Columbus Ohio real estate

Central Ohio open houses are not for lazy agents

Real Living ecard Open HouseCentral Ohio open houses are not for lazy agents.  Real estate agents... open houses are a lot of work if done right. I doubt anyone "lazy" would do an open house, they are a lot of work. 

Parts of Central Ohio are great for open houses, other parts?  Not so much.

ActiveRain a national real estate network has been a hot bed of debate lately about whether open houses are good or bad. Whether open houses work or do not work.   Whether agents who tell their sellers to have an open house as part of their marketing are lying to them.  The lie?  That the agent holding the open house will meet people at the open house and show them other homes, once they've determined the Open House is NOT what the buyer wants.

I think home owners are a lot smarter than that.  At least in Central Ohio.

Are agents that don't hold open houses lazy? No.  Open houses don't work everywhere. Rural areas?  Not all parts of Central Ohio are good for open houses, so I would have to assume that agents in other markets know their market...

What I don't understand is why  Revolting REALTORS®* want all agents to NOT hold open houses because open houses do not work in their market.  Or in their marketing plan.  Or their calendar.

Lowes via Rismedia and RealTown weigh in on the debate  talking directly to consumers from sea to shining sea. The debate rages on...  In Tips for a Successfule Real Estate Open House  author Paige Tepping and Lowes say to home sellers:

"The Sunday real estate open house is a longstanding ritual in the real estate marketplace, and many homes have been sold on a lazy Sunday afternoon. When used properly, open houses can be a great marketing strategy. "

Central Ohio open houses are not for all neighborhoods

Clintonville is usually a great area for open houses.  A coworker said she had 45 people at her open house last Sunday. She had an appointment to write an offer on the house with a couple who'd attended the open house Sunday. 

Worthington is usually a great area for open houses...  the older the better if you get my drift.  OK I am saying an open house in Old Worthington is usually good. City of Worthington open houses are better than open house in homes in Worthington schools, in the City of Columbus  or an unincorporated area.

Lewis Center... not so much... well I am writing this post about Franklin County so let's just ignore that county to the north for now.  Not as good an area for an open house in my  humble opinion. Given my druthers I will stay in Franklin County most Sunday afternoons.   There are areas in Franklin County that are not as good for open houses than others. I would have said Minerva Park would not be a good area for open houses before 2006. I would have been wrong.

Sometimes the open houses in Clintonville or Old Worthington can be too busy.  How can you talk to everyone?  There are people who just want to look at decorating.

Central Ohio has something that other parts of the country do not actually have.  A brokerage that has elevated the Open House via their website.  The Real Living HER Open House List is the best there is in Central Ohio... but maybe I am biased. 

The Real Living HER Open House List  (the link is to the open house list on my site,  

Real Living HER Second Sunday Open House

There will NOT be a lot of Real Living HER Open Houses this weekend. Have a great Labor Day weekend. 2nd Sunday Open House Next weekend is the Real Living's third Second Sunday Open House... there will be lots of Open Houses in Central Ohio open house country.

Is your Central Ohio neighborhood in open house country?

The image at the top is a Real Living ecard.

Columbus home SALE prices are up

The Columbus Board of REALTORS® announces...

Edit March 2011 to fix the Real Living HER Open House List link.


This post provided by Maureen McCabe HER Realtors*

Contact Maureen McCabe of HER Realtors* - 614.388.8249

HER Realtors  Maureen McCabe

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email:  at = @

*Real Living HER

Information is deemed to be accurate but should be verified to your satisfaction.  Information provided herein is supplied by several sources and is subject to change without notice.  Opinions expressed are solely those of Maureen McCabe.



Comment balloon 41 commentsMaureen McCabe • September 03 2010 07:54AM


Open houses do work better in some areas than others here in Northeast Ohio as well.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 9 years ago

Maureen, like Dan & Amy said, open houses work better in some areas. I don't see them here like I used to...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

Yes, open houses work for some but not others.  If you like to do them, do them.  If not, then don't.  It's just one of dozens of ways to market a property.

