Real Estate Tips for BuyersReal Estate Tips for Sellers February 7, 2024

Open Houses in the South Puget Sound: A Field Guide

Welcome to the world of open houses in the South Puget Sound, where you might just stumble upon a Realtor like me! My name is Spencer Eiseman, I’m a passionate real estate professional dedicated to empowering you on your buying and/or selling journeys.

I’ve hosted hundreds of open houses in all sizes and price ranges since joining the industry in 2018; so rest assured you’re surely in the good company of a South Sound market expert. Now let’s explore this comprehensive field guide for open housing!

Understanding The Magic of Open Houses

Foremost, I’d like to start out by saying that open houses are often underrated and overlooked by agents and consumers alike. Open houses are a crucial part of the real estate market and one of the best ways to expose yourself or your home to the market. Keep in mind, agents are typically hosting open houses for one of two reasons, to find new clients to represent or to attract traffic to their own listing.

Below are just a few of the reasons why I stand by open houses as a part of my business practice.

For Buyers:

  • You get to immerse yourself in the properties and neighborhoods without the pressure of an appointment.
  • They open up the opportunity to connect with the hosting agent for valuable market insights and potential representation[1].
  • An easy route for a second showing to bring along a partner or family member and confirm your interest.

Pro Tip for Buyers: While socializing is encouraged, prioritize your focus on the property. Take note of the layout, condition, and any potential renovations needed. Ask questions about the property and envision your life within its walls.

For Sellers:

  • For generating buzz and receiving valuable market feedback to inform your strategy moving forward.
  • Get more potential buyers in the door with or without their agents to showcase your property[1].
  • Many times interested buyers will see the home via a scheduled showing with their agent and then come back to an open house to confirm their interest or intent to proceed with an offer (or vice versa).

Pro Tip for Sellers: Start going to open houses the minute you’ve decided you want to sell your home. It will give you different perspective on all of the prep work and what exactly goes into listing a home on the MLS.

For Agents:

  • It’s a low-cost way to connect with your community, showcase your expertise in the neighborhoods you serve, and gather your own market insights.
  • Potential leads and new listings can be found through open house interactions[1].


Open Houses in the South Puget Sound, Spencer Eiseman's sign

Finding Your List of Open Houses

There are quite a few ways to find open houses in the areas you’re most interested in. The methods are likely to be the same, no matter your geographic location.

Local Agent Websites and Social Media:

  • Follow local agents (like me! @spencer_eiseman) and Brokerages (like mine! @windermereabode) for frequent open house announcements, new listings, and insights.
  • Sign up for post alerts to stay updated on new listings and potential upcoming open houses.

Neighborhood Signs:

  • Keep an eye out for open house signs in your preferred neighborhoods.
  • Localized signs often lead to hidden gems.

Online Listings and Apps:

  • Utilize search platforms like, Zillow, and for easy access.
  • Ask me to set you up for “Neighborhood News” or to see new listings in your desired South Puget Sound areas.


253 Neon Sign at Windermere Abode

Best Practices for an Exceptional Experience

Do Your Research:

  • Familiarize yourself with the market trends and comparable properties.
  • Be prepared with questions for the hosting agent (I’ve provided just a few at the end of this blog)

Arrive Prepared:

  • Bring essentials like a notepad, pen, and all decision-makers of your household.
  • Serious buyers, have your pre-approval letter ready to go. (Check out my Buyer resource page and start your financing application with of my preferred lenders to get)

Be Respectful:

  • Mind your manners and treat the property with care, like if it were your own!
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip off (or just put on the provided and reusable shoe covers 😉 )
  • Engage with the agent at your comfort level to see if they’d be a good fit to help you reach your goals.

Navigating the South Puget Sound’s Nuances

Weather and Traffic:

  • Prepare for unpredictable weather, wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • Plan for varying traffic conditions and route out your list of homes in advance.
  • Flexibility is key to navigating the South Puget Sound region.

Housing Affordability and Inventory:

  • Stay informed about market trends and manage expectations, as our housing market is steeply influenced by:
    • Feeder markets (multiple military bases are near by, increasing and creating sustained housing demand)
    • There are quite a few people relocating to the PNW from other states with harsher weather and political influences
    • Neighbors moving down from King County in search of more affordable housing. Our median price difference in homes is over $400k! (Between Pierce & King County)
    • Net positive migration in our area combined with a lack of housing inventory is causing homes to continue appreciating and outpacing wage growth.
  • Rely on an experienced agent that truly knows the neighborhoods you’re interested in.

Statistics To Keep in Mind

Buyer Insights:

  • Only 28% attend open houses, according to a recent NAR report[11].
  • Only 7% find their home through open houses, as per NAR[11].

Agent Strategies:

  • 48% of realtors use open houses in their sales strategy[11].
  • A mere 4% of buyers start their home search by visiting open houses[11].

Great Questions to Ask at an Open House: A Q&A Guide

  1. Why is the house for sale?
    • This question provides insights into the seller’s motivation, therefore helping you gauge if there are specific issues with the property and neighborhood or if it’s a standard move[1].
  2. How long has the house been on the market?
    • Understanding the duration on the market can reveal the property’s desirability and potentially influence your negotiation strategy[1][6].
  3. How many offers has the seller received?
    • Discovering the level of interest can guide your decision-making process and negotiation tactics[1].
  4. What year was the home originally built?
    • Here in Tacoma, we have quite a few homes that are over 100 years old! The older the home, the more due diligence will be needed on the buyer’s side.
    • Uncover potential issues that might not be evident, ensuring you are well-informed about the property’s condition[5][6].
  5. Has the asking price fluctuated?
    • Understanding price changes can provide insights into the property’s market perception and potential negotiation room[4].
  6. How does this property compare to others in the neighborhood?
    • This question provides context on the property’s value and standing in the local real estate landscape[3].
  7. Have there been any recent offers or negotiations?
    • Learning about recent offers or negotiations can impact your approach and help you position your offer strategically[6].
  8. Do you have any Buyer Packets available?
    • A great agent knows exactly what this means. I prepare info packed folders to hand out and educate my prospective new clients on the best ways to succeed in the marketplace.
    • Pro-tip, go and download mine HERE before you set out for all the fun of open housing.

Conclusion: Your Journey Starts Now

Embark on your open house adventure with knowledge, guided by Spencer’s commitment to inclusivity and empowerment. For personalized advice and support tailored to the South Puget Sound region, contact Spencer today.

Stay tuned for more insights, helping you navigate the unique landscape of real estate in the South Puget Sound.