20 Successful Open House Tips for Realtors

best open house tips for realtors

Open houses are an essential part of your business plan to generate new real estate leads and get clients in real estate. When adding regular open houses to your calendar, you have scheduled opportunities to gain exposure and meet people—aka potential clients. Even those potential buyers who don’t end up purchasing that house will either know others who may be interested or may end up working with you in other capacities—to sell their current home or find another one. With so many benefits, it’s worth finding the time to host open houses.

Here are a few tips for success: 

20 Tips for a Successful Open House Strategy  

As a real estate agent, you’re on top of knowing your market’s numbers and real estate trends and statistics. Knowing how to host a successful open house is another skill to add to your arsenal of real estate skills.   

You’ve heard about baking cookies for open houses. That’s just one strategy. So here are tips to get the most out of hosting an open house from how to prepare and creative marketing ideas to ways to engage the neighbors (yes, they should come too!) 

1. Get Into the Habit  

When it comes to success in real estate, there are certain habits that all successful real estate agents have in common. One of these habits is setting daily routines, because consistency is key. A successful real estate agent doesn’t schedule an open house when they feel like it or when the seller asks them to. They get into the habit of putting open houses on their calendar on a frequent basis. This will also help you plan ahead for marketing the open houses and inviting other agents to help you out.  

2. Set a Goal  

Now that you’ve decided to get into the habit of hosting open houses and have started adding them to your calendar, it’s time to set a goal. Work backward on this. How many leads do you want to generate per month? How many can you get from a single open house?

Estimate, do the math, and allocate the number of open houses you’ll need to achieve your goal.  

3. Hold Other Agents’ Open Houses  

Think you can’t hold an open house because you don’t have any listings? Contact another agent in your office and ask them if you can hold an open house for them or with them. Chances are many real estate agents need a helping hand.

Make sure to ask in advance to give them enough time to plan and add your name to open house flyers. You may also want to work out a deal with the other agent and come to an agreed percentage for a referral fee to thank them if you get clients as a result of the open house.  

4. Pick an Area  

To become the expert and to brand yourself as such, pick one area and focus on it. It’s also to your advantage when having to do multiple open houses in one day. If your listings are all in the same area, you can easily travel between each and host as many as possible.

Be sure to also know the best times to have open houses in your area. It will most likely be weekends, but maybe your area gets a lot of foot traffic or cars coming by during the weekdays when potential buyers are traveling after work.

5. Advertise the Open House 

Don’t expect open house guests to just show up. Open house marketing is essential, or you may be wasting your time.

Even if you announce your open house times on websites like Zillow or your local MLS, you’ll want to also put it on your social media platforms and send a notification to your email lists and contacts. You can get creative and use Facebook and Instagram real estate tools like creating a Facebook event.

Be sure to advertise with high-resolution photos that are inviting and will catch the attention of potential buyers.  

6. Hold a Virtual Open House 

It may not be convenient for some potential buyers to go and attend an in person open house. This can be solved with virtual open houses.

Use platforms like Zoom or the live stream feature on social media like Facebook or Instagram. You can save these sessions to your profile, so anyone who couldn’t make it to the live event can still watch and comment with questions that you can answer later on. Virtual open houses will also allow you to reach people who are thinking about moving to your area but are too far away to visit at the time.

Be sure to capture email addresses and contact info from open house attendees as you would at an in person open house.  

7. Prepare in Advance 

Along with online marketing tools, you’ll still want to prepare traditional marketing items like open house signs and balloons, which you’ll need to prepare in advance. You may also want to print out flyers or prepare QR codes for potential buyers to scan for more information. Get your sign-in sheets ready and the appropriate disclosure documents that they may need to sign in order to view the home. Purchase disposable shoe cover booties to keep the home clean.

You’ll also want to take this time to call your current clients and database to invite them to your open house.  

8. Create a Seller Checklist  

Prior to the open house, tour the home if it isn’t your listing so you know the parts that you can highlight. Take this time to make a list of things that the seller can check off before they leave their home for the open house. Tell the seller that you’re looking at their home from a buyer’s perspective.

For example, let the seller know what clutter should be cleaned up, valuables or décor to put away that could potentially get ruined or how the furniture can be rearranged for easier foot traffic flow. Additionally, make sure to bring up some small fixes they can do in advance, like adding another coat of paint to a wall or cleaning or replacing the curtains to freshen up the home.  

9. Curate Local Goodie Bags 

It can sometimes be awkward to ask open house visitors for their contact information and to sign disclosures right at first contact. You can have little goodie bags to give away to them after they sign in as a thank you and as a talking point.

Include small branded items, like hand sanitizers or calendars with your contact information. And make it extra special by partnering with local shops to add their specialty items. This will allow you to meet local business owners, get to know people in the community, and introduce yourself as the local real estate agent while helping to promote their business.

Small businesses may have samples already prepped that you can add to the goodie bag, or you can purchase a few of their items to give away.  