I like your open house directory - great service.  What does HER stand for?  I could not find that anywhere on the site.  Thanks.

Posted by Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador and Business Coach (Century 21 Real Estate) almost 9 years ago


This is true in my area as well. It depends on the actual home as well as the neighborhood. In any event, an open house requires more than just flag it in the MLS. You need to prepare for them and give adequate notification. I still believe in open houses for the right property and location.


Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) almost 9 years ago


The "take away" here in your post is really about agents knowing their markets and what works and what doesn't work. 

The national debate about open house effectiveness will go on forever.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 9 years ago


Nice post. Really depends on area and timing for that matter. I'm not a big fan of holiday weekend houses, no matter what area.

If I was in Columbus, I probably wouldn't schedule any Saturday afternoon open houses, that is for sure. Of course the Buckeyes took care of business on a weeknight this time, but you have to know your market, as you imply.

Posted by Scott Hayes, Realty Austin, Broker Associate ((512) 786-8300) almost 9 years ago

I work with a lot of buyers that regularly attend open houses.  Have any of them actually bought one of those houses? No but this way they get a feel for the area while enjoying a nice leisurely Sunday drive.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 9 years ago

It's written to consumers but thanks for the comments.  I am NOT trying to talk to others on ActiveRain about whether they should be doing open houses... or whether they think  I should or should not be doing open houses.

This is not part of that debate.

Real Living HER (HER Realtors at the time) made a huge investment in their website long, long ago that has paid off in a market where open houses work...  it is based on founder Harley E. Rouda's principle about seeing people....    I see live people on Sunday afternoons...



Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Maureen - I enjoyed your post.  I do a lot of rural property in Central VA and as you say, know your market.  In the "cities" some agents have done progressive openhouses where they have their shop's homes open on a Friday night with wine and cheese and make it a little mini tour - always fun.  For the upper end homes way out in the country - less successful for the homeowners who work for days to get ready - the agent who know her/his market and who can communicate that knowledge to the homeowner is truly a perl of great price.

Posted by Peggy Noel, Bouchard, ABR, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Commonwealth) almost 9 years ago

Well put, Maureen.  And even in places where Open Houses work very well, the work even better when the agent has done the groundwork ahead of time.  Congrats on the star!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

While open houses might be considered by some as one way of marketing a home, I believe open houses are a way of showing a home. Marketing gets buyers interested in seeing a property, open houses and private appointments physically show the property. Most buyers want to physically see a property before they purchase it.

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) almost 9 years ago

Peggy we go from urban to rural in 16?  20? miles...  perhaps it is shorter... I know of people who have sold the open house on acreage here... out in the boonies.    I am better in suburban to urban personally.

It's got to be hard for sellers who have NOT had a showing in a looooong time to not want their agent to hold a house open even in an area that is NOT prime open house territory.  I have held open houses in areas that are not prime open house areas too. You gotta do what you gotta do.  It is about seeing the people.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Dear Maureen,

We had a challenge from a seller who was unhappy with 7 families showing up at his house for one open this year so put our heads together and I have an agent who is quite clever at getting me to think harder-how does he do that? Two words: "What else" as in what else can we do? If it were a life or death situation, i suppose that we would find a better way to take care of business so we sat and thought upon it for a bit and came up with some useful ideas I did write a blog on it and will come back and add to this post in a minute. So you can see how we handled.

Thanks for sharing 




Posted by Doris Barnett-214-236-2908 cell/txt, Real Estate Consultant: Ask for your Better Biz (Consultant ) almost 9 years ago

This is the link to that 2010 Open house marketing plan.  It is not a how to do Open houses it is specific to where to makret the open house and most of it is free. Online free.  Go REALTORS!



Posted by Doris Barnett-214-236-2908 cell/txt, Real Estate Consultant: Ask for your Better Biz (Consultant ) almost 9 years ago

I still find it odd that you can do a lot of preparation work and host an Open House without anyone showing up. Then you can do an Open House at the same property where you just throw a few signs out at the street corners and Bingo. You have several prospective buyers showing up. Same house same sunny weather conditions just a different Sunday. 

