Table of Contents

6 min read Aug 29, 2023

What Is an Open House and How Does It Work?

An open house is an event where homeowners invite potential buyers to showcase their homes. The goal is to attract multiple buyers to their properties within a short timeframe.

Open houses are organized to highlight the unique features of a listed property. It allows buyers to envision themselves living in a furnished house. Open houses are particularly helpful for first-time home buyers who aren’t familiar with the home-buying process.

In this blog, you will gain insight into the various aspects of open houses and their advantages when you’re looking for a new home.

Features of Open Houses

  • Buyers Gain Firsthand Insights: It empowers buyers with knowledge about the property. It also helps buyers to make informed decisions.
  • No Need for a Buyer’s Agent: Buyers need not attend open house with an agent. They can even explore the properties without feeling pressure to purchase the home.
  • Convenient for House Hunters: Open houses often take place on weekends or during specified hours. This makes it convenient for buyers to visit multiple properties in a single day.

What Is an Open House in Real Estate?

An open house is an important part of your quest when finding your new house. At this stage, the seller along and their agent invite prospective buyers to explore the home they have listed.

Buyers gain firsthand exposure of the property. They are also able to evaluate the neighborhood, schools, amenities, etc., in the area. Which then helps them make an informed purchasing decision.

While hosting an open house, the seller’s real estate agent allocates specific hours for public visits. The buyer doesn’t need any prior appointment before visiting it.

How Do Open Houses Work?

Buyers can move freely around the home, examining all its appliances, nooks and crannies, and interior spaces. It aims to get buyers interested in the property. During an open house, the listing agent allows potential buyers to examine the home freely.

Agents usually stage the home to impress buyers. Sometimes they even enlist the help of home staging companies to give the property a more professional look. They schedule open houses on weekends to increase the number of visitors. All interested individuals can access the property.

The listing agent shares details about the property and collects the details of interested parties. The agent is also responsible for collecting constructive feedback from the visitors.

Open houses also create competition among buyers. They evaluate the property and make an offer quickly to get the best deal on the house.

The Pros and Cons of Open Houses

Open houses have certain advantages and disadvantages for both buyers as well sellers:

For Buyers

Open houses usually cater to the interest of the buyer but they also have their own advantages and drawbacks.


  • Needs No Prior Commitment Required: Buyers can explore properties at their own pace without any obligation to purchase them. Additionally, they can do this with or without the presence of a one-on-one real estate agent showing.
  • Helps to Figure Out Your Housing Needs: Open houses allow buyers to compare different types of houses directly. This can help them better understand what features, layouts, and neighborhoods they prefer.


  • Demands a Lot of Time: Buyers typically lack prior information about the specifics of the houses they visit. It can be a significant waste of time if they tour a house that doesn’t meet their preferences.
  • Provides Limited Home Information: Sellers and their agents may not reveal all pertinent information during open houses to everyone. This can result in buyers being left with unanswered questions.

For Sellers

Similar to buyers, open houses often address the sellers’ needs. Here also they have their own advantages and drawbacks.


  • Attracts More Buyers Quickly: Open houses increase the exposure of the house. They attract a larger number of potential buyers who may not have scheduled private showings.
  • Provides Feedback: Open houses provide an opportunity to receive immediate feedback from potential buyers. This help sellers make necessary adjustments to the property’s presentation.
  • Increases Competition Among Buyers: The presence of multiple buyers at an open house can create a sense of competition. This leads to higher offers and ultimately a quicker sale of the house.


  • Disrupts Your Daily Life: Owners have to vacate their homes when people visit for the event.
  • Attracts Unqualified Buyer visits: Open houses may attract individuals who are not financially qualified to purchase the property. This leads to unrealistic expectations and a waste of the seller’s time.
  • Increases Home Security Concerns: Allowing strangers into your home can pose security risks. While most attendees are genuinely interested buyers, there is a chance of theft or intrusion.

Do You Need a Realtor to Attend an Open House?

No, you don’t need a realtor to go to an open house. Open houses are essentially for buyers who want to explore a home without committing to purchase it. 

If you get a realtor with you to an open house, you can benefit from increased experience about the neighborhood. Additionally, you can learn about the estimated closing cost. They may even give you information about the previous sales of the property.

How to Prepare for Open Houses?

As a seller, staging your home is important. Sellers need to clean and possibly rearrange furniture before hosting an open house. Use fresh flowers, fix scratch marks, and remove personal things. The goal should be to show a neutral home.

As a buyer, you should also prepare for an open house. Carry along with you your mortgage letter and other documents your agent might require for paperwork. 

You can even create a checklist to compare the homes you’ve visited in prior open houses.

What Is Open House by Appointment

An open house by appointment is not accessible to everyone. Realtors allot specific time slots for each visitor. You need to first contact the realtor or seller to book your slot. The next steps are similar to regular open houses.

Some complex buildings will only have open houses by appointment to respect the residents’ privacy.

What Is a Broker’s Open House?

A broker’s open house is different from a regular one. It’s a tool to introduce the property to the industry professionals in a community. It’s open only for real estate pros, like realtors or buyer agents, and not the public. Various local agents can visit the property and give feedback on it.

Broker’s open house helps agents to market a home. This takes place only on weekdays when agents are free.

Final Word

Selling or buying a home is time-consuming. Luckily, there are many ways to find the right buyers, and an open house is one of them. Open houses create buzz for listing and can generate competitive offers.

Open houses also let potential buyers evaluate homes without pressure. However, before you visit your next open house, we recommend that you understand the different aspects of open houses. This can help you make an informed decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do open houses last?

Open house events have different timelines. It could be just an hour or an entire morning. They usually don't last all day, but some brokers prefer longer open houses.

How do you find an open house to attend?

You can find open houses in a few places. Visit the brokerage's site, social media handles, or local event pages. Also, real estate apps help you find homes with upcoming open house events.

Should you go to an open house before making an offer?

Yes, attending an open house before making an offer is a smart decision. It helps you to check the property, compare different properties, talk to the agent, and know the neighborhood.

What should you serve at an open house?

It’s totally up to you. It’s not mandatory to serve refreshments at an open house. But it's a kind gesture to offer coffee, tea, water, and cookies. You can also offer mocktails or cocktails with snacks at specialized open houses.

Can anyone go to an open house?

Yes, anyone can visit an open house without any prior appointment with the homeowner.

Open House

Save $20

On Silver & up plans

Use Coupon Code:

Need help? Call us on
(844) 448-0110