In the decades before the internet existed, open houses were the go-to strategy for home-sellers looking to show a property to prospective buyers. They figured that the best way to “get them through the door” was to, quite literally, get them through the door and proceed to show off the home’s features and amenities. This day and age, though, the view of many a home-seller is that an open house is a waste of time. While it can attract prospective buyers, it also attracts nosey neighbors, the tire-kicking type, and people with nothing else to do. Many real estate agents of today figure that the best way to market a home is to show off the pictures online and let interested parties make appointments to view the home.

The internet is an incredibly useful tool when looking for a home and most websites can provide you immediately with a wealth of information on it. You can find out the floor plan, square footage, view photographs and get data on the neighborhood’s demographics easily and quickly. What digital data cannot do (yet) is provide you with information on how the home feels. What’s it like to stand inside that kitchen or living room? Does the light shine in throughout the day, or are the windows situated so that after 10:00 a.m., the whole place is left shrouded in shadow?

Open houses can also be a lot more convenient than “by appointment only” for sellers who are still living in the home. Rather than having to constantly go from “lived in” to “ready for viewing” 5 or 6 times a week, specific dates and times are set for buyers to come in and view the home as the seller wants it to be seen.

Holding an open house is not only beneficial to buyers, but it can provide valuable information to sellers as well. When you hold a well-advertised open house, you can see first-hand by how many people come through the door what the market’s response is to your home. If your open house sees a healthy flow of people throughout the day, you’re likely doing something right in terms of marketing your home. However, if the turnout is decidedly stale, or most of those who show up make a bee-line for the free refreshments, then you may need to take a look at what you’ve done up to this point and how to make your home more marketable.

No matter what, you must market your home online. But, don’t overlook the option to also hold open houses. They were effective home selling tools in the past, and they can still be today.