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) almost 9 years ago

Read Pat's and Mitchell's recent posts about open houses.

Mitchell I agree with "open houses and private appointments physically show the property. Most buyers want to physically see a property before they purchase it."  

It is still important we see people.  It is so important people see houses. 

Population density has so much to do with open houses.  I want your   NYC density on Sunday's.  I make do with what I got.

Thanks Doris for the comments and the link. There are neighborhoods where seven attendees are great.

Everyone read Doris's post for ideas.

Gregory that is freaky.   Football games?  Local events?  Someone stole your sign? Backwards sign?  I sold the house from the Open House earlier this year with a sign pointed backward.   I am so superstitious I think about putting a sign out backward... but I would hate people to be driving in circles because of my  superstitiouns.

Perhaps I will start putting a sign pointed backward on a corner of High St. in Worthington near my office...  just for luck... it was kinda pointing at the entrance to our office...

The buyers were there to see a FSBO pocket listing in the 'hood.  They saw my OH sign rider...

Gucci spam reported.  You know you get 10 points for reporting it?  Hit Report a Concern.  Thanks.


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Here in Utah, at least in the riral area I work in, Open Houses are great for meeting the neighbors who want to "get some ideas" for their own home. Sunday's are not an option here and, while sunny weather is optimal, folks will look during raging blizzards, but not rain! Thanks for the post!

Posted by Chris and Berna Sloan, Tooele UT (Group 1 Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Maybe the tide is turning for open houses. It used to be pretty hard to figure out where on earth all the open houses are, and when people are just driving around...but now folks plan out the open house routes in advance by scanning the internet. These are people that want to work without a buyer's agent to buy a house, at least for a while. Maybe we should re-evaluate the matter and have more Sunday open houses.

Posted by Amy Law (Alliance Properties) almost 9 years ago

Chris Your market is what it is.  I am not trying to debate open houses are good or bad.  I am tired of the debate.

Yesterday on a pro OH post... gosh I can't remember whose post it was... someone (and I do remember who this was)  commented we should stay home with the kids.   If she wants to that's fine.  My dog is OK without me for two hours on a Sunday afternoon.   He is not that good with time except dinner time and treat time, he has no concept of the day of the week. 

Part of Central Ohio are great for seeing the people at open houses.

Amy I am not sure whether Zillows mobile app makes it easy to find open houses.  Does have a mobile app?  I forget.  I am waiting with bated (or is it baited? ) breath for our new company / agent website roll out... in the third quarter because there is something mobile going on...  I am hoping open houses will be a mobile feature. 

I am just trying out my new Android phone my old pokey phone could see some stuff if I had the patience to wait, but I seldom did. 

Our real estate board did two big open houses this year... or at least two.


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Two weeks ago, I had an open house that I didn't get a good turn out. After sitting by myself for a half hour, I realized something was wrong. So I took my iPhone and clicked our iPhone app. I clicked properties for sale. My listing came up first as a featured property because our iPhone app uses technology based on your current location. I made a mistake entering the open house date. It said Open House September 15th instead of August 15th. I was about to leave because of my mistake and then 4 groups of people showed up. One was with an agent from my office that I told I was having an open house, the others said they saw it on the web (NY Times) So just as I made a mistake, they made the mistake of reading the open house date wrong and assumed it was August 15th. That Sunday.

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) almost 9 years ago


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

I love open houses and don't understand why more agents don't do them.  If you plan and advertise they can be very successful.  I hear all the time how open houses don't sell houses but bring buyers for other homes.  Still many refuse to do them. Ridiculous.

Before I beame an agent, my husband and I went to open houses on Sunday.  We actually bought one and had no intention of buying!!  However, the home was so nice we put ours up for sale and bought the new one.  Wow.  We would get decorating ideas, we had a relative that was looking and we sent them to several houses that we had seen.

