Modern Open Houses: How the Open House Has Changed in ~20 Years

Whether You’re Buying or Selling a House in TX, Here’s What to Expect & Know About Today’s Open Houses

Open houses have been around for more than a century, first popping up in the early 1900s as a sort of inspection.

Back then, open houses would run from dawn to dusk every day, with an agent on site day after day until a house sold. That’s why early agents only took on one listing at a time, and it instantly made the open house a key marketing tool for real estate agents.

That hasn’t changed, but today’s open houses have.

In fact, they’re a lot different than they were in their early days, and they’ve evolved considerably over the past couple of decades.

That’s largely due to new technology, shifting expectations, and other factors, all of which have changed the game and modernized the open house process and experience.

3 Ways Today’s Open Houses Are Different (Than Those of the Past)

Here’s a closer look at how open houses have changed over the last 20 years, what’s driven those changes, and how they can impact the home buying and selling process.

Modern Open Houses - Texas Realtors

1. Fewer traditional open houses.

Traditionally, open houses are held on the weekends for at least 2 to 3 hours, giving sellers the chance to show a house to as many potential buyers as possible while buyers have the chance to pop into as many open houses as they can (or as they come across while driving around).

That’s not happening these days as much as it did 5 to 10 years ago, with many sellers and agents shifting to “by appointment only” showings, especially during the pandemic.

In fact, real estate agents and sellers in some areas are even offering limited time slots — like 15- to 30-minute windows — for buyers to book, so they could see a house.

  • Potential Pro: Sellers can limit foot traffic to serious buyers only while minimizing the need for extensive cleaning in between showings.
  • Potential Con: There could be fewer opportunities for houses to catch buyers by surprise in person. Plus, listings with poor online photos could miss out on legit interest without traditional open houses.

2. Digital announcements for open houses.

Publicizing open houses is nothing new, but using technology to do that has changed the way agents and sellers announce and promote their open houses. Specifically, many are using:

Digital Open Houses - TX Realtors
  • Social media, using hashtags (like #openhouse) to generate interest online and be the spaces that are highly visible to buyers

  • Email, offering details about upcoming open houses and options to schedule private showings

  • Text messages, sharing links to listings where prospective buyers can view property descriptions, photos, and more information

All of this means that more buyers and sellers are heavily relying on the Internet and digital resources to research or promote open houses. 

  • Potential Pro: Sellers and agents can reach more “passive” buyers, putting listings right in front of their eyeballs (in places they check multiple times a day). That can generate far more interest in houses as soon as they hit the market and mean more successful open houses. 
  • Potential Con: There isn’t really a downside to the digital promotion of open houses unless sellers or agents are trying to get listings in front of potential buyers who are not that internet, email, or text savvy.

3. Virtual open houses

Virtual Open Houses - Texas Realtors

Through pre-recorded videos or live video calls, agents and sellers are offering more and more virtual open houses these days to give buyers a more dynamic view of a house before or in place of an in-person showing.

Popularized during the pandemic, virtual open houses have stuck around and continue to be widely used, especially in conjunction with social media, email, and text messaging (the above trend).

  • Potential Pro: Virtual open houses can be ideal for out-of-town buyers, especially those who may not be able to see a house in person before making an offer. Additionally, these modern open houses can weed out window shoppers, assuring that only the more serious buyers come to see a house.  
  • Potential Con: Buyers can be inspired to check out different aspects of houses once they’re in them, and virtual open houses won’t necessarily show every single feature of a house that buyers may want to see (like how the toilets flush or the views out of certain windows).

Modern Open Houses: The Bottom Line

Although open houses have evolved with time and new technology, the bottom line is that:

  1. Open houses aren’t going away. As much as they may change, open houses are still great opportunities for sellers to showcase a house while buyers get the chance to check out homes they’re interested in more closely. 

  2. Realtors can help with open houses, home viewings, offers, and more, providing invaluable guidance to set buyers and sellers up for success.

Ready to Buy or Sell a Home in Texas? Get Help & Get CASH BACK at Closing

Whenever you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, or anywhere in Texas, a little help can pave the way for a smoother process. It could even mean making a better deal.

To avoid mistakes, streamline the process, and get the best price, regardless of whether you’re buying or selling a house, work with an experienced pro.

The trusted Realtors® at New Home Gurus are ready to guide you through the process, helping you with offers, negotiations, and closing. Plus, we’ll split our commission with you when the sale closes.

Homebuyers and sellers who work with New Home Gurus can get back an average of $4,500 to $12,000 at closing.

How Much Cash Can You Get After Closing?

Call (281) 668-8124 or Contact Us to Find Out Now

We are standing by, ready to answer your questions and explain the details of our commission-sharing program.

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