Open House: When It's Worth It -- or Not

The pros and cons of a open house
The pros and cons of a open house

To help sell her Austin, Texas condo, Tara Akins held a series of weekend open houses. Despite the fact that they were "well attended," according to her real estate agent, the eventual buyer came not from one of the open houses but through a private showing.

For many sellers, that's how the home-selling process unfolds. Open houses help to market the property and pull in viewers, but the buyer ultimately comes through another avenue, leading some real estate experts to question the effectiveness of the home tours.

If you're thinking about whether or not to hold an open house to help sell your property, here's how to weigh the advantages and disadvantages, as well as tips for getting the most out of this home-selling tool.