12 Tips for a Successful Open House
Open houses can provide an excellent opportunity to show off a home and possibly cause a buyer to fall in love and make an offer. Preparing for an open house is just as important as the event itself. We’re going to look at 12 open house ideas for real estate agents that will help you prepare effectively and make the most of your event, so you can turn a new listing into a sold property in no time.
1. Advertise the Open House
An open house is only successful if you can get people to attend. You shouldn’t rely solely on word of mouth and a sign outside the home to draw in buyers. These methods are a good start, but you should also advertise the open house in various places online. Consider where you’re most likely to reach your audience.
- Real estate sites: Real estate websites such as the Multiple Listing Service, Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com make it possible to add open house information to your property listing. These sites are popular with people at all stages of house-hunting, so you want to make sure anyone who looks at your property listing also finds out about your open house.
- Social media: You can also leverage social media to get the word out. If you have a good following, you can post about the open house and encourage others to share the information. You could also pay for an ad to reach even more people. Make sure your post or ad gives enough information to get people excited about the property.
2. Strategically Pick Your Day and Time
Another key to a successful open house for realtors & sellers is strategically scheduling your event during a certain day and time to pull in potential buyers. Sunday is the traditional day for an open house, and for a good reason. Weekends tend to accommodate most people’s work schedules, and Sundays tend to be less eventful than Saturdays for most families. As for the time, the afternoon is typically best, since it allows Sunday worshippers to attend. Though Sunday afternoon is an undoubtedly popular time, a weekday evening is also a viable time to consider.
Another aspect of timing to consider relates to when the property hits the market. If you want to generate excitement around your open house, consider scheduling it for the first day the house is officially on the market. That way, you can advertise the house as coming soon, and interested buyers will plan to attend the open house rather than wait for a private showing, so they don’t miss out on getting an offer in.
3. Invite the Neighbors
Your target audience isn’t necessarily limited to potential buyers. You can also generate leads by pulling in neighbors who may recommend the house to their friends and family who are getting ready to move. Neighbors may enjoy attending because they are curious to see the inside of the house next door or down the street. Even if this is their motive, they could end up pointing a potential buyer in the direction of the home. Or, they may even consider moving a few doors down if they fall in love with the home.
There are plenty of ways you can let neighbors know about the open house. On the day of the event, make sure there are plenty of signs and balloons to attract attention to neighbors and passersby. You can also advertise ahead of time, though, by knocking on doors in the neighborhood or by leaving flyers or door hangers with an invitation to attend. Make sure they know they are welcome, even if they are not in the market for a new home.
4. Create an Open House Block Party
If there are similar properties for sale nearby, get in touch with the listing agents for these properties and see if they are interested in hosting open houses, as well. If so, see if you can coordinate and host your open houses on the same day. That way, you can promote the event as an open house block party. Advertising the event this way can help create a more substantial buzz than you could generate with one open house alone.
This strategy is a smart way to attract more attendees, since they’ll be able to view multiple homes in the same neighborhood all at once. Research from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows buyers who use the internet to aid in their search visit an average of 10 homes before they make a purchase. This process typically takes 10 weeks. Getting to visit multiple properties on the same day may condense the process and help someone find their dream home sooner.
5. Remove Clutter, Personal Items and Valuables
You want buyers to be able to visualize themselves in the home. They should see the property as a blank canvas they can put their personal touch on. That’s why one of the essential open house tips for sellers is to remove as many of their belongings as possible. These include everyday belongings, as well as personalized features like photos on the wall. The house should feel clean and open.
You also want to make sure you don’t leave any valuables lying around during an open house. Unfortunately, open houses present a security concern, since opening up a home to the public can attract criminals who are interested only in finding valuables they can lift from the home, unnoticed. You can prevent this from being an issue by ensuring there are no valuables in the home, or that you have securely stored jewelry and other items in a locked safe.
6. Stage the Home With Quality Furniture and Decor
While you want the home to be decluttered and depersonalized, that does not mean you want it to be empty. The key is to strike a balance between having the house look neutral, while still making it feel homey. You want buyers to see all the potential a property has to be their dream home. An excellent way to do this is by staging the home with attractive furniture and decor. If you have the option, renting high-quality furniture will elevate the whole space.
Staging is a proven strategy to help buyers see the property as their potential future home. According to research from the NAR, buyers tend to agree the living room is the priority to stage, followed by the master bedroom and then kitchen. Therefore, it’s smart to focus your staging efforts on these rooms. To enjoy the full benefits of staging a home, rely on the expertise of a professional designer. These designers know how to select the right lighting, furniture and accessories to maximize your home’s appeal.
