More September 24, 2012

September Perspectives: Open Houses


Our family was recently debating the merits of getting the news via print or online. Some of us still prefer reading the newspaper the old-fashioned way – hence the reason we regularly run this column. Much like newspapers, real estate has had to evolve to meet the high-tech demands of our clients, yet there are still some things technology has not changed.

What hasn’t changed? The time-honored tradition of Sunday open houses. What has changed is how buyers find out about open houses and search for homes. Once upon a time, the only way buyers knew which homes were for sale was through a real estate agent or yard sign. And open houses were posted in the classified section of the local newspaper. Nowadays, newspapers play a far lesser role because there is so much information available online, including interior and exterior photos of properties, but buyers must still look to their agent and open houses in order to physically see inside a home.

From the dawn of real estate, open houses have been a convenient, low-pressure way for prospective buyers to look at homes without any strings attached. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that a typical buyer would take their Seattle Times real estate ad, circle the homes they wanted to visit, load everyone in the car, and go on a Sunday afternoon drive. Times have changed in some respects, but buyers still love driving around, visiting open houses, and learning the nuances of a particular area. In our opinion, it’s probably the best way to get to know a neighborhood.

It can take some buyers up to a year of researching the real estate market before getting serious about buying. That’s partly why open houses continue to be a very important part of the overall buying process – and we don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.

To search for open houses in your area, go to