How to Work an Open House this Spring

Real Estate Agent with The Corcoran Group

Open House, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Open House Sunday 2/28/16 | Williamsburg Brooklyn


Spring Selling Season is here.

Last Sunday almost 100 buyers attended my open house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Since the selling season is NOW it is a good time to prepare for successful open houses.

I know there is some controvesry about open houses but since Spring is approaching for those that are planning open houses this selling season this is an encore of a popular post that I wrote a few years ago.  

I realize in some markets open houses don't work. This post is about successfully working an open house not whether they work or not.


How to Work

an Open House


Treat it like a business meeting.  Dress like you’re making a presentation…because you are.  It’s irrelevant what the list price is on the property; all sellers—of mansions or of studios—deserve to have a professional represent their home.

Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker, The Corcoran Group

You look great…but how does the property look?  Did you check it out prior to 15 minutes before the Open House?  Have you had a heart-to-heart with the seller about children’s toys, etc?  Does the place need staging? Have these conversations early in your relationship with your seller — they’re hiring you to get the highest price possible for their home and that may very well mean conversation about clutter. Display fresh flowers and perhaps aroma therapy if needed. An ipad is a great tool to use at open houses too.

Do you have all the information you need?  Do you have the answers to all the anticipated questions...and then some?  Of course you know about the property and the usuals but how about comps, the closest bus stop, the nearest dry cleaners and other relevant info that sets you apart?  You may be used to seeing a Purchase/Mortgage Cost Analysis but it may be new and valuable information to the buyers visiting your open house.  It will also position you as a resource who can assist them in all of the aspects of purchasing a property—which is good “branding” of you, the agent, against the competition. 


mortgage info

Then, can you take the information just one step farther? What else can you provide that will educate your visitors: maps of the neighborhood, articles about the area or the building’s historic significance, a list of the closest restaurants, buy vs rent analysis, a hand-out of websites that provide information useful to a buyer?

Potential purchasers will remember you as the broker with all of the answers.  However, potential sellers will be impressed as well—and one never knows when a visitor is NOT a purchaser but a potential seller who is “auditioning” brokers for the sale of their home!


Open House Fact Sheet


Use marketing materials, but make sure they’re perfect. 

Was the copy proofed?  Is the floorplan photocopied upside down on the back of your handout? 

Remember, this is the information a potential buyer takes away from the open house for reference, so it is a continual reminder of the property and must be perfect.

Try to sign the person in personally.  I use an iPad with Open House Pro App. In extremely busy circumstances, this is not always possible but when time allows, it’s a great way to begin a conversation as well as to get complete and (more) accurate information

Ask why they chose to visit your open house specifically.  The visitor had a choice of dozens of open houses to visit on that particular day and they chose yours.

If you get the answer to this question, you usually get about 80% of what they’re looking for in their new home. You can then tailor your presentation of your exclusive to their response.  

In most cases, talk less and listen more.  Most people can determine it’s the kitchen without having that pointed out to them, yet you hear that type of thing over and over again. 

 If you hear “view,” you might stand by the window, subtly directing their attention to the lovely panorama outside.  You don’t necessarily have to actually point at things to get people to notice them—and if you’re not talking but are listening, you’ll hear what they want to see.  

If you have to say something, try putting even that in the form of a question:  “I see you’re heading directly to the kitchen—do you like to cook?”  It’s more personable to get them to say something about themselves rather than about “their search.”  After all, they’re buying a place to live, not just four walls, and how they see themselves using a space will determine whether or not this is the home for them.

Getting Attendees: Advertise open house date and time on internet RE portals and websites. I target buyers that attended my previous comparable neighborhood open houses and buyers that have inquired about other similar properties I've previously listed and send them an email.

Follow up. Contact them.  If they provided you with an email address, you can follow up unobtrusively. It doesn’t have to be a “so what did you think?” follow up.  If it’s your exclusive (dependent upon what you found out in your conversation with them), send them some information on the neighborhood, some information on the history of the building or other non-threatening, non-hard sell material, along with an offer to answer any questions they might have about the apartment, the market, etc. 

If you’ve determined that they’re not interested in the home you’re representing(based on comments they’ve made or other qualifying factors, since obviously your first duty is to the property you are representing), send them other listings with a cover note.  “At the open house today you said you realized you really need that third bedroom so my two bedroom isn’t going to work for you.  However, here are some other homes in the neighborhood that have that same great view, and three bedrooms. I’d be happy to arrange for you to see any of these that catch your eye.  Are you available in the evening or do weekends work best for you?”  End the inquiry with a question that CANNOT be answered yes or no.

Timing is Everything. Try different times, have shorter open houses, try evening open houses. Two hour maximum.

