Are Open Houses a Thing of the Past?

Fifteen years ago, open houses were a primary method for marketing and selling homes. The listing agent would place an announcement in the local newspaper a week in advance and interested buyers would come out in droves on the Saturday or Sunday the home was open. Not all of the buyers were 100% interested, but it was the best way to see a home besides scheduling a private showing with an agent.

Then, the internet boom happened and computers started appearing in homes at an increasing rate. Real estate websites multiplied, online MLSs became the norm, video usage grew, and virtual tours became standard for many listing agents. Now, buyers don’t need to go into the home to see it. They can view pictures and tours online to determine if it’s a home that fits their needs. That’s why 90% of home searches begin online now.

But are open houses a thing of the past? Both sides of this argument provide valid points:


  • They just don’t attract the traffic that they used. It’s common for no one to show up.
  • Nowadays, it’s more a way for an agent to pick up new clients than to sell your home.
  • The people showing up are often just nosey neighbors.


  • Agents are still picking up buyers from open houses.
  • It depends on where the home is located.
  • The right incentive can get buyers to the home for an open house.

Just a few months ago, we had one of our listings go under contract (and sell) as a result of an open house. As a team, we have found from experience that homes that are located 2-3 turns from a primary road, like Greenville Loop or Market Street, are likely to get the most visitors. That’s why we don’t push to do open houses at every listing. Open houses can be an inconvenience to owners and tenants, so if we know an open house may not get any visitors, we try to focus on other methods of attracting buyers.

We also encourage open houses on “Coast In & Win” weekends. Once a month, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage holds a drawing for $500 for anyone who visits a Coldwell Banker agent hosted open house on a specific weekend. This has proved to be a good incentive for buyers to get out and look at homes.

While open houses don’t produce the results they did ten years ago, we’re not ready to remove them from our selling toolbox. They might not be the best choice for every home’s marketing plan, but they have their place.

Have questions about selling your Wilmington area home? Give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.