Vail Daily column: How important is an open house? |

Vail Daily column: How important is an open house?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

When I listed my home I told the listing agent that I didn’t want her to do any open houses. I think an open house is an unnecessary hassle for me, since I live in the house and I have to make sure it looks good and change my schedule around so I am gone. I also have security concerns and think that open houses are just to get more business for the broker, not to get my house sold. I am now having second thoughts and wondering what you think about “open houses.”

Dear Anti-Open House,

This is an age-old question in the real estate world. You will have agents who argue for and against open houses. Let me give you the reasons and then my personal thoughts. In a National Association of Realtors membership profile poll, 65 percent of the agents said open houses generated no business for them. Therefore, they say they would rather concentrate on their Internet presence and only spend time with “pre-approved and ready to write an offer” clients rather than waste their time sitting at an open house.

According to a recent article in The Residential Specialist, the publication for top agents across the nation, there are many reasons given for doing open houses. There are some agents who say that they get up to 22 percent of their business selling homes through open houses and meeting new clients. These proponents of open houses all say that open houses are a lot of extra work and some say it is more tiring than anything else they do but definitely worth the effort.

Some open houses are done for other brokers, so that they can interest their clients with their own firsthand knowledge of local properties. A fair amount of planning and financial investment usually goes into this so that the brokers will be fed breakfast or lunch and/or win contests.

Public open houses also have the time and expense of notices in the paper, the Internet, signs, sometimes notifying the neighbors and sometimes incentives here also. Some of these agents also said in the article that contrary to the notion that the Internet has hurt open house attendance, they believe it has helped because once the client’s interest is piqued online, they want to come look at the property in person.

There is no right or wrong answer. The open house decision depends upon the wishes of the seller, of course, and the condition, location and pricing of the individual property. I think the Internet presence with great pictures is first and foremost in today’s market. However, I do believe that sometimes an open house can generate interest.

There is something about the “law of attraction” and when some people start to look at a home, whether or not they actually make an offer, it generates more activity. It is one of those wonderful laws of the universe where a body in motion tends to stay in motion. I would reconsider if you are not getting the activity you want — especially if your agent is willing to take the time and effort to do an open house for you. Good luck!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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