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.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.

Information from NAR

Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS® (National Association of REALTORS®, Jun. 22, 2020)

Sixty-Five Percent of Those Who Attended an Open House within the Last Year Would Do So Now without Hesitation (National Association of REALTORS®, Jun. 1, 2020)

Open House Guidance During COVID-19 (National Association of REALTORS®, Mar. 30, 2020)

Open Houses and COVID-19

Boulevard Realty Broker Says No More Open Houses (Houston Chronicle, Jun. 26, 2020) E

Tips for Organizing Safe Real Estate Showings during Covid-19 (Realty Biz News, May 30, 2020)

Here’s What Open Houses Look Like during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Boston.com, May 15, 2020)

The Value of Open Houses

Should We Ditch Open Houses? (HousingWire, Jun. 30, 2020)

Livestream Open Houses are Trending, but Will They Stick around? (Real Estate, Jun. 16, 2020)

Once Fancy Affairs, Open Houses around Houston are Now Stripped Down, but Surviving (Houston Chronicle, Jun. 12, 2020)

What's to Become of the Open House? (Millionacres, May 26, 2020)

What’s the Difference Between a Broker’s Tour and an Open House? Are They Effective? (San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 12, 2020)

Do You Need an Open House to Sell Your Home? (U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 3, 2020)

REALTOR® Open House Events: Media Talking Points (National Association of REALTORS®)

Media Hooks for REALTOR® Open Houses (National Association of REALTORS®)

Tips for Success

Tips for a Successful Open House (the balance, May 1, 2020)

Open Houses Go Virtual: Inside the Latest Digital Twist For Selling Homes (HomeLight, Apr. 29, 2020)

How to Host a Real Estate Open House (Fit Small Business, Apr. 14, 2020)

How to Engage in Virtual Open Houses (Blue Matter, Mar. 23, 2020)

17 Open House Ideas That Will Actually Get You Leads (The Close, Jan. 6, 2020)

Take Your Open House to the Next Level (HGTV)

10 Tricks for Hosting an Open House That Make Buyers Say “OMG, Wow!” (HouseLogic)

Preparing for an Open House

Ask These 4 Questions before You Go to an Open House This Summer (Apartment Therapy, Jul. 6, 2020)

Real Estate Marketing Open House Ideas to Grow Your Business (BombBomb, Jun. 29, 2020)

How to Prepare for an Open House (Millionacres, Jun. 23, 2020)

21 Open House Ideas that Will Actually Get You Leads (The Close, Jun. 17, 2020)

Ready to Sell? Here’s How to Refresh Your Home during Lockdown (The New York Times, Jun. 2, 2020)

10 Things to Bring With You to an Open House (Bob Vila, May 29, 2020)

The Pivot: How Top Producers Are Using Virtual Open Houses in 2020 (The Close, May 7, 2020)

Checklist for Your Virtual Open House (AskHomesale, Apr. 24, 2020)

How to Prepare for an Open House (The Preferred Realty, Feb. 25, 2020)

How to Plan and Hold an Open House (The Balance, Jan. 17, 2020)

Open House Safety & Security

Suspect Arrested after an Assault on a Realtor Showing Property at an Open House in Bedford County (WSLS, Jun. 22, 2020)

Are Open Houses Too Dangerous to Justify? (Eastern Connecticut Association of REALTORS®, Nov. 13, 2019)

The One Thing Home Sellers Forget to Hide Before an Open House (realtor.com®, Nov. 5, 2019)

Opioid Safety and Open House Practices (National Association of REALTORS®, Aug. 26, 2019)

eBooks & Other ​Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Consider It Sold (Kindle, eBook)

Home Sweet Home Staging (eBook)

Home Staging That Works: Sell Your Home in Less Time for More Money (eBook)

Seven Steps To Sold (Kindle, eBook)

The Complete Idiot's Guide Staging Your Home to Sell (eBook)

Staged to Sell (or Keep) (eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. 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 Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Your Key to Open House Success: Advanced Strategies for Real Estate Agents of All Levels (Chaleston, SC: Jands Publishing, 2015) HF 5387 En7

Home Staging: the Winning Way to Sell Your House for More Money (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2006) HF 5438 Sch9

Home Staging: Creating Buyer-Friendly Rooms to Sell Your House (Arlington, MN: Center Stage Home, 2004) HF 5438 M43

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this page 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 page 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.