An open house show is usually an event wherein people are invited to a building, such as a home, museum or theater, to take a look at its interior. The term open house generally infers that invitees are welcome to come into the space and look around without being perceived as nosy. Often, guests are not expected to arrive at a specific hour, but rather within a block of time.
The most common type of open house show is one hosted for real estate purposes. For such an event, a real estate agent usually invites the public to visit a home that is on the market, ready for sale. Those interested may enter and look at the house, either on their own or accompanied by a real estate agent.
The real estate agent may treat the open house like a small cocktail party, by serving drinks and snacks, in an attempt to attract more people. He or she may also put up banners and balloons, or put an ad in a newspaper. If a house proves to be difficult to sell, an agent may hold several open houses there to publicize its availability.
Usually the people who live in the house that is for sale are not present during the open house show. Due to concerns about homeowners' ability to remain objective about the state of their home, many real estate agents ask owners to leave during the show. The agent is then free to conduct tours with prospective buyers, with or without their agent, and answer questions about the property.
People who have recently bought a new home may also choose to hold an open house show. The purpose of this event is usually to let friends, relatives and neighbors see the home and admire how the homeowners have decorated it. This gathering is also commonly referred to as a housewarming party.
An art gallery or museum open house show is a similar, but different, event from that held in a residence. These events typically invite visitors to visit and look at a new exhibit or a new section of the building. Sometimes the works on display are available for sale or auction during the open house.
Visitors may also be encouraged to tour older areas of the establishment to increase patronage overall. Some museums have an open house show each month, using it as a form of advertising. This type of open house can include food, live music and discounted or free admission fees.