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.

The Value of Open Houses

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

Rethinking the Open House as a Sales Tool (Investopedia, Oct. 16, 2018)

Do Open Houses Work? (Max Real Estate Exposure, Jun. 4, 2018)

A Buyer's Guide to a Successful Open House (U.S. News & World Report, Mar. 15, 2017)

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

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

Tips for Success

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)

6 Tips to Hosting a Successful Open House (Coastline Steve, Apr. 20, 2018)

Home Seller Tips To Having A Successful Open House (Realty Times, Feb. 14, 2018)

Open House Tips - How to Hold a Successful Open House (The Balance Blog, Jul. 30, 2017)

How to Stage Your Open House to Appeal to Buyers (The Spruce Blog, Feb. 15, 2017)

Preparing for an Open House

Tips for Preparing for an Open House (The Balance, Jan. 24, 2019)

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

Tips for a Successful Open House (The Balance Blog, Sept. 19, 2018)

How to Stage your Open House to Appeal to Buyers (The Spruce Blog, Aug. 3, 2018)

The Proactive Approach to Preparing for an Open House (U.S. News & World Report, Mar. 15, 2017)

How to Prepare for an Open House (HGTV Blog)

Open House Safety & Security

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)

7 Personal Items You Should Never Leave Out During an Open House (National Association of REALTORS®, Jan. 16, 2018)

Open House Safety (Chicago Association of REALTORS®, Sep. 27, 2017)

eBooks & Other ​Resources


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

Home Staging Home Soft Decoration (eBook)

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

Seven Steps To Sold (Kindle, eBook)

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

Staged to Sell (or Keep) (Audiobook, 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.



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