What makes a successful OPEN HOUSE?

Mortgage and Lending with Your IRA guy!

First of all, it's not always just about the house itself, it's about the ability to capture potential buyers isn't it?  I'm on the mortgage side but, I can tell you, the last open house I attended I don't think the realtor quite understood this concept.  he had a sign in sheet, he didn't say anything to people, handed out no business cards, etc.  and I thought "what a waste of his time!".  I was there for 45 minutes and had to ask him for his card-of course, I never called him and why would I?  In 6 months he'll be out of business!

In order for an open house to be successful depends on a lot of factors.  Things I can think of include:

  • The home itself how's the curb appeal? Why would I even want to walk up to it?
  • Condition of the property inside and out
  • Is the home showing empty or is it staged
  • Is it open and lit or dark and cluttered?
  • What draws them to that house over others?
  • is it dated or does it have attractive upgrades?
  • Weather
  • Other events going on in area that could effect traffic-both good and bad
  • Pricing-is it priced accordingly?
  • Are there 1st time home buyer options (loans/grants) available and advertised on site?
  • Atmosphere-available Snacks/drinks-the longer they stay, the more the home may grow on them
  • Advertising-was it directed to the right market?-Are you telling low income about higher value homes, etc?

Please respond some other ideas that I may have overlooked and I will update this list.  I think this could become a great source for how to put together a successful open house campaign.  They say only 5% of homes sold are a result of an open house.  I guess our job is to be that 5%.  Realtors, don't forget, the open house isn't just for the house that's open, it's also about generating potential buyers!

Thanks everyone! 




Comments (17)

Bret & Meredith Amon
LIV-Sotheby's International Realty - Breckenridge, CO
Breckenridge, Keystone, Silverthorne, Frisco,

Dear Michael,

I have had a great deal of success with open houses.  It's all about getting yourself in front of potential buyers!  I think it's a great lead generator.

Nov 28, 2007 05:07 AM
Steve Glose
Keller Williams Classic Group - Orlando, FL
TRC, CIPS, 407-616-7286, Orlando Real Estate, Orla
I agree with Bret. I have a lot of success with Open Houses. It's also what you put into having an Open House.
Nov 28, 2007 05:28 AM
Simon Conway
Orlando Area Real Estate Services - Orlando, FL
HELLO!!!!! ETHICS KNOCKING!! You see the thing is you speak of "picking up" additional buyers and sellers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from your sellers' point of view, the purpose of holding an Open House is TO SELL THEIR HOME. We all know that fundamentally Open Houses don't work. Most Realtors continue to hold them for the other reason that you give. Did you inform your sellers of this side benefit? Did you offer to pay the seller rent for the day so you could market your own business? As you can tell, this is something that annoys me ever so slightly. It is also another reason why the public's opinion of Real Estate Agents is so low.
Nov 28, 2007 05:33 AM
Matt Kofsky
Transaction Realty 500 Reno, Nv. - Reno, NV
Simon, the number one reason of the open house is to sell the house.  After talking with the customers and they are not interested in that house, what is wrong with selling them another property?
Nov 28, 2007 05:41 AM
Michael Schindler
Your IRA guy! - Galesville, WI


Don't cut and paste your response to other blogs-make an original reply please. 

Say, if you are happy with not doing open houses, then simply don't do them.  They work for some realtors and some buyers prefer them.  Who are you to judge other people by how they prefer to market? 

"Ethics Knocking"?  Please..... I think you are over-reacting.

The person sitting in the open house is there to showcase and sell that property.  If the people walking through aren't interested in that house then what, you should tell them "oh, no, sorry you don't want this house so I won't talk to you about other homes?"  Please.......So, if you market in a seniors newsletter and some grandson reads it and calls you, should you then tell them "no, I was only marketing to the seniors"?  is that it?  Tell you what, don't bother responding.  You obviously have your opinion and are entitled to it. 

You do what you do best in your market, what works for you and don't be so quick to frown upon people that are using their personal time on weekends-away from their families to work for a living.


Nov 28, 2007 05:54 AM
Simon Conway
Orlando Area Real Estate Services - Orlando, FL
But Matt - Open Houses DO NOT sell houses and so the main reason that Realtors hold them is to pick up additional clients. And yes, that is REALLY wrong. You are using your sellers' home; their power; their water if you offer ice in the drinks you serve. It is of zero benefit to them so why hold them? The truth is the other reason and the other reason is quite frankly ripping off your sellers. Sure occasionally someone might sell a home through an open house, but it is getting increasingly rare and so we must question the ethics of those who continue to hold them.
Nov 28, 2007 05:54 AM
Michael Schindler
Your IRA guy! - Galesville, WI

"Sure occasionally someone might sell a home through an open house"

Enough said, that is the reason why realtors work open houses and why some sellers appreciate the time one puts into holding one for them-because it might sell because of it.

Some people spend their afternoons driving around looking at homes-I've done it before.  Some just to be snoopy, others because they want to find a house to buy, some because they might want to buy a house.

As I said before, stats show its only about a 5% success rate (I tell home owners that).  I think a lot of the open house success has to do with the preparation and marketing for the open house-as well as luck,  timing, and location.

To work an open house solely to collect leads isn't putting your client first.  Your first effort should be to work for the home owner in selling that home but, you should also be constantly networking your services.