OPEN HOUSES AER THE BOMB.  They bring people and people spread the word.  Then there are agents that say, it only brings in lookie loo neighbors...what is wrong with that, I have the owners or their kids hand out flyers, you never know when a relative or friend will want to buy.

I think i will do my 4th blog tomorrow about Open Houses.  :)  Thanks so much for the post.

Posted by Gail C. Harris, Reach the BEACH with Gail C. Harris (cell: 703.868 (Resource Network, LLC SFR, AHWD, ACRE, SMAR Board Director) almost 9 years ago

Thanks Gail I can not say that I like open houses... I believe I went to one before I became a real estate agent.  A little brick cape in Kettering Ohio... Dayton area.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago


Great post. Properly run open houses are definately not for "lazy" agents.....come to think of it ,this entire market condition is not for lazy,unethical,or part-time agents. It would be nice to see across the board professionalism return to our industry.

Posted by Paul Durney GRI (Watson Realty Corp) almost 9 years ago

Thanks for the comment Paul.. this is more about geography and population density than about "professionalism."  Perhaps my title is sneaky... sorry.  It is about neighborhoods and open houses. 

Open houses take work, especially in a buyers market but we are lucky to have a market here in Central Ohio where agents who want to hold open houses can see the people, while the people are seeing the houses.

I am not saying anything about local agents to local consumers.  The "Revolting Realtors" are other real estate bloggers (on ActiveRain ) who don't want to  hold open houses and want NO ONE to hold open houses, and perhaps that is not lazy but I had already used 'Revolting Realtors'  as a post title.  Open houses work in parts of my market.  Personally I don't really blog about "professionalism or ethics."  I think to "open house" or not to "open house" is a matter of personal choice for the agent and the seller.

I am sorry to hear your take on our industry...


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Maureen - I love open houses, it generates business, lets the homeowners know we are working to sell their home and gives me a chance to learn more about the neighborhood. I meet some of the nicest people doing them and get lots of new business. Do they sell homes? Rarely, but it does happen.

Posted by Brent & Deb Wells, Prosper TX (LivingWell Properties) almost 9 years ago

You do learn more about the neighborhood don't you? And you meet people who might be the buyer for the house you hold open a month or so later... if they've signed in with a real name and contact info... or whom their real estate agent is... We have lots of buyers attend open house who are represented by a buyers broker, the agent is not with them.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Like Rich said in #5 - the key that you highlight is to 'know your area' ! And what works best !

I think too many think that if they hear that something doesnt work in one place, then it wont work in their area. Never know unless you try - or at least research :o)

Cheers Maureen !


Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) almost 9 years ago

I'm tepid on open houses.  They haven't worked in my farm but have worked well outside of my area.  But, since sellers tend to like them I like them.

Posted by David L. Montgomery, David L. Montgomery (MULAMONT REALTY, LLC) almost 9 years ago

When people talk about open house being truly wonderful for the seller and not just an activity for an agent to get more clients I always go back to one very simple question...if there was no open house held wouldn't a serious buyer call to make an appointment to see the home?

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

"if there was no open house held wouldn't a serious buyer call to make an appointment to see the home?"

perhaps if they knew that house was the house for them they would call. I think I saw you say that on one of the posts that is a debate about open houses.   This post is not part of the great debate.

I had clients last year walk into a friend's Old Worthington open house.  It would not have come up on the search I set up for them, it was too small.  They did not buy it at the open house, my friend called me and the buyers and I talked on the phone during the open house. She (buyer) told me it was cute but small.  When we looked at homes that matched their criteria with his parents, I think second showings and something new that came up they kept talking about the house they saw at open house so I scheduled for us to go back to see it and we wrote an offer on it.  If they were not out walking around the neighborhood and attended the open house they never would have seen it.

Again this post is not part of the debate. I will take your word for it that, that would never ever happen in your market if that's what you are here to say, ; -)  but really you have to start wondering WHY someone would have to debate it here, there and everywhere...    why can't open houses be good for sellers in remote markets?  Or perhaps your point is something else... and I am not going to debate that here...

