Seattle Area Open House Information Sources

Can you tell me where I can find a list of all the Open Houses that are happening in my area this Sunday?

boy-looking-at-toy-houseI’ve been asked this question lots of times and I have always had to answer, “I’m sorry. There is no single, good source. Everyplace is going to list the ones they are promoting.” Sadly, this is still the case. The Seattle Times classifieds was the defacto hub of information for Open Houses during the pre-internet-print-is-king era. Now that the web has taken over as the main source of any information, a “Complete Open House Times and Locations Guide” should be as easy as pulling up a Google Map. But it’s not.

Enter the major Brokerage Firms
Our NWMLS (Northwest Multiple Listing Service) does publish open house information if the agent requests it. However the larger brokerage firms restrict their agents from participating in publishing this information. Why? Because they all want you to come to THEIR websites and just see THEIR listings. God forbid that smaller companies might ride on the coattails of this and reap the benefits of centralized exposure to the public of their listings.

Meanwhile, the consumer looses. They don’t care which brokerage has the open house. All they care about is finding out about ALL of them in their desired price range and location. Until the brokerages figure out that not sharing is a loose-loose proposition, they are going to hold on tightly to one of the few pieces of information that they think they can control, even to the detriment of the industry as a whole.

Enter the free upstart website
Craigslist is generally a good source for open house information and has been devastating to the Seattle Times Classified section as more and more Sellers and agents realize that this is a popular source of information for Buyers to find out about real estate listings and open houses. The problem is that it is hopelessly unorganized and difficult to filter well. Properties scroll off quickly and the average consumer misses a number of worthwhile ads.

For now, here is a list of a few of the various companies Open House sites where you can find Seattle area open house information and then assemble it yourself.

Coldwell Banker Bain Open Houses

Winderemere Open Houses

John L Scott Open Houses

Re/MAX Open Houses

Craigslist Open Houses
(I recommend you search for “open” rather than “open house’ – otherwise you may miss alternate titles eg. “Open Sunday”. Use price and bedrooms to filter further.)

Seattle Times Open Houses
Keep in mind that ads placed in the company-sponsored sections of the The Seattle Times classifieds (often referred to as “block ads”) DO NOT automatically show up when you search on the NWSource website. If available, these ads are often an extra charge to the agents and may or may not be included in the ads they have placed.


NWMLS Open House mapping feature could be a GREAT tool for agents AND consumers. But because the major brokerages and some of the smaller brokerages refuse to participate, and because it currently doesn’t differentiate between “Brokers Open” and “Public Open” events, consumers are on their own to dig and find the open houses they may want to see. (sources tell me that in the next major update, the NWMLS will be able to break out public vs. brokers open houses) Hopefully the NWMLS will start offering a report of this that can be emailed or subscribed to. That might be the tipping-point that would get other brokerages to participate.

Then there is the old-fashion way
The one sure method for Buyers: Get in your car and drive around the areas you are interested in. Agents almost always put out a sign to lure you in, even if the collective NWMLS Brokers won’t help them online.

8 thoughts on “Seattle Area Open House Information Sources

  1. Totally agree with you Jim. The large brokerages are being territorial to the detriment of the consumer.

    Redfin seems to be one of the only sites willing to show open house information from any brokerage. The caveat there is that not all brokers are publishing their open houses to the MLS. If they do, it will appear on the Redfin site. Would be nice if the other brokers step up and start publishing competitors open houses as well.

  2. The ironic thing is that the large brokerages (or I should say the brokers with large web site budgets and proactive IDX vendors) are going to be the first brokers to create web sites that develop a means to share open house information with consumers (once they agree to share with each other).

    The small brokers, generally don’t have IT staff to take advantage of all the data the NWMLS offers their members. Perhaps it’s a tactic to slow down Redfin? Or maybe the big brokers don’t have the budget or desire to keep up with Redfin right now? Anybody know if any other MLS shares open houses data from members yet?

    Oh well, I’m sure the large brokers have had this discussion in past regarding data sharing issues. I’m sure they’ll eventually share the open house data with each other & NWMLS members.

  3. This is one of those instances where I’d like to see an MLS that was operated by member/agents instead of being the domain of member/brokers. Every agent should be able to post his open house on NWMLS and have the data available to any “civilian” who wants it.

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