NAR says more than 300 Realtor associations are participating in the event, which takes place June 4-5. About 1,700 local Realtor associations and boards belong to NAR, as well as 54 state and territory associations.
While open houses are popular with some prospective buyers and "looky loos," NAR’s most recent survey of members found that 90 percent of Realtors get less than 10 percent of their business from open houses, including 67 percent who generate no business from them at all.
Safety has also become a concern after a Des Moines, Iowa-area Realtor was shot and killed while holding an open house in April.
But open houses can also be useful in building relationships with other agents.
During a visit to Northern California in April, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC President and CEO Sherry Chris was impressed by an open house in which the listing agent had set up a cappuccino bar for visitors.
"It encouraged agents to stay around and talk a bit," Chris told Inman News, adding that such details can be key for a relationship-based business.
"Providing that extreme service — going above and beyond — needs to happen at the industry level and the agent-to-agent level," Chris said.
Some location-aware mobile apps, like Realtor.com’s iPad app, allow users to see nearby open houses, as well as homes for sale and for rent.
Another iPad app, Open Home Pro, allows prospective buyers to enter their name, email and other pertinent contact info into the agent’s iPad.