Remember to report.  Naturally, your sellers want information on attendance and feedback on their home, but can you take it one step further?  Perhaps you can share anecdotal information with them and then show how you’ve incorporated that information into points made on future marketing materials. 

"You and your listing have to stand out from the crowd" Barbara Corcoran (Founder of The Corcoran Group)



Re-Blogged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 03/04/2016 10:18 PM
  2. Blatt + Cutino 03/04/2016 10:43 PM
  3. Jeff Dowler, CRS 03/05/2016 12:54 AM
  4. Patricia Kennedy 03/14/2016 12:39 AM
  5. Joyce Marsh, Luxury Market Specialist 05/05/2016 11:14 PM
  6. Mary Yonkers 04/18/2016 09:02 AM
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Craig Cooper
Chase International Real Estate - Tahoe City, CA
Creating-Preserving-Growing Wealth in Real Estate

Mitchell, you have some great information there and if I could pick out one point or technique that impressed me the most it would be:  It’s more personable to get them to say something about themselves rather than about “their search.”

When you boil it all down, what people want is for you to be interested in them and you have nailed it right there. You can make technical mistakes, you can find that you don't have all the information and you can promise to provide it to them but what you can't do is substitute your genuine interest in them if it's all about you, the agent! Great advice, thank you.

Mar 06, 2016 03:53 PM #37
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

This is such a good one.  I am sharing it for others to learn with.


Mar 07, 2016 05:54 AM #38
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Great post.  I like that question, "Why do you decide to visit this open house?"  I ask them, "What are you looking for in a home?"  Both good open ended questions.

Mar 07, 2016 05:56 AM #39
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Getting that many eyes to an Open House is quite a feat. You did break the code. 

Mar 07, 2016 11:11 AM #40
Jairo Arreola
Lotus Group Realty - San Jose, CA
VA Home Loan Specialist - SF Bay Area - South Bay

Preparation is everything. Great tips. Will definitely share :)

Mar 07, 2016 12:51 PM #41
Robin Hobbs
Front Gate Realty - Madison, MS

Wow! What a wealth of information in one post. I've been following up and playing around with different methods of sign ins to gather info. I like the idea of offering info on area and being ready to answer any questions with your iPad handy.

Mar 12, 2016 03:43 AM #42
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

"Talking less and listening more"  is important advice to all who work open houses.

Mar 13, 2016 05:09 AM #43
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

This is pretty much the formula for holding an open house regardless of the market you're in. I held an open house two weeks ago which was nicely attended. I held another one for a different property last weekend and only three buyers came through. Open houses are hit and miss here in Arizona. 

Mar 15, 2016 02:58 AM #44
Christopher Pagli
William Raveis Legends Realty Group - Tarrytown, NY
"I Stay Open Until You Close"

Great post.  I lived in Park slope from 1995-2000, what a different borough now! I love the part about treating it like a business meeting.  Every interaction is an interview and we should always be on top of our game.  The tough part with open houses of this magnitude are you don't get too much one on one interaction with people so you have to be very creative with how you make a lasting impression.  

Mar 15, 2016 09:53 PM #45
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Amazing response to your open house Mitchell J Hall 

Excellent tips in your post, congratulations on well deserved FEATURE!!

Mar 16, 2016 05:40 AM #46
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Mitch! I'm including this post in this morning's Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great Sunday!


Mar 19, 2016 10:04 PM #47
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Mitchell. Wow, open houses certainly draw crowds in your area. Keep up the good work! Enjoy your day.

Mar 19, 2016 10:32 PM #48
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Excellent post full of great info and definitely feature-worthy.

Mar 19, 2016 11:55 PM #49
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
Realty National - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Mitchell J Hall Excellent post on Open House management. I might have missed this post, were it not for you being featured by Patricia Kennedy  . Thank you!

Mar 20, 2016 12:04 AM #50
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  I can see why Patricia highlighted it this week!

Mar 20, 2016 12:47 AM #51
Michelle Grunberg
eXp Realty - Ijamsville, MD
When Honesty, Integrity and Loyalty Matters!

Thank you for all the wonderful tips for a successful open house. Love the use of of the iPad I will use it on my next open house 

Mar 20, 2016 12:56 AM #52
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

No doubt about it - you are prepared for your Open Houses. I love the line of people waiting to get inside!

Mar 20, 2016 01:43 AM #53
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Congratulations on being featured in Pat Kennedy's weekly blog post list!

Mar 20, 2016 08:02 AM #54
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Congrats Mitchell J Hall for one more feature.

As I mentioned earlier - getting people to your open house may sound easy in this market - however, it's an art.

Mar 20, 2016 04:04 PM #55
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

I live in Williamsburg but I cannot imagine having 100 people come through an open house.

Apr 18, 2016 11:04 AM #56
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Mitchell J Hall

Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
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