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 a password.

Information from NAR

Open House Guidance During COVID-19 (National Association of REALTORS®, Mar. 22, 2020)

Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS® (National Association of REALTORS®, Mar. 19, 2020)

Open Houses and COVID-19

Minnesota Realtors Group Says Open Houses Should be Halted (Star Tribune, Mar. 24, 2020)

Sunday’s Open Houses Were Probably the Last We’ll See for a While (Crain’s Chicago Business, Mar. 23, 2020)

Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings in North America (ShowingTime, Mar. 22, 2020)

COVID-19 Halts Open Houses, Showings Must Be Approved (KRQE, Mar. 21, 2020)

Drive-By Closings, Virtual Showings: Realtors Making Accommodations to Help Stop Spread of Covid-19 (WRGX, Mar. 20, 2020)

What Does Social Distancing Mean for Homebuying? (Marketplace, Mar. 20, 2020)

Following a Busy Weekend, Agents Nix Open Houses (BusinessDen, Mar. 20, 2020)

Virtual Tours Catch on as Coronavirus Outbreak Spreads (Realty Biz News, Mar. 19, 2020)

House-Hunting? In the Age of the Coronavirus, You Might Have to Do Virtual Tours (Los Angeles Times, Mar. 17, 2020)

Open Houses See Changes amid Concerns over Coronavirus (The Seattle Times, Mar. 17, 2020)

Coronavirus Fears Turn Real Estate Open Houses into Virtual Tours (New York Post, Mar. 16, 2020)

Sellers Adopt Showing Procedures to Minimize Coronavirus Spread (REALTOR® Magazine Daily News, Mar. 12, 2020)

Coronavirus is Changing the Way Agents Hold Open Houses in New York City (Mansion Global, Mar. 7, 2020)

The Value of Open Houses

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)

A Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow: It’s Called Open Houses (RISMedia, Dec. 16, 2019)

Open Houses Can Still Pay Off, New Study Shows (REALTOR® Magazine Daily News, Apr. 24, 2019)

Do Houses Sell from an Open House? (The Balance Blog, Jan. 9, 2019)

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

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

Tips for Success

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

How to Attract More Buyers to Your Open House (The Spruce, Oct. 21, 2019)

10 Tips for Hosting an Open House That Will Impress Buyers (Realty Executives, Sep. 1, 2019)

10 Creative Ways to Make Your Open House Stand Out (QuickenLoans, Aug. 22, 2019)

Brokerage Hosts ‘Cannabis Open House’ for $3.5M Home (REALTOR® Magazine Daily News, Aug. 6, 2019)

Creative Open House Ideas for New Agents (RISMedia, Mar. 5, 2019)

41 Real Estate Open House Ideas People Love (Fit Small Business, Jan. 2, 2019)

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

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)

21 Steps to Hosting the Perfect Open House (Trenka Real Estate, Dec. 18, 2019)

How to Get Ready for Your Open House: Space it Out Across 23 Little Steps (HomeLight, Jul. 31, 2019)

The RPR Guide to a Successful Open House (RPR, Jun. 2, 2019)

How to Prepare Your Kitchen for an Open House (RISMedia, Feb. 5, 2019)

How to Prepare for an Open House (HGTV Blog)

Open House Safety & Security

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)

9 Important Safety Tips for Home Sellers (Linda LeBlang Real Estate, Feb. 19, 2019)

How to Keep Your Home Safe During an Open House (Realty Times, Jan. 28, 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.


2020 Census

The decennial census is important for all REALTORS® because completing the 2020 census means more resources for businesses and communities.


NAR continues to monitor and respond to concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its impact on the real estate industry and events.