Does an Open House Help Sell a Home?

Barbara Bellesi Zito
Updated February 22, 2022
Family in yard with for sale sign
Photo: valentinrussanov / Getty Images


  • Open houses are still an important home-selling tool, even in the digital age.

  • Buyers can get a feel for the space—both the good and the bad—through an open house.

  • Open houses help to distinguish serious buyers from casual viewers.

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In a hot real estate market, homes receive offers—and launch bidding wars—soon after it hits the local listings. Some of these offers may roll in without the buyers seeing the home in person. It’s enough to make sellers wonder: Do I need to host an open house to sell my home?

The answer is usually yes. There’s no doubt that digital technology has forever changed the real estate market. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) reports that 97% of home searches begin online. However, the more people who visit your home during an open house, the more people who may make an offer on it. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why open houses remain a vital home-selling tool.

Open Houses Give Buyers a Feel for the Space

Yes, more and more people are buying homes sight unseen. But buyer’s remorse exists in real estate, and that’s why house hunters still flock to open houses and private in-person tours. Open houses give potential buyers the opportunity to walk through the home and determine whether they could imagine living there.

That’s also why home staging is an important part of the selling process—it helps people see the potential of each room. Plus, touring the home in person allows potential buyers to get a feel for the space and what it has to offer.

Open Houses Allow Buyers to See the Pros and Cons

Couple measuring doorway in house
Photo: alvarez / Getty Images

A picture is worth a thousand words, but buyers want more than that when it comes to homeownership. Online listings aim to capture a property in the best possible light, which is why the upgraded granite kitchen countertops and that spectacular soaker tub in the main bathroom are shown front and center. 

But buyers need to see the not-so-great parts about a house in order to make an informed decision. Unlike listing photos, open houses allow potential buyers to peek into every corner and ask questions about drawbacks like a damp unfinished basement, a tiny bedroom closet, and cracks in the foundation.

Open Houses Establish a Sense of Urgency 

There’s something about seeing a date for an open house in a real estate listing that makes buyers snap to attention. The thought of other people touring and potentially snagging their dream house sparks the fire of competition in motivated home buyers. 

While an open house can attract “lookie-loos” who are not quite ready or able to purchase a home, they can also push serious buyers to submit a competitive offer sooner. Plus, a potential buyer may notice the heavy foot traffic at your open house and feel motivated to make a final decision.

Open Houses Give Sellers an Idea of What Buyers Want 

If a seller is hoping to sell their home without making any changes, they will find out at the open house whether or not that was a good idea. Agents typically hear comments—both good and bad—from visitors about the space, which they offer as feedback to the seller. 

Of course, if offers start rolling in after the open house, then sellers will likely not need to complete any work on the home. But suppose offers don’t come in and there were murmurs during the open house about old appliances, outdated finishes, or other issues. In that case, a seller might feel motivated to make changes for a more successful open house in the near future.

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