Jerry Oates plans to give up six hours of his upcoming weekend to try to sell a house or two.

This afternoon, he will hold forth at a “top dollar” $649,900 home in Mount Pleasant. He will show a $289,900 house in Hanahan on Sunday 2-5 p.m.

Oates, a Realtor with AgentOwned Realty, will be participating in The Post and Courier’s Fall Tour of Homes.

The agent acknowledges he’s ambivalent about open houses: They don’t typically lead to sales. But he likes The Post and Courier tour.

“It was good timing,” he says.

The Post and Courier open houses draw traffic in part because the newspaper will give away a $100 American Express gift card to “one lucky person” touring the homes this weekend, he says.

Oates’ two residences are among 48 homes for sale that will be open to the public today and Sunday afternoons as part of The Post and Courier’s fall homes tour.

Residences range in price from the low $200,000s to nearly $1 million. Homes will open east of the Cooper and in West Ashley, on James and Johns islands and in Hanahan, North Charleston, Summerville and Wando/Cainhoy to name a few.

Open houses could be considered “old school” in terms of methods to market a home. They don’t require a smart phone or social media.

At the same time, there aren’t any hindrances to open houses embracing technology. And in terms of popularity, they seem in general much more “new school.” While agents such as Oates say they’ve held open houses where only one person showed up, the events can draw decent crowds and once in a while lead to sales.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 45 percent of home buyers used an open house as a source in their home search process in 2012.

Among other NAR information concerning open houses:

• Home buyers in the South are more likely to find a residence through an open house than purchasers in the West, Midwest and Northeast.

• First-time home buyers are more likely to find homes through open houses than repeat buyers.

• House hunters aged 45-64 are most likely to find a home via an open house, besting shoppers aged 25-44 and 18-24.

• New-home buyers are more likely to use open houses than purchasers of existing houses.

• Couples, either married or unmarried, are more likely to walk through an open house than single buyers.

• Buyers who use a language other than English in a home are most likely to use open houses in the United States.

• Home shoppers who were not born in the U.S. are more likely to use open houses than people who were born here.

Meanwhile, at least some Charleston area agents intend to continue employing open houses as one of their marketing tools.

Oates says he holds open houses occasionally. He opened the Mount Pleasant house – located in the Oakhaven neighborhood – four weeks ago and attracted 12 house hunters.

“Sellers kind of expect it,” he says.

Even if the results are spotty, Oates says, “I still do them. I like to do them.”

To see more information on each of the 48 homes that will be open, check out the Open House pages in the Saturday Real Estate section.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or