10. Invite the Neighbors  

Nosy neighbors may just be your best advocates. They could just be curious or you might think they won’t buy the house. However, they may know someone who wants to buy the home, or they may even want to sell theirs. They are close enough to the home that they can easily come over during your open house event and fill out your sign-in form and maybe even chat with potential buyers about the neighborhood.

Invite the neighbors over to your open house via direct mail or knocking at their door, or hand out flyers as you see them in their driveway or yard when you visit the home.  

11. Determine Key Selling Points 

In addition to knowing the basics about the house, like property tax and square footage, ask yourself what are a few desirable aspects of the house that you want to point out when you are showing a potential buyer around. Have those talking points ready. If you’re having another agent helping you out, make sure to share these points with them to keep your message consistent.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to spend time knowing what else is also currently available on the market for comparison and know things like where are the closest grocery stores or public transportation in case questions come up.  

12. Showcase the Neighborhood  

Along with your goodie bags filled with items from local businesses, you can showcase other parts of the neighborhood to the potential buyer. Get them looking forward to what they can expect to have close by as new residents.

One way is to create a visual display of pictures of nearby parks, cute local coffee shops, and bigger attractions. Highlight some insider local tips such as the best local coffee shops or the best family-friendly restaurant to celebrate a birthday.   

13. Form Your Team  

While you could host an open house on your own, it’s always helpful to have a team. Especially if it’s a large house, you may need someone on each floor to be available to answer any questions and point out the key aspects. And if you’re showing an apartment, it’s useful to have someone in the lobby to greet and take potential buyers upstairs, while you stay in the apartment. At the same time, you can get to know other agents and help out newer agents who will appreciate the exposure you give them.

To top it off, having more than one person will help with Realtor safety during open houses

14. Invite a Home Financier  

Another person you can add to your team on open house day is a home financier. Having one on hand will allow prospective buyers to talk about financing directly with someone while at the open house. The home financier may appreciate the opportunity to talk to potential clients, and they may also keep you in mind when they have a referral too.  

15. Host an Open House Block Party 

It’s easy to think that another house for sale down the road is your competition and rival. However, you can actually work together with the agent of that home by hosting open house block parties. Have the other agents nearby also host their open houses at the same time as yours. That way you can invite the prospective buyer over to the other house and it will attract more people, and they can direct the people over to your open house down the road. It provides more exposure for everyone.  

16. Put Out Directional Signs  

Nowadays most drivers will use their GPS and map apps, but for those who just happen to be driving through the neighborhood, having directional signs pointing to your open house may work to catch attention. It will let someone who is coming know that you are actually there and ready to show, and it may draw others who weren’t even planning on attending an open house that day.

It’s helpful to put up multiple signs — not just one at a crossroad and one a few blocks away from the house. Map out every direction that cars can come from and put an open house sign there.

Make sure to find out if there are any rules set up by the homeowner’s association (HOA) and stay in compliance.  

17. Clean Up the Home  

Don’t forget to communicate with the seller to have their home clean before the open house, but also show up early to help out if necessary. Help them to declutter and move some furniture around to remove any obstructions to the flow of potential buyers walking through the house.

It’s also a good idea to arrive ready with some small touches like fresh flowers, burn a candle, or get a diffuser for an inviting scent. Open the windows if the weather allows, and make sure pets aren’t in the house. Add small decorative touches with seasonal flower bouquets, or leave a pumpkin outside in the doorway during fall.  

18. Turn On the TV 

If turning on the TV is appropriate for the home you are showing, leave it on at a volume that is not too loud in the background. It may serve as a conversational piece and ease any awkwardness when a potential buyer first steps into the home. You’ll have something to talk about like the weather or sports. Just avoid turning anything on that may be controversial.

You can also opt for soft, calming music in the background. 

19. Leave a Gift for the Seller  

Selling a home is stressful for a seller. If they still live in the home, you’re asking the seller to leave their home on a weekend when they could be relaxing and it may not be too convenient for them. So make sure to let them know you appreciate them by leaving a small gift. It could even be as simple as leaving the flower arrangement you used to decorate their home during the open house. Something small goes a long way.  

20. Follow Up 

Remember, to stay top of mind with real estate clients you need to follow up. Transfer the contact information you collected during the open house into your customer relationship management (CRM) platform of choice. Give them a call the following day for feedback when the house is still fresh on their mind.

Even if they may not want the property you were showing, you may be able to help them with selling their home or to look for another home. If they aren’t quite ready for your services, just follow up frequently so when it does come time to sell or purchase a home, they’ll think of you. 

Final Thoughts: How to Have the Best Open House 

Holding successful open houses on a regular basis can help provide a consistent flow of new leads for your real estate business. And if you’re looking for additional sources for leads, become a part of the Guidance Home Services real estate network, where we connect local real estate agents with pre-approved home buyers. Join the Guidance Home Services network today.  

Originally published on December 28, 2021. Updated October 16, 2023.

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