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February 6, 2024

12 Tips for a Successful Open House

Open houses offer a great way to encourage potential buyers to visit your listing. This type of event is a great way to get potential buyers to see a property. When done right, an open house can generate multiple offers on a home.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the tips you can use to ensure your open house is a success. We’ll cover everything from planning an open house to following up with leads after the event.

What is an Open House?

Open houses are events that invite prospective buyers to visit a home during a scheduled time slot. With an open house, guests can show themselves around as they please. An open house differs from a standard showing, where potential buyers book an appointment to see a home for a one-on-one tour with an agent.

Many realtors use these events as a marketing tool for their properties. Open houses are very time-efficient since they allow one agent to fit several showings within a short period of time.

During an open house, the listing agent is responsible for making guests feel welcome and answering any questions that arise.

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A well-planned open house also creates a sense of urgency for putting in an offer. It builds demand since potential buyers realize that other people at the event may be interested in the property.

Note: An open house shouldn't be confused with a broker’s open house. A broker’s open event encourages other realtors and brokers to come out to preview a property on behalf of their clients. Thus, a broker’s opens are typically invite-only.

Planning for an Open House

Before we dive into the tips and techniques you can use for your open house, planning strategically is essential. A successful open house consists of five stages:

  • Planning
  • Promotion
  • Preparation
  • Hosting
  • Follow-up

Each stage deserves (and requires) special attention in order to pull off an open house that results in a sale.

First is scheduling. You’ll coordinate with the seller to find an afternoon or evening that works for them. You’ll need a two to three-hour window when the owners can leave so people can visit.

Once it’s scheduled, it’s time to plan the details.

Discuss with your clients how the house should look, smell, and feel for the open house. It’s your job as the agent to welcome guests and answer questions about the property, but the owners will need to have it ready to show before you arrive.

That means deep cleaning, decluttering, and staging. We’ll go into more detail in the sections below.

After you’ve briefed your clients on their responsibilities, it’s time for you to start promoting.



How to Promote an Open House

After planning, the first real step to hosting an open house is promoting the event. Here are a few tips for marketing your open house so potential buyers know about it.

1. Update Your Listing

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Before you start promoting your open house, updating the listing on the MLS and anywhere else it lives online is essential. At the very least, you should add the open house information to the listing, but you can take it a step further by optimizing your listing to perform in the market.

Since open houses typically take place pretty shortly after the listing goes live, there shouldn’t be much work to do. However, you can update it based on any feedback you’ve received from showings so far.

For example, if there’s an amenity or specific feature that interested buyers often ask about, address it in the online listing.

Furthermore, keeping an eye on the market and being prepared to make changes, like adjusting your asking price if needed, is crucial.

2. Invite the Neighbors

Inviting the neighbors is a great way to encourage attendance at your open house and potentially generate more leads. Since the neighbors already live in the area, they’re probably not in the market for a new home, but they might know someone who is. Neighbors also have valuable input and opinions that can help you sell the home.

You can use neighborhood apps, such as NextDoor, or mailbox flyers to spread the word.

Another way to invite neighbors is to explore local Facebook groups that allow real estate promotions. Some cities have real estate-specific Facebook groups, and others have neighborhood-specific groups that are focused on the community.

You can use both to promote your open house.

3. Use Signage

Putting up signage around the neighborhood is a very popular way to promote an open house. Open house signs may capture the attention of people who are driving through the area.

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If you decide to use signage to promote your open house, make sure they’re clear and attractive. Some realtors opt for generic open house signs with arrows, but if you have the means, consider making signs with your contact information so people can call for more info.

4. Use Social Media

Social media is another excellent way to promote your open house. You can publish the flyer on any platform where you have a following. Running paid ads on social media is an option, as well.

Some social platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, have event and reminder tools. Leverage these tools to encourage interested buyers to RSVP so they receive reminders as the open house approaches.

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In addition to posting the flyer for the open house, it’s beneficial to post pictures and videos of the property to create buzz and attract potential buyers. Use the captions of these posts to include your open house details.

Preparing the Property for Your Open House

Once you’ve promoted your open house, it’s time to double down on preparations. Here are a few ways to prepare the property for the open house.

5. Clean and Declutter

Creating a neutral space is key for a successful open house. Part of curating this space as such is to deep clean and declutter. Encourage your client to deep clean the house from top to bottom, or hire professional cleaners to do the job.