Not part of the great debate

because this post is for consumers in Central Ohio...




Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Oh my goodness Sheldon and Michael... I did not even see your comments. I just saw red when I saw Bill with his same old tired line. 

Thanks for the comments guys.  I don't particularly like open houses Michael but they work in my market, sometimes.  In some parts, sometimes.   

Sheldon, thanks real estate is local... 


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

I agree with you Maureen and I have often chimed in on these discussions. I do open houses but I can't say they are a huge benefit to my sellers. I think they are or can be a great benefit to the buyer, as you noted in your example above. I think it is quite rare for a home to sell directly from an open house, but when it does it's obviously a win-win for the buyer and seller.

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) almost 9 years ago

In this area they are great for new construction but very quiet for resales is my observation.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge almost 9 years ago

Barb I think in our market open houses can be a huge benefit to sellers.

I have had homes sell directly from an open house.   A number of them.  Would all of those homes have sold eventually to another buyer who scheduled an appointment?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Two hours away from the house for the seller or three more weeks (months)  of keeping the house clean and gathering up the kids and dog for showings at a moments notice... "we are sitting in the street in front of the house."


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Open houses are a great way to get business but a busy one can be overwhelming.  You just have to pick who you do and don't talk to, remember you can't talk to all of them, and do your best.  Sometimes I'll talk to 2-3 unrelated people/groups at a time if they all want to hear the same points.

I had an open house this spring for a hot listing in Los Altos.  It was a nicely updated rancher, good location, price well, and I have about 200 people in 2 days.  Out of them all, I got one good lead.  A lot of work but worth it.

Posted by Bryan Robertson almost 9 years ago

Thanks Bruce, this post is not about getting busiess for RE agents.  That's the debate, but the debate is elsewhere... I believe open houses can be good for the seller in my market.  Not that they have to have one.


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Locations I agree are different even here in northeast Ohio. 

Posted by Stanley Stepak, Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake, (Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH) almost 9 years ago

Location, Location, Location!

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Maureen, you are spot on with this post. It depends on the Location & the Market! I have sold a home, second house north of Hollywood Blvd(busy street) on Nichols Cyn (busy street) with a  Shared Drive Way with neighbor's home. One of the commenters #31 would never have called to see this house nor his client...the buyer wondered in and fell in love with the house and even told me if it would not have been open he would never have considered it.

I also can't say enough I love your candid style. Have a great Weekend.

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) almost 9 years ago

Endre thanks

I think Revolting Realtors who

  • have too many listings to do an  open house for a particular house
  • have a family that needs them home on Sunday afternoon
  • have something else that needs their attention on Sunday afternoon
  • are in areas where open houses don't work 
  • agents who don't like open houses

should chill it with the NAR statistics, it just makes them look dumb. Of course a small percentage of homes sell from open house... Open houses are not that  common, there are lots of areas where the wide open spaces make them impractical.  There is a large group of agents who would never consider doing  an open house.

For some Revolting Realtors if the buyer is not going to make the call, schedule the appointment, another buyer will. That may be true in their market.   Not necessarily true in this market.   We have a large % of expired and withdrawn listings in our market, even in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.  Probably many were over priced and open house would never have helped.  A small % if listing agent and seller had made the effort, done open house  the story could have ended differently, not all in our market do open houses. 

I had a listing in 2007(?) that I sold at open house, the buyer had a buyers agent.  The buyer had a pre-approval letter.  The buyers could not get financing.  Another house in that community in 2006 I held open a bunch of Sundays the couple who bought it came through three or four of the open houses.  They were the third contract on the house.  The second buyers saw the house at an open house too.  Both contract # 2 and #3 had a buyers agent.

Central Ohio is more buyer focused than some markets.  A large number of the buyers at open house are represented by a buyers agent. Buyers like open houses, buyers who are actively looking, buyers who don't want to be tied to an agent, buyers who do not know they are buyers yet. 


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 9 years ago