Al and Cal Homes and Community: Should You Visit an Open House or Set Up a Private Showing?

Should You Visit an Open House or Set Up a Private Showing?

Should You Visit an Open House or Set Up a Private Showing?                             

Are you planning on attending an open house this weekend?   Or Should you set up a personal tour?    That should depend on where you are in the home buying process.

Open House pros and cons

Search for Massachusetts Open Homes Here


The signs go up, the balloons go out.                On any given Saturday or Sunday in the Franklin MA area, there is no lack of open houses to visit.


Open houses.  I've been hosting one almost every week for the past 26 years.   Over those years, traffic counts have varied depending on the market, price point, condition, and location of the home.   Having said that, the activity level on the past few opens that I have held is incredible.

What's driving all this traffic?

  • Much of it can be attributed to lack of inventory.  This makes it crucial to view a home as soon as possible. 
  • Exposure is better too.   No longer relying on print media,  Buyers are alerted to open homes via automated email and they are promoted  over the internet.   
  • Agents send their buyers to preview open homes because there is more flexibility with timing.     
  • Many listing agents use the open house as a kick of to their marketing campaign.   

With buyers flocking to open houses, the question then becomes is it better to visit an open house or set up a personal appointment with your Realtor? The answer to that should depend on how serious a buyer you are.  


If you are just starting your home search, visiting an open house can be a good, hands on approach of gaining market knowledge.   It is also a good way of "interviewing" a potential agent to represent you.  


(I shouldn't leave out that it can be a good way for a "potential" seller to informally interview an agent as well.)

But, If you are well into your home search and have identified your wants and needs in terms of price, size, style and location, then setting up a personal tour may be much more effective for you.    I feel this way because at many of the recent open homes that I have hosted (and visited), the traffic is so brisk that one can not really take a good look at the home.   With many people filling up a room(s), it an be hard to linger and really take in the details.   You might also feel pressured, and possibly undermine your negotiating position by tipping your hand to the hosting agent or to other attendees.   

Seeing the home without all that stimulation and traffic gives you the time to really look it over and get to know the home without others looking over your shoulder.   

Want to set up a personal tour?     Hire the right Realtor.    Al and I are certified buyers agents.   Call us.      Tips to eliminate stress when Buying a Home



If you want to really know what's happening in your market area, consult your


        Call me if you have any questions about the market. 



      Put my 26 years of experience to work for you!    

Al and Cal Realty Group Remax Executive Realty

Carol-Ann Palmieri

Al and Cal Realty Group

Remax Executive Realty




Comment balloon 28 commentsCarol-Ann Palmieri • March 31 2014 08:44AM


Good morning Carol-Anne. I think a property tour is always better when it is one on one and not at an open house where the agent sitting the property may only be someone helping out without much knowledge or information. Interview agents, choose one and let them be your constant guide.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 6 years ago

Carol Ann, well you do open houses so well and bring the buyers to you which is needed in a low inventory environment.  Working with the right realtor aka Carol Palmieri is the right course and no client will be sorry!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Good morning, Carol Ann..... open house events are a way of life.... we often see buyers wandering on their own.... buyers would be wise to call Carol-Ann Palmieri for guidance when thinking about a purchase.... they'll be in good hands.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 6 years ago
I try to accompany my buyer clients to open houses if they intend to go. It's not always practical, but as you say, especially when they are early in the buying process, it can be a good starting point.
Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 6 years ago

Hi Cal, my thoughts are aligned with yours. We, too, suffer from a shortage of inventory and seeing a house full of potential buyers helps make my buyers aware of the competition, and when I say "we need to make time to see this new listing today" they understand why.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) about 6 years ago

Hi Sheila.  I tend to agree.


Hi Ginny.  Thanks!


Hi Barbara.   Isn't it amazing how many folks are coming to open houses these days?   Thank you!


Hi Karen.   It is not always practical, but I try and do the same or schedule an appointment to see right after.  

