I get asked this question more and more it seems. Firstly, stop watching so much HGTV! It’s common on their American shows that they air, and this is where I think the idea is first introduced to the clients I work with. It makes for good TV I suppose; a realtor’s life really isn’t that exciting!
In Toronto and the GTA, it’s not a common practice. Listings in the suburbs are just too far apart and when there are only one or two agent only open houses at any given time, it’s simply not practical to drive to those listings. The feedback from realtors who have tried to host agent only open houses was that turnout was poor, and not much was accomplished.
Having said that, I have been to a few to be honest. But it’s not because I was curious about the home or because I had potential buyers for that listing. I went in for the free food! Sandwiches and refreshments are commonly served and they are usually hosted around lunch time. If I’m in the area without a lunch, I just can’t help but go in!