Realtors typically have strong opinions about whether or not there are benefits to spending a good part of their day sitting at an open house.  Some love ‘em and some hate ‘em; very few are neutral about the experience.

There are a number of pros.  One of the benefits involves the social and networking aspect of sitting at an open house.  The Realtor has the opportunity to speak to all the people who come to visit the house.   Even if they are not currently serious buyers and are “just looking”, if the agent offers to provide information about the neighborhood as well as the house, the visitors may be impressed with his or her knowledge, positive attitude and outgoing personality.

Agents who engage visitors in conversation (low key – not pushy) can possibly connect with a future client.

Another benefit sometimes occurs when neighbors stop in to visit the open house and sign listing agreements with the agent.

Some agents provide weekday open houses so that other agents can come to view the property when first placed on the market – and possibly have one of their buyers interested in the home.

A benefit for home sellers  is that they become motivated to clear up the clutter, get the house in good shape for presentation and spend the day somewhere else.

One of the negative aspects of sitting at an open house is the feeling that some agents get of inactivity and wasting an entire day.  For those who do not get many visitors and if those visitors do not seem interested, this confirms the sense of time wasted.

In this difficult economic period, some people have been known to consider visiting open houses as a pleasant and free activity for a Sunday afternoon.

Agents who hold an open house in an upscale home may encounter security issues.  If there are several visitors arriving at the same time, some of these people may not have any interest in home purchase or even mere curiosity but may have more sinister or dangerous motives.  Keeping track of all visitors’ movements throughout the house is impossible for one agent to do.

Home sellers should also inquire what other marketing techniques will be employed by their agents to attract visitors to their home.  Will the open house be advertised in a local newspaper?  Putting several signs in the street and in front of the house will not be enough to draw serious potential buyers who want to plan the homes they will visit in their search.

Additionally, communities regulated by homeowner associations often have specific rules on how and when an open house is held.

The jury is still out on whether or not an open house is beneficial and, if so, for whom.