Massachusetts Real Estate open house Yes… I am talking about the waste of time that thousands of Realtors continue to participate in week after week on Sundays in Massachusetts….THE PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE.

Let me rephrase that…A waste of time for the seller of the home.

This will probably surprise you, but Nationally less than 1% of homes sell from a public open house!

Open houses offer little value to sellers, as serious buyers almost always schedule showings for properties they want to view.

In most cases, serious buyers are looking at homes with Realtors. So who goes to open houses, and why do Real Estate agents continue to do them?

There are numerous plausible reasons for both of these questions. 1st, let’s address who you can expect to show up.

Who Attends Open Houses in Massachusetts?

  • Your neighbors – curiosity will be a driving force for many people on your street. You can also expect your nosy neighbor to be there to compare what you have in your home to theirs.
  • The “professional” Sunday open home looker – these are the folks that just like looking at homes. Homes, after all, are interesting…they all have their own unique features. You can expect this person to swing in for a quick look after seeing a Real Estate sign outside the home.
  • The Unqualified– This is one of the more common attendees of an open house. If you sell a home for $500,000, you expect the potential buyers walking through to be qualified to spend $500,000, right? WRONG…more often than not, the people walking through will be unable to pay the asking price. If there wasn’t an open house, would you want your Realtor to bring unqualified people inside your home?
  • The “idea” person – this is someone that will walk through the open house to get “ideas” for their home. It could be any number of things such as decorating, furniture, a granite counter color whatever. The idea person will most likely show up at the more expensive homes where things are on a grander scale.
  • The “Robber” – although far less common than the above four, an open house is an open invitation for a potential robber to case your place before returning to get what they want. There are also times when multiple parties could be in your home at the same time. It is next to impossible for a Realtor to have their eyes on everyone at all times. There could be a few parties on the 1st floor and someone else on the 2nd floor. Not good!

Why do Real Estate Agents do Public Open Houses? Why do Realtors have a public open house

  • As an agent holding an open house, chances are pretty strong you will meet one of the neighbors (see above). This is a great place to establish rapport for future business. Who knows, maybe a neighbor is thinking of selling their home shortly. If the neighbor and the agent “connect,” it could lead to future business in the form of another listing for the Realtor.
  • An agent could meet a legitimate buyer that can’t afford the home they are holding public (see the “unqualified” above) but might be a buyer at a lower price point.
  • Open houses give a Realtor the possibility of potential additional clients they can work with.
  • The seller insists on them! Most sellers will want an open house if a good Realtor has not educated them on why they are a waste of time.
  • An agent that doesn’t do much business will often “sell” this as part of their presentation to the seller during the interview process to get the listing. They tell the seller how wonderful open houses are and how much “traffic” will be coming through. What they don’t tell you is the traffic is of very low quality and that they are using your home as a place for them to capture new leads.
  • An open house is a quantifiable action showing that the Realtor is trying to sell the home. Agents do many things behind the scenes to sell homes, but this is the physically apparent one. An agent has to drive to the property, set up an open house sign, and man the property. A seller can physically see that the Realtor is making an effort.

Educating Clients on The Downsides of Open Houses is Important

Can you get lucky and sell your home through a public open house?…. Sure it is, but don’t expect it. Again nationally, less than 1% of all homes are sold through a public open house.

I have been a Realtor for the last 36+ years serving all of the Metrowest Massachusetts area and towns further West.

During my time in the business, I have sold two homes through a public open house. Yes, you are reading that correctly, just two! I have been involved in over a thousand real estate transactions during that time.

Is it any wonder that you see way more of the Sunday open house signs in a down market than you do when things are selling briskly….think about that for a moment.

When I meet with a prospective seller client, I explain open houses and what they can expect from them. I explain that I do not personally do them, as I have other more productive things to do with my time. If a seller really wants one, someone in my office will be happy to provide this service for me.

After all, the agent isn’t foolish enough to believe they will sell my listing that day. They think they will find a few clients to work with!

It is silly to believe that a ready, willing, and able buyer will not schedule a showing on your property if they are interested in seeing it.

There will be no lost opportunities if you do not open your home. When choosing to work with a Realtor, pick one based on their credentials, past track record, and ability to bring genuine buyers into your home via their marketing efforts!

New Construction is The Exception, With Open Houses

It should be noted that an open house for new development is different from a resale home. Often builders use an open house to showcase their homes and provide an example of the type of homes they build, including floor plans and construction quality.

The open house can show off all the amenities and the builder’s way of doing business.

Final Thoughts

Open houses are far more beneficial for a real estate agent than they are for sellers. They come with unnecessary risks and folks in your home that don’t belong.

If you want only qualified buyers in your home, insist on showings with real estate agents.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Massachusetts open houses was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 36+ Years.

Are you thinking of selling your home? I am passionate about real estate and love sharing my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.