How to do an open house

How to Do an Open House - Tips for Real Estate Agents

by The CE Shop Team

Open House Tips for Real Estate Agents 

When it comes to hosting an open house, there's so much more than just setting up open house signs and leaving the door unlocked. Whether you're a new real estate agent or a seasoned pro, we’ve outlined the best open house tips to help you maximize your marketing efforts, reel in potential homeowners, and boost your home sales. Here are some initial open house recommendations to get started:

  • Clean and stage the listing: On open house day, the listing should be neat, tidy, and clean. Before any foot traffic makes its way through the house, have the homesellers declutter any visible areas and remove all personal items from view. Serious buyers need to visualize themselves living in the space, so depersonalizing it gives them a blank canvas.
  • Greet open house attendees at the front door as they arrive. A warm greeting at the door provides an instant connection with the potential client and makes them feel more comfortable. Make sure the rooms are light, address any funky smells, take cleaning seriously, and serve refreshments - fresh-baked cookies are always a great choice! 
  • Upon entry, offer visitors a professionally printed pamphlet that outlines key points about the property along with your contact information. Experienced real estate professionals know that this simple flyer can leave a lasting impression, especially if it features a creative design and gives potential buyers not only more information about the property itself but a link to your real estate website along with your contact information, just in case they have questions (or even an offer). 
  • Be prepared. You'll likely need to answer questions about the property, the neighborhood, and the real estate market in general during the open house. Inevitably, some people will have questions like "what kind of upgrades have been made?" or "what's the square footage of the den?", so be sure to have the appropriate answers ready. If they do ask you something that you can’t answer confidently, take down their contact information with the promise that you’ll reach out with more information.
  • Research the neighborhood beforehand. Prospective buyers who don’t live nearby will likely have the most questions about what this property’s location means for their lifestyle. What schools, restaurants, or recreational activities can you promote during your open house event?
  • Gauge the interest of the visitors as they leave the home. Leaving a lasting impression makes all the difference in future contacts and real estate leads.
  • Exchange contact information with all your visitors. Encourage them to follow you on all your social networks so that you can keep them on your radar for future homebuying prospects and vice versa.

What Types of Listings Should Have an Open House?

Since only 8% of buyers find their new home at an open house, many real estate agents have to consider if the efforts to set up an open house will pay off. It all depends on how well the home is advertised and whether it's in a neighborhood needing a little promotional boost.

Though you may decide not to host open houses down the line, understanding the work that goes into them and how to hold an open house is a useful skillset to have in your career. With that in mind, let’s outline how to get the word out about your open house.

Advertising and Marketing for Open Houses

Marketing is the lifeblood of real estate, and open houses require a healthy dose of buyer awareness to be successful. We have compiled six specific advertising and marketing tips you should use to promote your open house to drive as many visitors as possible to the property. 

Post the Listing on Real Estate Sites

Numerous real estate sites are available to advertise events like open houses. Beyond sites like Nextdoor, posting to sites like, Zillow, and Trulia can help bring national interest to the home you're selling.

Depending on what kind of home it is, your posting may pique the interest of people from across the country, particularly if you're selling higher-end homes in a big city.

Email Your Database to Spread the Word

Through your work as a real estate agent, you'll start to build a database of contacts you may communicate with via email. Use your email list wisely to inform people about your open house event.

Sending out emails in a marketing campaign is more effective than you might think. Everyone still uses email, and they're easy to access on any mobile device. Sharing open house information here can generate buzz quickly, sometimes even inspiring offers that same day.

Utilize Social Media

Places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide perfect opportunities to promote open houses. Facebook lets you set up public events that can be shared with all your followers or simply the public at large. Using the right keywords is vital on these sites to make sure your event is seen by those you're targeting. 

Twitter offers the same kind of reach, including the potential of holding a live open house through their Periscope app. On this platform, you can create localized hashtags that can push the announcement of your open house event to a multitude of people.

Live Social Media Event

As briefly discussed above, holding a virtual tour for those who can't attend in person has become a great alternative to the traditional event, especially in the time of COVID-19. Virtual houses are a great way to share your available listing while keeping yourself and your community safe.

Direct Mail Flyers

Never discount the value of direct mail. Sending out flyers about your open house can reach just as many people as you would find on social media or by email. By making these direct mail campaigns more locally targeted, you can share your event info with neighbors and others living nearby who may either be interested in the property themselves or know of someone eager to join the neighborhood!

When to Hold an Open House

Finding the right times to generate the most traffic will take some research. Typically open houses take place during the weekend, and many are scheduled during the warmer months. That said, we also have tips you can follow to host a successful open house in the cooler months as well, such as maximizing warm interior space and focusing on exterior aesthetics. As for the best time of day to host an open house, industry experts agree that open houses are best held during the afternoon. To get even more specific, the optimal time slot for your open house will be an afternoon, say 1 PM-4 PM, during the weekend rather than on weekdays. When you’re planning an open house, make sure to keep an eye on the local sports teams and when they play. While not everyone is a sports fan, that game could impact attendance at your open house. 

Pro Tip: 

It's always a good idea to place signage outside of the property ready for an open house. Having these signs in front of the house and throughout the neighborhood helps spread the word about your event. A "nosy neighbor" might even see your sign and further boost your efforts by sharing the news with others in the area who might be interested in attending.

How to Engage with Open House Visitors

When visitors arrive at your open house, give each person at least a moment of your full attention, even if they aren't necessarily serious about buying. Engaging with these individuals is still essential because they may have an interest in another house you're currently selling. Their presence at this open house gives you the perfect opportunity to tell them about a similar listing or perhaps put them on your contact list if they ever want to sell their own house.

Another thing to consider when thinking about how to host an open house is your safety. It’s crucial that you’re aware of who is in the house at all times. Your safety and well-being are significantly more important than any sale, so keep your wits about you. Having a trusted friend to stay with you during the open house can help to alleviate the pressure of being a salesperson and a bouncer at once, so consider buddying up.

Visit us at The CE Shop to learn more about open houses and our real estate courses. We have everything you need to take your career to the next level, whether you’re an aspiring amateur or a veteran of the industry.