Buyers like open houses because it gives them an opportunity to browse properties without engaging their Realtor. Many buyers get their inspiration by seeing properties in person and open houses provide a great vehicle for this kind of buyer. (this is the “ I’ll know it when I see it” buyer) Some buyers also prefer to direct their own search independent of a Realtor and engage a Realtor only at purchasing time. Both of these buyer groups may “shop” casually for a property over an extended period of time but are still bonafide buyer prospects and a market segment not to be overlooked. In many cases, open houses are the only way to attract these kinds of buyers.
Buyers get to see a number of properties casually and can get a good idea of market value over time thus doing vital research by educating themselves on the market and home features most of interest to them.
Some potential buyers do not want to bother their own Realtor until they are really serious about buying. Others prefer not to have a commission driven professional trying to hasten their buying process.