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7 Suggestions for a Better Open House

Real Estate Agent with 8z Real Estate CalBRE# 01830950

My thinking is, if I'm going to invest a weekend afternoon away from my family, I want my open houses to be productive.  I'm sure we all have something else we could be doing with our time.  So, here are a few ideas of things that I've found to make my open houses even more worth my time:

1) Do something special for the neighbors.  Have a special "sneak preview" open house for neighbors on a Saturday.  Whenever I can, I also like to print out invitation postcards and go around the neighborhood to personally invite neighbors to the open house.  A fellow agent takes her remaining cookies/snacks around to the neighbors after her open houses and has made some good contacts there.

2) Advertise on the internet.  Many of you are probably already doing this, but if you're not, you're really missing out on some good advertising.  Craigslist.com is a great source of free advertising.  I also use postlets.com to generate a nicely formatted webpage to use in craigslist and my other internet advertising.

3) Be creative with your open house times.  As mentioned earlier, consider doing a special open house on Saturday just for the neighbors.  If the home is near a school, host an open house right after school gets out.  Try having an open house during the week at lunch hour or twilight.

4) Think of creative snacks for people to take with them.  This is especially useful if children come along.  One idea: microwave popcorn with your business card attached and a "Thanks for popping by!" label on the front.

5) Provide detailed feedback to your sellers.  Ask visitors for their thoughts about the home and write these down to pass on to your sellers.  They will appreciate knowing what potential buyers think as well as any suggestions on how to improve the marketing of their home.  Even if I'm not the listing agent, I like to send a report (w/o names) to the listing agent after each open house.  We all have to help each other when we can, right?

6) Prepare a binder with other active listings in the area.  This has several benefits: 1) Shows buyers how your home compares with others in the area, 2) Gives potential buyers a reason to stay a little longer and talk with you, and 3) Shows that you are an agent interested in going the "extra mile" to provide service.

7) Provide a "Recently Sold" sheet for visitors to take with them.  This is a list of comparable homes in the area that have sold in the last three or six months, depending on activity.  I put my contact information on the bottom of these sheets and have been surprised at how popular they are, especially with those who live in the area.

If you have any other creative suggestions, please share!

Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Wake Forest, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngs

I heard if you make your Open House times for just 10 minutes or 30 minutes then you will see results?

Jan 10, 2009 05:08 AM
Lisa Hoffer
EXIT Realty Advantage - Pensacola, FL

Thanks for the tips.  I hold lots of Open Houses, and fill in for Builder Agents on their days off, so these are great tips.

Good Luck with your own Open Houses,


Jan 10, 2009 05:08 AM
New Construction Ocala Florida Real Estate
Pivotal Properties, LLC - Ocala, FL
Living and Loving Florida!

Wow! Thank you for the great information. I am a newer Realtor so this knowledge will really benefit me for future open houses. Thanks again!

Jan 10, 2009 05:10 AM
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

Oddly my main interest in Open House is to gain listings....so I promote the open house through the community to get neighbors.  Yes, I am not crazy about buyers and have a bad attitude about it, but that is me.  Open houses are a great source in building relationships with neighbors to get listings.....somewhere down the road.

Jan 10, 2009 05:17 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Hi Jean. Great thoughts for ideas inside the house and outside the house like promotions and the Internet. It will give you the best probability of getting the most out of an open house.

Jan 10, 2009 05:18 AM
Robert Havana
Park and Protect- Alberta Real Estate License Parking - Calgary, AB
Alberta Real Estate License Parking

great tips, and a little different the the usual ones that have been blogged a thousand times.

Jan 10, 2009 05:28 AM
Julie Cleland
Prudential California Realty - South San Francisco, CA

One of the biggest mistakes I see Realtors make when they do open houses is to be there physically but not mentally.  Even before I got in the business I noticed this when attending open homes with a friend who was in the market to buy.  It was shocking to see how many agents spent their time on the phone, often complaining about having to do the open house and often acting put out when my friend has questions about the property.  At that time, my friend didn't have an agent and would have welcomed meeting an agent to work with.   Too many agents do open houses because the client expects them, not because the agent finds value in them.  You've already given up your Sunday so make the most of it.  If you stay focused and engage with everyone coming through, you might be suprised to find out how much value they can offer to you, the Realtor.

Jan 10, 2009 05:33 AM
Susan Sawyer
Keller Williams Chervenic Realty - Hudson, OH
Real Estate Expert - Hudson Ohio

Thanks for sharing your ideas. It is hard to have open houses with no visitors, especially if you have taken the time and effort to make fliers on recently sold homes or other active listings. One idea is to bring a laptop and display other similar active listings. I currently have a flier explaining about the $7500 credit and at this time of year have calendars to give away. I have tried mailing postcards to the neighbors but not had much luck. This year thinking of mailing postcards to neighborhoods that might be interesting in moving up or moving down. Good luck everyone on doing open houses in 2009.

Jan 10, 2009 05:35 AM
Diana Corcoran
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hudson Valley Properties - Rhinebeck, NY
Rhinebeck Real Estate

What a great list of ideas.  Attitude is everything at an Open House.  I love the "popping by"!

Jan 10, 2009 05:38 AM
Michael A. Caruso
Surterre Properties - Laguna Niguel, CA


Great tips--as usual!!! :)



Jan 10, 2009 06:06 AM
Myrick Tantiado
Alain Pinel Realtors - San Francisco, CA

Great tips for open houses!  Thanks for sharing.  I'll integrate some of those ideas in my next open house.  

Jan 10, 2009 06:10 AM
Kathy Wall

Great tips!   Thank you so much for sharing them!

Jan 10, 2009 12:07 PM
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Thanks Jean!  Nice list of tips - I love the microwave popcorn idea - that's a new one!


Jan 10, 2009 12:37 PM
Lee Ginsburg
Prudential Ca. Realty - San Bruno, CA


Good Job.  The one other thing I do in additon to the binder with other listings available is to print out the other open homes in the area to give to the potential buyers.  Some have the list already and others do not.  Of course I put my name and contact info on it.

I will tell you that binder got a potential buyer on my first listing to sit and talk and eventually buy with me and 3 referrals from it.  So keep bringing that binder and keep it updated.  


Jan 10, 2009 03:37 PM
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Jean great tips.  Having an open house is more than just showing up.  With proper planning and creativity you can make it a success.

Jan 11, 2009 12:34 AM
Sandra VanDonkelaar

Great Tips Jean!  Thanks for Blogging!

Jan 11, 2009 02:13 AM
Brian Boisson

Super Ideas Jean!



Jan 12, 2009 01:55 AM
David Width Jr.
Little Egg Harbor, NJ

Thank you for the suggestions. I have really been wanting to try to do a twilight open house. I hear that they have some pretty good turnouts.

Jan 12, 2009 02:00 AM
Tina Allen
Exit Realty Tri-County - Mount Dora, FL

Great tips Jean...thanks for your informative posts.  I will hopefully remember some of these when doing my next open house.

Jan 12, 2009 02:03 AM
Jean Joh
8z Real Estate - Millbrae, CA
SF Peninsula RE Specialist

Thanks for all the comments thus far.  I saw a video last night from David Knox talking about open houses (it was actually the December issue), and he talked about having short (15-20') open houses too.  One of the agents said he actually holds an open house every day...imagine that.

Jan 12, 2009 02:56 AM