How to Host an Open House for a Luxury Real Estate

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Besides a global low supply, there’s a reason why open houses for luxury homes are so difficult to stage: the luxury niche is very particular in its dealings. You have to walk a fine line between proposing avant-garde ideas and classy time-tested strategies. Not to mention the fact that it can take a lot of money to do it right!


Who attends a Luxury Real Estate Open House?

The first misconception regarding an open house for a luxury home is that, differently from a regular open house, you are not likely to have the actual luxury home buyer drop by. Time is money: million dollar listings’ home buyers usually only go see the house in person on a private showing. So your target should be getting their agent’s endorsement. After all, the ugly truth about open houses is that you rarely sell the house directly because of them; it’s above all an event to build the agent’s brand. So you should target other million dollar listing agents, as they are likely to have million dollar clients to buy the house, and For Sale by Owner (FSBO) house sellers looking to understand what to do on their own open house. Try to flip them out of the idea of going the for sale by owner (FSBO) route and make them your clients!

But back to luxury agents and brokers, approach them as if they were your end clients. Send them a personalized invitation to your open house. If you haven’t already, study your local real estate agent directory and know who’s who so when you see them at your luxury real estate open house event you naturally call them by their name and know a thing or two about their company and career.


How should I do a Luxury Real Estate Home Staging?

Luxury Real Estate Home Staging atop of a marble kitchen countertop

Luxury Real Estate Home Staging might not be the best of ideas. The size of the house will probably make the home staging a little expensive. And even if the house for sale has already tasteful furniture and objects: you don’t want to deal with the headache of someone stealing or breaking something, right? Believe us; it happens more than often. Sometimes is better just to leave the house close-to-naked (call it a “clean aesthetic”) and approach home staging in a different way: rent or borrow for the day a Ferrari (or a Lamborghini, or any other luxury car) and park it in the driveway. Leave it there, casually parked as an inspirational object. Hire a valet service to park the guests’ cars – do not let them pay for it!


What's the right Luxury Real Estate Ambience?

whats the right luxury real estate ambience

Laid-back is the word. As for you; it’s important that you pamper the guests and engage in conversations, but never force anything or become too available for them. As for the size of the crowd, you don’t want it to be too crowded, but you definitely should make sure it’s not just you and one other guest, as it might make him/her shy and uncomfortable. This might sound crazy, but having a couple of friends with acting skills nearby to play interested home buyers might come in handy. No, the idea is not having them wandering around the house making comments like “What an amazing house! I better write a check right now!” – you don’t want this to turn into a bad comedy plot where your “actor” steals the scene. The trick is having them approach you with questions regarding the house for sale that can help you list the biggest features of that luxury home. What year was it built? What are the Best School Districts options around? Is that house immune from The Solar Panel Trap?

Even if the other guests don’t hear the questions and answers, a busy open house host sends a signal to other agents and prospective buyers that the house is interesting and might be a good investment.


What are the Coolest Ideas for a Luxury Real Estate Open House?


What are the coolest ideas for a Luxury Real Estate Open House

In part, the coolest ideas for an open house are the ones no one has done before - or at least the ones not everyone is doing yet. Your worst case scenario is having your guest leave with that “more of the same” feeling. But, above all, the coolest ideas are the ones who perfectly highlight the unique features of the luxury home you are trying to sell.

If the house has an amazing winery, why not promote a wine tasting? Propose a cross promotion with a sommelier: have him there on the day with interesting and rare wines for your guests to taste. Let him/her also invite his guest list. The sommelier will likely appreciate the exposure you will give him, promoting his brand to an audience that overlaps with his own and vice-versa.

The trick to find cool ideas is combining the kind of prospective buyers you hope to attract with the best features of the house. Say you have a really nice outside area, with a pool and a great view. You can stage it differently according to your prospective buyer’s target: outside activities for children if you’re targeting families - though it’s rare for kids to go with their parents - a live band playing in the garden if you’re targeting a more mature audience and even a pool party if you’re targeting Millennials.

If you can’t find any angle, mimosas and an elegant color schemed presentation - from the business cards to the balloons attached to the sign on the yard - will do the trick.


How much time should your guests stay at your Luxury Real Estate Open House?

You don’t want people coming in and out quickly as it sends a message to other guests that the house for sale was not worth their time – even if the reason they came and went so fast had nothing to do with the house. So, think of ways of making them stay a little longer.

Food is always great, but this is a million dollar listing, so you better try harder than a boring cheese platter. Open houses are all about showing the home’s potential: how about hiring a professional chef to cook something on the spot right there in the kitchen while your guests visit it? And a mixologist to make drinks by the pool?

If you think this will be too expensive, try making partnerships with local brands or catering services, so they provide the food, the drinks and the waiters in return for the exposure to possible future clients not only by featuring their services but also having their logo displayed on the invitation. Just remember they have to be impressive!

And that sort of sums up how to host a successful open house for a luxury real estate: it’s all about being impressive in taste and presentation. The rest – the sales – will hopefully come later in a more private environment where the agent (or the home buyer) will reminisce about how special your open house was!



Comments (6)

Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Helpful blog post for those who want to crack into the luxury truly high end market

Apr 26, 2018 06:56 AM
Theresa Hus

We're glad you thought so, Lise! Luxury Real Estate is in for a test with the challenging times ahead and Luxury Real Estate Agents must arm themselves with as much knowledge as they can in order to stay in the game. 

Apr 26, 2018 07:14 AM
Timothy Powers
Paragon Real Estate Services - Alamo, CA
Experienced broker in Alamo, California

Good tip about bringing in friends to make the place feel more crowded and put potential buyers at ease!

Apr 27, 2018 09:41 AM
Theresa Hus

It's like the song says: we get by with a little help from our friends 

Apr 30, 2018 06:37 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Theresa - great ideas that will brand this a true luxury.  Partnering with luxury food and drink people reallysteps up the game.

May 09, 2018 04:08 AM
Theresa Hus

A good morning to you too, Grant! It's a win-win situation for everyone, right? 

May 09, 2018 09:56 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is excellent advice to share.

Be sure to follow 5 or more additional members each day to earn points and to build your network.

May 09, 2018 11:55 AM
Theresa Hus

Thanks for the advice, Roy!

May 11, 2018 07:06 AM
Matthew Klinowski, PA
Downing Frye Realty - Naples, FL
Naples Golf Guy | Find Your Dream Lifestyle

Theresa, this is an excellent post for open houses.  I like the creative suggestions you provided to make it a unique experience for the luxury home buyer if they come through.  As you said, it's usually more of an opportunity to gain potential new clients than it is an opportunity to sell the property.  Have a great weekend!

May 27, 2018 04:25 AM
Theresa Hus

Thank you, Matthew! Glad you liked it! 

May 29, 2018 06:27 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Great post, Theresa! 

It is a great idea to invite your friends, all those IG and FB posts make a great buzz...( unless the homeowners wants to keep the sale private and exclusive).

Jun 05, 2019 12:20 AM
Theresa Hus

Yes, I thought so. Thanks for your comment! 

Jun 12, 2019 08:02 AM