Quick Takeaways

  • Keep safety in mind at open houses
  • Be proactive instead of reactive
  • Practice situational awareness

Safety Tips Every Real Estate Agent Should Know (RISMedia, Jul. 30, 2021)

Find out how home houses have changed in response to COVID. NAR has put together guidelines for open houses and COVID and a guide for REALTORS® on the Coronavirus.

Will COVID kill off the open house permanently or just change it? Get open house benefits and media talking points from NAR, including the benefits of homeownership, buying and selling tips and the value of REALTORS®.

Get tips for making your open house a success! Hold your first open house the weekend after the property goes up for sale for maximum exposure.

Preparation is the key for a great open house experience. Clean, declutter and depersonalize the home. Pay attention to the curb appeal, too. UpNest has great preparation tips including getting the temperature and the lighting right. Create a flyer with important information from the homeowner, such as heating and utility costs.

Safety is vital for everyone at the open house. Have the homeowners hide or remove pets, valuables, prescription drugs or sensitive personal information such as checkbooks. For REALTORS®, work with a buddy at your open house and check in with your office. Ask for an ID, don’t give out garage or door codes and limit the number of people in the house for a safer open house. Working with a REALTOR® is the best way to avoid homebuying scams.

See References for more information.


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.

Open Houses and COVID-19

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

Hand sanitizer is a baseline expectation along with social distancing, but there are other products the average consumer may not have seen before like electrostatic sprayers. Restaurants and airlines use these to quickly disinfect a space between uses, and some Boston real estate agents are even enlisting them to help clean up after an open house.

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

Where open houses are permissible, NAR strongly encourages members to consider the advisability of continuing to hold open houses at this time, especially in light of the guidance and actions of federal, state and local authorities.

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

Brokers should follow all local and state “executive orders and guidance that impact the reopening of businesses. Be sure to understand whether, and under what conditions, a business may open pursuant to applicable orders. Brokers should be sure to familiarize themselves with all relevant restrictions, as well as incorporate best practices when formulating a plan to reopen physical workplaces.

The Value of Open Houses

5 Ways Post-Pandemic Open Houses Will Look Different for the Real-Estate Market (Entrepreneur, Oct. 1, 2021)

Although it’s difficult to discern serious buyers from open house tourists, it doesn’t hurt to ask. In an effort to reduce traffic at open houses, some agents are asking buyers to do research and take advantage of online marketing materials before booking a showing or attending an open house.

How COVID is Slowly Killing the Open House (MarketWatch, Sep. 7, 2021)

Walter Perschbacher, vice president of Greenridge Realty, said more people are buying properties without seeing them in person. “There has been an increase in buyers purchasing homes they have only seen virtually,” he said. “High Definition Interior photography, aerial drone photography, virtual staging, and 3D virtual tours have all helped in giving the buyers a good feeling for the home from a virtual setting. Part of this increase is due to the pandemic.”

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

Realtor® open house events not only bring buyers and sellers together, it is also an opportunity for Realtors® to connect with consumers in their communities about the housing issues that matter most to them.

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

Offer your President or spokesperson for an interview about what buyers in your area are looking for or to elaborate on how open houses benefit both buyers and sellers. Suggest a recent homeowner who found their home by visiting an open house as an interview source.

Tips for Success

How to Prepare for a House Showing: Seller Etiquette (UpNest, Oct. 15, 2021)

No one likes having to park their car far away from their destination, especially on cold, windy days. If you have multiple vehicles, move them out of the driveway before the house showing so the buyer and their agent have enough space to park.

Open House (Investopedia, Sep. 30, 2021)

For people trying to sell their homes, an open house provides an opportunity to attract interested buyers to the property. A well-executed event can generate excitement about the home and potentially lead to an offer. Many realtors advise their clients to hold an open house the first weekend after the property goes up for sale.

Open House Etiquette for Home Buyers (The Balance, Sep. 20, 2021)

And remember your manners. Don't use the bathrooms, and don't open drawers, cabinets, the refrigerator, or closed doors. People still live in the home in most cases—and it's intrusive.

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

Do your homework and prepare beforehand. If your open house is on Saturday, you should be preparing around Wednesday. Preparing for your open house should involve creating an in-depth comparative market analysis (CMA). It’s more than likely you’re going to have neighbors and people from around the area checking out the house.

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

Most of the top realtors agree that weekends, especially the first Sunday after your home is listed, is the best day for home sellers to hold an open house. This is because most of the potential home buyers are off from work on weekends, thus making Saturday and Sunday the best days for holding an open house.

Preparing for an Open House

9 Things You Should Always Hide Before a House Showing, According to Real Estate Experts (Homes & Gardens, Aug. 13, 2021)

'Put away anything that makes you think about cleaning and maintenance. Seeing your toothbrush, vacuum cleaner, pile of bills, lawn mower and bathroom scales are distracting and even depressing – definitely not inspiring.'

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

There’s nothing worse than dingy, dirty carpets. A professional carpet cleaning will give new life to tired carpets and make your home smell fresh and new. Natural light is a huge selling feature, and you’ll be surprised how much extra light you can let in just by cleaning the windows — both inside and out.

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

Take your pets with you during the open house as well. People may be allergic, and not everyone is a fan of dogs or cats, even if they're friendly. Evidence of a pet in the house can also be a turnoff for some buyers – which is why deep cleaning to remove any residual pet smell is a must.

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

If your home looks great on the outside, open house attendees will assume it looks just as good on the inside, and thus will make their way through your front door. Therefore, don't underestimate the value of curb appeal when selling your home. Because of this, take care of such details as power washing your home's exterior, cleaning and repairing your guttering, and ensuring your driveway is clear of clutter.

Open House Safety & Security

Safety First: 8 Tips to Protect Yourself When Showing Your Home (realtor.com®, Nov. 2, 2021)

Don’t give any garage or door codes out for showings. “Instead, consider creating a specific code for showings instead of the one that family members use,” says Ameer. Then change the code every couple of days. If the property has an electronic lockbox, have the listing agent program it so that you receive a notification the minute the lockbox is opened. That way you’ll know when someone is about to enter your property.

A Competitive Housing Market Can Pose Safety Concerns in the Pikes Peak Region (KOAA, Oct. 8, 2021)

To improve safety, real estate pros are using smart phone apps and even technology on door lock boxes to stay in touch with their offices. As for consumers, the best advice is to work through real estate professionals to avoid potential scams and safety hazards you might encounter on your own.

4 ‘Danger Zones’ in Your Daily Work Routine (REALTOR® Magazine, Sep. 16, 2021)

The end of an open house is potentially the most dangerous time of the event. “People can hide in drapes, closets, showers,” Judd said. “Be sure to talk to someone on the phone while you are checking the house.”

Safety Tips Every Real Estate Agent Should Know (RISMedia, Jul. 30, 2021)

When you’re at an open house, it’s important to practice situational awareness. Situational awareness means being aware of the situation that you’re in. Thompson gives an example of this by describing a training exercise in which a person enters a room for 15 seconds and is then asked to give details about the room. At an open house, for example, be aware of all the entrances, find out whether the neighbors will be home, locate the closest police station.

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

Although we encourage homeowners to altogether remove prescription drugs from the home prior to the open house, we believe it is key for REALTORS® to communicate with their clients about ways to secure any sensitive items before prospective buyers are invited into their home.

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

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