Nov 28, 2007 06:03 AM
Simon Conway
Orlando Area Real Estate Services - Orlando, FL
Michael - the point is that it is rare. If you have a seller that understands that and you are prepared to work on the basis of 5% success AND you inform them of the side benefit to you, then you are doing nothing wrong. If it works for you then great. I am just looking for open, honest relationships. The real problem these days is that the vast majority of those holding open houses DO NOT explain the potential for success or the main reason the Realtor is there. Finally my first comment on your post was not a cut a paste. Certainly similar because the subject matter is similar, but not a direct copy.
Nov 28, 2007 06:11 AM
Michael Schindler
Your IRA guy! - Galesville, WI

You make a lot of negative assumptions-The main reason a realtor is there should be to sell the house period-we've agreed to that.

Should a seller have to be told about trying to capture names?  I think one should capture names at an open house always and if that person isn't wanting to buy that particular home, then they should be helped with whatever else they want.  I think most sellers would agree to the fact that a realtor is there on probably a weekend, on commission, and they need activity to succeed.  I think they understand the sales aspect of the business.  I've seen realtors in houses that aren't there to do either-like it's just an obligation so I agree with part of what you have said but, I don't think you need to be so hard on the whole industry.  For the most part, there are some good-souled realtors out there trying to do what they can to help their clients and trying to make an honest living.



Nov 28, 2007 06:31 AM
Dan Forbes
Bradenton, FL

Michael, Micheal.  You scold Simon for "cut and pasting" his comment, yet you practically did the same from your comment on my post earlier today which seemed to inspire this post (according to what you wrote in the comments you left me.)  You wrote in your comment to my post:

"... a successful open house depends on a lot of factors-not only price as all realtors know.  Things like:

  • market
  • neighborhood
  • location
  • time on market
  • curb appeal
  • condition
  • weather
  • other events"
  • Your remarks sound more like personal attacks.  Calling Simon a "Drama Queen" shouldn't happen.  Defend your opinion without the personal attacks.

    I came to your blog to thank you for your comments and I'm sad to see your tone here.

    Nov 28, 2007 07:23 AM
    * Rate A Home
    Rate A Home - Saugatuck, MI

    Michael, good post.

    Here's a freebie that can help the agent and seller to prepare for a successful open house.

    Open House Check List

    Nov 28, 2007 07:38 AM
    Michael Schindler
    Your IRA guy! - Galesville, WI

    I didn't cut and paste anything?  I wrote a response to your other blog article and decided-as I mentioned in that response that I would probably use that as a topic. 

    The drama queen reference was the fact that he had to use all caps and bold "HELLO... ETHICS KNOCKING".  I thought his whole post seemed to be an attack on realtors for believing that an open house can work for them and their sellers.  If you don't agree with a post, you can post your opinion or just don't read it but I don't feel its necessary to be "mean" about it-and his posting seemed to be just that.  He also left almost word for word the same response on my blog above. 

    I didn't attack him?  I said "don't be a drama queen". Oh, correction, I said "could you be anymore of a drama queen".  In my opinion, I thought his post was over the top-an overreaction (i.e. being a drama queen) as you just stated about mine.  My apologies I didn't mean to offend anyone.  This is a great place for brainstorming, education, and reading about trials and tribulations of others and I dislike negativity.

    BTW, I just saw one of my earlier responses was in bold-I don't know why that happened I guess I didn't pay enough attention when responding.


    Nov 28, 2007 07:45 AM
    Simon Conway
    Orlando Area Real Estate Services - Orlando, FL

    I missed the whole "drama queen" thing and thanks Dan for your comments. So let's deal with this in two parts. Queen. In the words of a famous Senator. "I am not gay. I have never been gay" *lol*. And I don't regard ethics as drama. It is essential that this industry produces highly ethical individuals and I believe NOT telling a seller the main reason you are there as a real estate agent or the potential for a successful sale, is certainly a breach of ethics.

    Nov 28, 2007 07:48 AM
    Michael Schindler
    Your IRA guy! - Galesville, WI

    Drama queen is a slang term-not in the context you are alluding to.  You have taken it way out of context so I apologize for using the term and I will gladly remove it.  Again my apologies.  My reference was simply to what I considered to be over-reacting to a blog subject.  Not everyone that does open houses is there to collect leads first and sell the house second.  I think we shouldn't use generalizations about people period.  I thought it was a mean response-to both blog articles.

    Hey, you and Dan are both from Florida and I'm stuck in WI/MN (weather in the teens).   Do either of you need a pool boy?  :-)

    At least you and Dan didn't say you were Dolphins fans (although I was there to see them beat New England I think it was 2 years ago!).



    Nov 28, 2007 07:55 AM
    Dan Forbes
    Bradenton, FL

    Michael - I don't care if you cut and pasted or not.  I was defending Simon for your personal attack. Sometimes cut and pasting is simply a short-cut to express the same opinion. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

    All this is like high school...outta here.

    Nov 28, 2007 08:03 AM
    Michael Schindler
    Your IRA guy! - Galesville, WI

    You are the one who just made the last reference to cutting and pasting-although I'm not sure why I wasn't really able to follow it?-just pointing that out I guess......nevermind.

    Anyway, point is-and I can see this from the responses from others (both for and against) that, for some people-and areas, open houses work, for others they don't. 

    Just because someone doesn't believe in something doesn't mean it's wrong for everyone-and not everyone has the same agenda so I don't think people should be reprimanded on a blog for talking about what they find is an effective tool for them!  If you don't like them, don't do them.

    Just my opinion.



    Nov 28, 2007 08:12 AM
    Rob Brenner

    This is garbage writing! It is being critical talk and just do what you are comfortable with and be ethical. Don't try to run other people.

    This BLOG is not helping anyone. It is a cat fight!

    Dec 06, 2007 12:56 AM