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) about 6 years ago

As you stated, open houses or personal tours, it simply depends on the circumstances. However, I prefer open houses for a variety of reasons. The most important is that the home should be show ready for that event and the feed back from the people attending the event could be very useful in maintaining or adapting to your marketing strategy. 

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) about 6 years ago

As a REALTOR I tell them to call me before they go to an open house.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Excellent tip for a new Buyer on how to "tell the difference".

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: / cell: 334-494-7846 (iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\) about 6 years ago

Carol-Ann, as long as the buyer understands that the listing agent represents the seller, an open house is a good way to get acquainted with the neighborhood, inventory, and to meet some neighbors.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) about 6 years ago

Hi Lottie.   Those circumstances really do drive home the necessity of "getting on it".   Crazy thing about real estate.  Seems to be one extreme or the other.  


Hi Kimo.   Very true.   Open house should be show ready for sure.  Fortunately most of them in this area are.   Thanks for weighing in.


Hi Gene.   I think that is very smart!   Thanks.


Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) about 6 years ago

Hi Travis.  Thank you!


Hi Sharon.  Good point.   Here in MA we have a disclosure visible to the guests.   I keep it next to the sign in sheet.   Still I catch folks saying things their agents would cringe hearing.   

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) about 6 years ago

Excellent blog--I agree with each of  your points.  I like doing open houses and I appreciate it when buyers come in, with our without their agent

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) about 6 years ago

Hi Carol Ann, great tips for buyers searching for a home!  When buyers are serious they should be first in the door before the Open House.

Posted by Christine O'Shea (Christine E O'Shea Broker) about 6 years ago

This post was surely overlooked for a feature. You did a great job of breaking down the open house vs. appointment question.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) about 6 years ago

This blog post should have been featured the day it was submitted....they're all sleeping!!!!!  at least if they're sleeping, they can't screw up the system :)

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 6 years ago

Good advice fro home buyers. It is alwasy good to work with a buyer agent. In some parts of the country, builders agents do not coop with buyer agent if the bueyr went there without an agent the first time. When buyers start their search they do not know about this and they go to all the open houses .

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 6 years ago

Good point about the differences in approach between a serious "now" buyer and one who is still "kicking some tires."

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 6 years ago

Great information here for buyers wondering if they should visit open houses or set up a private showing.  I vote for the latter.

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) about 6 years ago

Carol-Ann, open houses are a great way to see what is currently on the market. However, they should set up a personal tour to get their questions answered.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 6 years ago

I think both are great ways. First, the open house to get an idea of what you're looking for. If that house really stands out, set up a private showing with your realtor so you can really get to know if that is the house for you. 

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 6 years ago

Well said, Carol-Ann. Buyers have a unique opportunity to see a home in two very different settings. Great point about open houses being a good thing for potential sellers to attend.
Thanks for sharing & good luck for busy open houses!


Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) about 6 years ago

If buyers are in the early stages of buying, then an open house is sufficient. However, if they are 60 days or less away, then they need an agent to assist them. Especially, in our very brisk real estate market.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 6 years ago

I counsel buyer to let me know if they are going to an open house so I can email the agent and let them know.. I also tell them to sign in and indicate they are working with me.  If they are serious buyers, I try to get to the open house to view the house with them.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 6 years ago

Good strategies. Many potential buyers go to open houses when they just want to look around to see what's available at what price and are not quite ready to start working with an agent (as in, don't want to be "pushed" before they are ready to be serious). 

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) about 6 years ago

I appreciate when the people that come to the Open Houses get back in a few days alter with or without their agent so really see the house. Nice featured post

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 6 years ago

I enjoy taking clients to busy open houses so they can see how many people are out there looking for the same style, price and neighborhood as they are. No fence sitting with low inventories!

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) about 6 years ago

Hi Guys.  Thank you all for your thoughts.  It sounds as if we are all on the same page on this.  

Thank you.   Hoping all your open houses this weekend are successful!   

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) about 6 years ago