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

Open House Guidance During COVID-19 (National Association of REALTORS®, Feb. 18, 2021)

Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS® (National Association of REALTORS®, Jan. 19, 2021)

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 Houses and COVID-19

10 Tips for Hosting a Hygienic Open House to Sell Houses Fast (Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Jun. 7, 2021)

Spring House Hunt: How Agents COVID-Proof Before and After Open Houses (Real Estate/ Boston.com, Apr. 6, 2021)

Open House & Covid-19: Basic Precautions (Agent Print, Oct. 28, 2020)

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

Opinion: Open-House Battles Across America Will Be the Norm for at Least Another Year (MarketWatch, Jun. 15, 2021)

Are Sunday Open Houses a Thing of the Past? (Forbes, May 18, 2021)

Has the Pandemic Changed the Traditional Open House for Good? (Boston Magazine, Jun. 2, 2021)

Are Open Houses Still Worth It? (Bob Vila, Mar. 10, 2021)

What Is an Open House and Can It Really Help Sell A Home? (Quicken Loans, Mar. 9, 2021)

Sound Off: Do You Miss Sunday Open Houses as a Way of Promoting Listings? (SFGate, Feb. 14, 2021)

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

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

Tips for Success

How Do Open Houses Work in 2021? Your Guide to In-Person & Virtual Viewings (HomeLight, May 18, 2021)

Open House Scripts For Agents – When Homes Are Selling Too Fast To Hold Them (The Real Estate Trainer, Apr. 21, 2021)

Open House Tips for Realtors: 19 Tricks for Massive Success (Kyle Handy, Mar. 5, 2021)

How to Prepare for an Open House (Millionacres, Mar. 4. 2021)

What is the Best Day and Time for an Open House (FastExpert, Feb. 11, 2021)

Preparing for an Open House

How To Prepare for an Open House (NC Homes by Tara Cook, May 31, 2021)

10 Tips for a Successful Open House (U.S. News & World Report, May 27, 2021)

How to Prepare for an Open House Like a Pro (Realty Times, Feb. 25, 2021)

Proper Etiquette When Going to an Open House (American Lifestyle, 2021)

Open House Safety & Security

Smart-Home Gadgets and Video Surveillance Present New Headaches at Open Houses (Real Estate/Boston.com, May 5, 2021)

Staying Safe When Selling Your Home (NationMac, May 5, 2021)

All Things Real Estate: How to Hold a Safe Open House (The Island Now, Apr. 18, 2021)

How to Keep Your Home Safe During an Open House (Realty Times, Mar. 30, 2021)

Tips for Real Estate Agent Safety (Millionacres, Nov. 17, 2020)

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 (eBook)

Do Your Own Home Staging (eBook)

Home Makeovers That Sell (eBook)

Home Sweet Home Staging (eBook)

Home Staging (eBook)

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

Secrets of Home Staging (Audiobook)

Seven Steps To Sold (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 (Charleston, 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.