"I tried open houses and they didn't work for me or my Seller."

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Providence Group Realty TREC# 0608931

Tough love time, Folks.

Hosting a successful open house isn't about simply opening a door and then holding your breath, hoping that prospective Buyers and Sellers will flock to you because you have a pretty face or a pulse.

Open houses require planning, promotion, and engagement to generate meaningful activity.

"I tried open houses and they didn't work for me or my Seller."

Did You:

  1. Coach the Seller on Open House make-ready & presentation?
  2. Plan additional staffing (buddy agent or vendor partner)?
  3. Publish the open house in the MLS listing at least 1 week ahead of the open house date?
  4. Check to make sure the published Open House date and time were correctly posted?
  5. Check to make sure the Open House details were syndicating on real estate websites?
  6. Advertise the Open House on Social Media (Facebook ads / events, Nextdoor)
  7. Share a link with Seller to use on Social Media?
  8. Send a postcard drop to the neighborhood to invite the neighbors to stop by?
  9. Door knock the day before or the morning of the open house to invite neighborhood?
  10. Reverse prospect search to invite Buyer's Agents to send their matching buyers?
  11. Send an email flyer ad to all agents in your market area?
  12. Prepare a fact sheet on the subject property & memorize property facts?
  13. Prepare talking points about the community (amenities, schools, things nearby)
  14. Prepare exterior signage, directionals, and use balloons / feather flags or other eye-catching visuals to attract traffic?
  15. Prepare interior signage that invites prospective Sellers to list with you if they like what they see?
  16. Professionally greet and engage Buyers upon entry?
  17. Register Buyers with written or digital sign-in?
  18. Prepare a list of similar homes or other Open Houses in the area you can text or email on the spot to unrepresented Buyers (good tip for verifying contact details)
  19. Follow up with visitors and/or their agents for private feedback?
  20. Add prospect to follow up campaigns (text or email) to continue sending valuable Buyer or Seller information?

The truth is, many agents post an Open House event only a day or two prior to the event,  and show up to open the door and hope for the best. They don't run the traps to check for advertising errors, they won't spend time or money on promoting the event, they fail to properly prepare, they engage poorly, and they don't follow up. And yet, they are also often the FIRST to post negative commentary in Facebook support groups when another agent asks if Open Houses really work.

Just like anything, Open Houses work if an agent works at it. With little to no out-of-pocket costs and high return on investment, Open Houses are perfect tactics for newer agents to start developing customer relationships, and one of the fastest sources of business opportunities.

And remember, as a property marketing tool, activity always yield results. There is a rule of thumb in real estate that states if a property is priced and positioned correctly, 10 showings should bring 1 offer. If not, something is wrong and needs to change. If the Open House doesn't generate the Buyer match, help a Seller understand that the purpose of the event is to generate the valuable feedback needed to hasten the desired sale. In the big picture, an Open House event is the often the fastest path to sampling consumer perspective.


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Joan Valverde
Synergy Realty Group Inc - Colorado Springs, CO
GRI,CDPE,CNE,MRP,SRES Colo Sprgs, Blk Forest, Monu

Amanda,  very good points on what to do to help your Open House be successful.  I have had a few that were very successful when I watch the neighborhood and do my open when another agent is at the same time.  Not all Opens are well attended.  

Aug 28, 2018 12:09 PM #1
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Amanda - all great points - particularly having the seller share the social media links!

Aug 28, 2018 12:55 PM #2
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I like open houses and they do work:) 

Great tips for any agent, Amanda.

Aug 28, 2018 05:23 PM #3
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

THis is a great post filled with so many wonderful ideas. I am so glad to find this on active rain

Aug 28, 2018 05:24 PM #4
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Amanda- very well done! This should be a checklist for new agents planning to hold an open house. Many who are successful at it put hard work into it. 

Aug 28, 2018 05:49 PM #5
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Amanda - Great list to prepare for a successful open house. 

Aug 28, 2018 06:25 PM #6
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Amanda Thomas ,

I love this featured post! You are so right an open house done correctly can garner the necessary feedback fort the seller to know if they are in tune with the current real estate market.

Aug 28, 2018 06:33 PM #7
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

So true. Hosting an open house is a couple weeks worth of prep work.  Love your indoor sign idea.  I saw that in an open house I had held open for another agent and she did a great job!  Very professional.

Aug 28, 2018 06:37 PM #8
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Amanda's way is worth looking into...

Aug 28, 2018 06:39 PM #9
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

As a matter of fact I've done 95% of your list and still just read all afternoon.  I live in rural America and people just don't show up to open houses.

Aug 28, 2018 09:00 PM #10
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

In my area, open houses are not typically well attended. That being said, the odds of getting traffic definitely are better when all your "to-dos" are done! Thanks for sharing.

Aug 29, 2018 03:41 AM #11
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Amanda. I wasn't an open house person either. In over 30 years in the business I only sold two homes as a result of an open house: one was the property I sat, another a similiar property in the same community. I was once robbed and that was it for me.

Aug 29, 2018 07:24 AM #12
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

Wow! Best Open House to-do prep list I personally have ever seen. Nice work.

Aug 29, 2018 07:45 AM #13
Gwen Fowler-CRS- 864-638-3599 SC Mountains & Lakes--
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

Congratulations on being a featured post. There is some great information here, thank you for sharing. 

Aug 29, 2018 09:48 AM #14
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I need to check with agents around here to see if open houses have become popular now that they have the Internet to promote them. When I let me license go away people in this small town were just beginning to use email and there were few real estate websites. (We're 10-15 years behind the times on almost everything.)

At that time, the only times open houses were well attended was when all the agencies in town joined to hold one major open house day - and gave door prizes! Of course, it could just be that in a small town there aren't that many buyers looking for homes at any given time.

Aug 29, 2018 10:20 AM #15
Karen Rittenhouse
www.JKKPropertyInvestors.com - Greensboro, NC
Real Estate Investor

Great post, Amanda.

As an investor rather than an agent, I love open houses and have used them for years for all of our vacant properties including rentals.

They work!

Aug 29, 2018 02:15 PM #16
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

There is an art and skill to holding an open house.  There are many ways to achieve a successful one, many of which you have listed.  Always have to at least try, no matter how unfruitful. 

Aug 30, 2018 01:05 PM #17
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

These are great tips on holding a successful open house. Thank you for sharing 

Aug 31, 2018 04:00 AM #18
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Amanda

These are excellent tips for holding a successful open house. I love inviting and meeting neighbors - sometimes they have friends who are interested in the community. And they may want to sell sometime, too!


Aug 31, 2018 07:38 AM #19
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Excellent post and comments. Open houses are effective when executed properly. 

Sep 02, 2018 08:35 PM #20
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Amanda Thomas

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