Throughout this process, encourage the seller to remove all personal items, such as family photos, jewelry, and similar mementos, and put them in a safe place. Suggest storage solutions to maximize space and keep items neatly arranged.

6. Stage the House

Staging the home to make it look like it’s straight out of a magazine is another way to set yourself up for a successful open house.

A recent study shows that 81% of buyers’ agents report that staging a home helps their clients visualize the space as their own. The same study reports that a well-staged home can increase the sale price by 1% to 5%.

How you stage a property ahead of an open house will depend on the budget for the project. Your client can take a DIY approach or hire professional stagers.

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Professional staging can be expensive, but staging without an eye for design can be challenging. We recommend leveraging virtual staging technology to inspire and guide your staging efforts.

Virtual staging AI provides a cost-effective way to quickly generate renderings of a staged home by uploading a photo. Of course, the room won’t be furnished in person, but there are still ways to take advantage of this technology.

results_vsai.png Virtually Rendered with Virtual Staging AI

If the home is empty, using virtual staging and having tablets available at the open house for visitors to try out can be a great way to allow them to see their preferences in the space.

Or, if a property won’t be shown in an open house, you can certainly lean into virtual staging technology to optimize your online listings.

7. Create a Welcoming Environment

Pleasant smells are inherently welcoming and can be integrated into an open house using wax melts, candles, oil diffusers, and air fresheners. You can also do something as simple as baking a sheet of cookies to bring that homey scent to the open house.

With that, it’s crucial to have a conversation with your client about securing valuables so people can roam the house without any concern. It’s also essential to discuss shoe policies with the owners since some people can be particular about shoes in the home.

Hosting the Open House

Now is the time for the event! Here are a few tips you can use as your event plays out.

8. Provide Refreshments

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Open houses are meant to feel more like a social gathering than a typical showing. With that, it’s essential to set the scene by providing refreshments. You can keep it simple with refreshments that are easy to clean up, like bottled water and pre-packaged snacks. You can put in a little more effort and serve some simple appetizers.

9. Ask Owners to Leave

Selling a home can be emotional for sellers. Typically, it’s better if the owner doesn't attend the open house. They may be tempted to drop by to scope out the clientele, but this really isn't appropriate.

Ensure your sellers know how important it is for them to stay out during the open house so they don’t compromise the event's success.

10. Keep Pets Out of Sight

In addition to asking the owners to step out for the duration of the open house, their pets (and all of the pets’ things) need to disappear, as well.

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Homeowners should remove pets from the home and take them to another location during the open house. This could be a friend's house, doggie daycare, a long walk, or whatever makes the most sense for your pet.

If removing the pets from the premises is impossible, you must at least keep them out of sight. You can encourage the owner to designate a specific area for them during home showings, such as a crate or enclosed outdoor space.

With that, it’s vital to eliminate any pet odors. Furniture, carpets, blankets, and anything else that may absorb odors should be thoroughly cleaned. Simply trying to cover pet odors may lead to worse smells, so they must be addressed directly.



After the Event: Following Up with Prospective Buyers

Your actions after the open house are as necessary as those leading up to and during the event. Follow-up is key to closing deals. With that in mind, let’s review some tips for staying in contact with potential buyers after your event.

11. Evaluate Responses from Potential Buyers and Take Notes

In addition to answering guests' questions at the open house, you should take detailed notes on their feedback, preferences, and concerns. This should give you a read on their level of interest in each property. Also, keep track of any questions they may have and any specific features they are looking for.

With this information, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the personalized follow-up after the event.

12. Stay in Contact with Follow-up Communications and Offers

It’s extremely important to stay in contact with potential leads and clients through follow-up communications and offers after an initial interaction.

Some specific strategies you can use for maintaining communication with leads from open houses include sending personalized emails, setting up regular check-ins, and offering exclusive promotions. During these interactions, be sure to follow up promptly with answers to any questions.

Make Your Next Open House a Success

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Hosting an open house is a great way to sell a home more quickly since it introduces your property to a broader audience and gives it a chance to shine.

As you plan your open house, remember the techniques we’ve covered for preparing, hosting, and following up. Above all, remember to prioritize curating a clean space with a neutral aesthetic and a welcoming ambiance.

Looking for guidance in staging the property ahead of your open house? Head over to Virtual Staging AI’s home page and upload an image of any room in the home to try the technology for free.