Are You Wasting Your Time with an Open House?

Are You Wasting Your Time with an Open House?


Property showings are your chance to generate tenant interest and screen tenants. Your main goal is to find quality tenants who will pay rent on time and won’t damage your property.

Most landlords believe open houses will save them time, but they waste your time in the long run.

Here are 7 reasons why open houses waste your time:

Possible Elimination of Quality Tenants

When you set a time for your open house, you are risking the possibility that great tenants will not show up because they can’t make the time. It’s better to schedule individual showings. That way, you ensure interested tenants get a chance to see your space and meet you.

Similarly, by hosting an open house, you eliminate the hierarchy of which tenants are most interested and most prompt. For instance, with an open house, you won’t know which tenants reach out to you first, schedule first, or show up on time.

Lack of Personalized Attention and Walkthrough

One great way to sell your unit is to give each tenant one-on-one attention. It’s nearly impossible to do this at an open house. Individual property showings are better because you can guide a prospective tenant through the property, also known as a walkthrough.

During a walkthrough, you can highlight the perks of your space: tall ceilings, extra storage space, beautiful views, etc. What’s more, you will be with your tenant throughout the duration of the showing. If you leave tenants unattended at an open house, then you increase the chance of theft.

Tenants Can’t Imagine The Space as Their Own

The best way to “sell” your unit is to allow tenants space to see the unit as their own. Tenants want to view an open apartment and think, “This is where I see myself living.”

Imagining it as their own makes them want it.

But open houses are crowded, making the space look smaller and less appealing. And with ten strangers standing in it, tenants are less likely to feel it could be home.

Tenants Don’t Like Competition

Despite many landlords’ opinions, tenants are NOT motivated by competition. Rather than finding the space more desirable, competition will make them feel that there is no chance they will get the unit.

A small chance of getting the unit makes them less motivated to spend time and money filling out an application.

More Annoying for Current Tenants

When you schedule an open house, you’re asking your current tenants to be out of their home for a significant amount of time. This is a huge favor to ask of them. It’s more reasonable to use the foot-in-the-door approach, meaning it’s more acceptable to ask for multiple small favors (15-minute showings) than one large favor (a two-hour open house).

Ask your current tenants when they won’t be home, so you can schedule showings at convenient times for them. Be sure to make your tenants aware before your showing. That way, you provide proper notice of entry and you can remind them to clean up.

Open Houses Hurt Your Tenant Screening

Open houses weaken tenant screening by reducing your chances of noticing red flags.

Some red flags to look out for at a showing:

  • Bad manners
  • Messy appearance and belongings
  • Signs of lying

Red flags are easier to notice if you meet each tenant, which can be difficult at an open house.

Tough Deliberation Time

A crowded open house means you are less likely to remember each tenant. When it comes time to review rental applications and credit checks, it will be difficult to put a name to a face, let alone remember any important details he or she provided.

If you can’t remember who you’ve met, you’re throwing away the advantage of meeting people. This makes your decision harder to make and less educated.


It’s better to host individual property showings, so you don’t waste your time. The advantage of meeting people individually, walking them through the unit, providing desirable one-on-one attention, highlighting each perk of your unit, and remembering red flags makes it worth the time to schedule showings. Plus, you may not have to meet as many tenants before finding the right fit.

Let us know in the comments: would you rather have an open house or an individual property showing?

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