to Total Strangers (aka the Open House), (realtor.com®, Apr. 21, 2015).

The great open house debate, (Realty Times, Jan. 3, 2014).

Investigating the sales value of open houses, (Origination News, May 2013). E

Why do REALTORS® love open houses so much?, (realtor.com®, Apr. 16, 2013).


Tips for Success

3 Surefire Ways to Make Your Open House Stand Out, (YPN Blog, National Association of REALTORS®, Oct. 18, 2016). 

Hosting a successful open house, (Albuquerque Journal, Aug. 7, 2016).

4 Tips for Your Best Open House, (Realty Times, July 14, 2016).

4 Challenging Visitors You Get at Open Houses, (REALTOR® Magazine, July 13, 2016). 

3 Keys to a Successful Open House, (U.S. News & World Report, June 21, 2016).

A Seller’s Guide to a Winning Open House, (Realty Times, Apr. 27, 2016).

3 tips to crushing it at your next open house, (Inman, Dec. 7, 2015).

14 Steps to a Flawless Open House, (U.S. News & World Report, May 21, 2015).

6 Creative Open House Ideas to Sell Your Home Fast, (REALTOR®.com, Aug. 5, 2014).

Tips for Hosting a Creative Open House, (RISMedia, July 28, 2014).

6 ways to turn off buyers at open houses, (REALTOR® Magazine Daily Real Estate News, June 11, 2014).

How to have an effective open house, (Realty Times, May 29, 2014).

How to market your open house, (realtor.com®, Mar. 17, 2014).

Making the most of your open house (downtime), (YPN Lounge, Jan 2, 2014).


Preparing for an Open House

Is an Open House a Must-Do Step When Selling Your Home?, (U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 8, 2015).

4 Steps to Staging for an Open House, (HGTV Blog, June 3, 2015).

Homebuyer’s perspective: How to approach an open house, (realtor.com®, Mar. 18, 2014).

How to declutter before an open house, (realtor.com®, Mar. 17, 2014).

Repair and update your home before an open house, (realtor.com®, Mar. 17, 2014).

Open house: Easy steps to go above and beyond, (realtor.com®, Mar. 17, 2014).

How to prepare for an open house, (HGTV, 2014).


Open House Safety & Security

Don't Show Fear to Shady Open House Guests, (REALTOR® Magazine, Oct. 2016). 

How to Get Your Home Ready for an Open House: Security Edition, (REALTOR®.com, Mar. 27, 2015).

Safety at open houses, (REALTOR® Safety Resources Kit).

Securing prescription drugs during open houses, (The Member’s Edge, May 12, 2014).

10 tips for holding a safe open house, (REALTOR® Safety Resources Kit, May 2012).

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


Field Guides & More

These Field Guides in the Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Preparing & Staging a House for Sale

Field Guide to REALTOR® Safety

Field Guide to Buying & Selling During the Holidays

Information Services 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.