7. Keep Pets out of Sight
Most of us enjoy meeting other people’s pets. There’s a good chance the potential buyers in attendance at your open house will have pets of their own, but they shouldn’t see any signs of the current owner’s pets. No matter how pristine the house is, seeing a cat, dog or another furry friend inside could be off-putting to some people, since indoor pets tend to contribute to messes and general wear and tear in a home.
Another potential issue that could arise from having pets on the premises is that they could bother people who have allergies. You don’t want someone to get distracted by itching eyes or sneezing when they’re touring the home. In short, it’s wise to remove pets altogether if possible or to keep them contained in a mudroom or other place where they’ll be out of the way.
8. Greet Guests as They Enter
Not all open house tips for agents require preparation. A simple gesture of hospitality goes a long way. When guests enter the front door, greet them with a smile and a quick introduction. Welcome them and let them know you’re available to answer all their questions. Don’t bombard them with too much conversation or too many questions about their home search right away, but be sure to at least greet them.
As people look around the home, make yourself available to answer any questions they have about the property. Doing so will also help you learn more about what they’re looking for in a home and which selling points would be most convincing to them. You can also ask about where they are in their home search process and whether they’re working with a real estate agent. If they’re just starting out looking at homes, they may be interested in your services as a buyer’s agent.
9. Use a Sign-In App
Part of what makes a successful open house for Realtors is connecting with buyers and possibly finding some new clients in the process. You want to make sure you personally connect with each person who attends the open house while they’re there, but you also want to follow up to learn more about their home search and whether you may be able to help them in their search. That is why you’ll want to collect the contact information for everyone who attends the open house.
You could do this with an old-fashioned clipboard, but a more efficient and modern way to collect information is using a sign-in app. There are several apps you can choose from that include different features and come at varying price points. Whatever app you choose, you can use the app on either a smartphone or a tablet. Find an app with the features you value and say goodbye to losing a sheet of paper or having to decipher messy handwriting to follow up on leads.
10. Provide Refreshments
Another way you can show hospitality and make the house feel homier is by offering some refreshments to guests. Consider the time of year and the time of day to help you select what you serve. Here are a few ideas.
- Coffee and pastries: If you’re hosting an open house in the morning, coffee is a definite win. The aroma of coffee alone can be especially inviting. Add some Danishes, muffins or other pastries, and you have a lovely continental breakfast for guests to enjoy.
- Wine and cheese: In the late afternoon or evening, wine is a nice touch to make your open house feel like a little soiree. A cheese board is the perfect complement and tends to go a long way so you won’t have to worry about running out.
- Cookies and milk: Chocolate chip cookies and milk are favorites for adults just as much as they are for kids. Bake the cookies in the home, and you’ll also fill the kitchen with an enticing smell most people associate with an idyllic home.
- Hot seasonal drinks: In the fall or winter, hot drinks can be an excellent way to invite seasonal scents into the home and warm up your guests. Spiced cider, herbal tea and hot chocolate are all good choices and work any time of day.
11. Use Handouts and Brochures
Anyone who is legitimately interested in making an offer will want to learn as much about the property as they can. NAR surveyed buyers who had used the internet during their home search and found that 85% of these buyers considered detailed information about a home to be very useful. They also found 87% of buyers said photos of the property were very useful.
You certainly want to post this information online, but you can also help open house attendees by sending them home with handouts that include some eye-catching photos of the home, along with detailed information they may find useful. Remember, they’ll likely go on to visit other houses, so you want them to have a quick reference to refresh their memory when they try to compare those homes to your listing. Also, include your business card so they can contact you if they have any questions.
12. Create a Video Walk-Through
The final item on our list of open house ideas for Realtors is to create a virtual tour of the property. A video walk-through will never be quite the same as touring a home in person, but it can be a great visual aid for people who attended the open house and later want a refresher on the look and layout of the home. It can also help buyers who were unable to attend the open house. A video tour is the next best thing.
There are a variety of tools you can use to create a video walk-through. The most straightforward approach is to walk through the home and record it with a smartphone. If you want to live-stream it and keep it casual, this isn’t a bad method. However, if you want the video to appear more polished and be a resource on the real estate listings for the property, go with a more professional method.
Impress Potential Buyers With Furniture From IFR
If you’re interested in staging a home in preparation for a successful open house, partner with the experienced consultants at Interior Furniture Resources (IFR). IFR is your source for all your furniture needs, whether you’re staging a home or furnishing it more permanently. Let us help you turn your house into a home that is sure to excite buyers at your next open house. View our portfolio to get inspired by what expert staging can do, and contact us today to learn more.