It's Really Time to Ditch Open Houses


For decades, we've known that maverick Open Houses have done little to sell homes, and that they are dangerous to the agent and to the property of the homeowner.


I often wonder if lawsuits have entered the picture, filed by homeowners who suffered home damage, personal injury or thievery of personal property.


How many agents have been injured at an open house, and have filed liability claims against the homeowner?


We are all aware that a number of agents have been seriously injured or murdered by a "visitor" at a Saturday or Sunday Open House.


NAR and state associations have taken a firm stand on the practice, suggesting that Open Houses as we know them today, should be discontinued.


Still many agents continue to feel the demand of their listing clients that they include an Open House or so during the listing period.  The agents acquiesce.


If we insist on continuing this dangerous practice, we should at least have protection from those who come, and who, in most cases, we know nothing about.


What would happen if the NAR, local associations, and broker-owners were to require that the agent have a policeman or security guard present at all Open Houses?


Owners who want an Open House would be charged with the security fee.


In my own case, I have held many, many Open Houses over the past 50 years, and, at least in my case, only one has resulted in my selling that house to someone who visited.


Of course, I've learned  of qualified prospects from the Open House, and have sold them other homes.


But that did nothing to benefit my listing clients.


Actually, I'm for ditching the whole Open House idea. But in lieu of that, NAR should require that the listing client take responsibility for our safety and the safety of his property if we are to use that marketing process.  That should be a written contract.



Since 1966


214 503-8563








Comment balloon 7 commentsBILL CHERRY • May 29 2017 03:18AM


Good morning, Bill... I am so with you on this topic. And if more agents stood up to the notion of abandoning open houses, maybe sellers would stop asking for them.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 3 years ago

Agree with Bill,  now if we could just have homeowners get on board.  I did just have a client who did not want any open houses - a first for me.

Posted by John F Muscarella, Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast (RIVER FARM PROPERTIES, LLC) about 3 years ago

I must respectfully disagree with your opinion here. I do sell on average 25+% of my listings held open and in most cases as a transactional agent. Visitors to a home can get injured whether during a open house or during a private showing and that is why owners carry liability insurance. And, if the home has a dangerous condition, we would alert the seller to that danger as part of our fiduciary duty.

No; we will continue to hold Open House Events.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) about 3 years ago

Open houses do produce very few closings and definitely can be dangerous for agents.  An alternative to open houses is providing great virtual demos and scheduled appointments for tours of the homes.

Posted by Matthew Klinowski, PA, Golf Community Real Estate Specialist (Downing-Frye) about 3 years ago

anuj and pandit Owners who want an Open House would be charged with the security fee.


Posted by anuj pandit, zfs fdgfifft8r9whi (dell) about 3 years ago

Owners who want an Open House would be charged with the security fee.

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Posted by prachi sharma about 3 years ago

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