I would like to know yours guys tips and tricks on hosting an open house

Asked by Robert Lewandowski, Charleston, SC Thu Feb 16, 2012

So I know the basics about hosting open houses....hot neighborhood,balloons,signs,news paper, invite the neighbors, don't hard sell. But I would like to know tips and tricks that you guys use, that you think would help my success rate of picking up a client greatly. One of things I'm having trouble with is when the visitors are leaving. I want to say something that will impress them and have them remember me and of course come back to me when the time is right. Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated!! Thank you so much

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Chris Schill…, Agent, Houston, TX
Fri Feb 17, 2012
Great question and if you are ready to work for it, this answer will change your career forever!
Open Houses are the very best way for a new agent (or old agent that needs a little boost) to increase the number and quality of buyers and sellers to work with. I have an 8 step, golden plan for success.
1. Preview all of the homes in the neighborhood/immediate area where are doing your open house the week before.
Make special note of which properties have interesting features, pool, master bedroom down, 2 masters, guest quarters, amazing garden, etc. Also note which properties are easier to show on short notice- vacant, etc.
2. Create 5 to 10 listing books with 1/2" clear View 3 ring binders. Buy the more expensive plastic heavy weight sheet protectors (Box of 50 is $12.29) Create a 8 1/2" x 11" insert for the front of the binder with your photo, company logo, and all of your contact information. Inside the binder put a flyer for the property you are doing the open house on with any sellers disclosure, survey, features and benefits, utility costs, walkscore.com report, etc. place these sheets inside the binder front flap. The binder plastic sheet protectors place back to back all of the properties in the immediate area with a map showing each location if your MLS system makes it easy to provide.
3. Buy balloons the week before. You can buy them in bulk online. Make sure to get the "Qualatex" brand. They are made with a better quality material and stay aloft longer than the cheap balloons that most party stores sell. I like yellow or red . or a color that matches your company logo. Again start at the property, but put the balloons in groups of 2 or three (to make sure that if one pops, you have a backup waving in the wind). More balloons is better. They act like a fishing lure. Motion motivates something primal in us. We see it from a great distance and are drawn to it. Go to your local grocery store to the flower department. Ask them for the Realtor rate...or offer $.50/per balloon. They generally will blow them up, put on the strings, and put them into a bag for easy transport for you. Let them do it, you can’t really do it cheaper and they seem to have the skills down to get it done quickly on the morning of your open house.

4. Put up lots of signs. Start at the property that you are doing the open house on, and go out from there. You do this so if you run short on signs, they can at least find the property as they get closer to it. The more signs will also help you catch more lookers and more sellers watching you work harder than most agents.
5. Put the open house in the MLS system early in the week. This way possible buyers will see it online and want to come see it the day of and don’t call another possible agent to show it to them….this will increase your odds that you find a buyer.
6. Host the open house from 11am to 5pm and be prepared to stay and extra 30-45 minutes if the buyers keep coming. My experience shows that buyers come between 11am and 2pm and then there is a lull…and then a new flight of buyers comes between 3:30 and 5:30pm. Many times buyers that come early will go to lunch and then bring back a friend, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, mother-in-law, or other assistant decision influencer to the property for a second look.
7. Don’t be afraid to give out the listing books you have created. The goal is for all of them to be gone by the end of the day. You will get a sense at how serious a buyer is and if they are connected to the neighborhood. Make sure to hold 2-3 back for the second rush that comes later in the afternoon, but don’t hesitate to give a book out when you think there is a possibility. If they are working with an agent already (and have signed an agreement) give them the regular open house flyer…no books for these folks. Let their agent do the homework for them. The best thing about the books is when they leave; they now don’t have to call another agent in the immediate area to find out the price. They have it already….they will also keep the binder. They find them to have value and can’t seem to part with them. Many times my clients will come back to me with the binder from our initial meeting and use it to hold other agents flyers and the documents relative to them buying a new house….
8. You can keep a sign in sheet, but I have found them less than useful. All of the agents use them. Many of the buyers will put a fake email address down or a phony cell number. They also seem to get annoyed when you call them later. I can’t tell you the number of times that a buyer asks me where the sign in sheet is……and I ask them (half teasing) ….do you want me to call you? I show them my sheet. It shows marks to count them buyers that have come through….the sellers only care about the one buyer and how many people came through for feedback. The names and contacts don’t mean anything if they aren’t willing to work with you.
3 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Thu Feb 16, 2012
Ask everyone who comes through how they heard about the open, this way you know what marketing you are doing is working and if they are looking specifically for homes like this or just driving by and curious.
Next, ask if they are working with an agent. If they say yes, say "great, I appreciate loyalty with my clients and I'm sure you agent will to."
After showing the home and asking open ended questions about them, if they have an agent or not, ask for permission to give them your "commercial." Tell them who you are, why your clients like working with you and say "if you are ever dissatisfied with your agent, please consider me." If they don't have an agent, skip the last line and ask if you can send them some information, about this house, another house or the market in general. They now have a reason to give you their contact information.
Be prepared; know the house you are holding open and the best active comps in the area. If this house isn't just right for them, you will have a back up suggestions. I've offered to meet them at a vacant house when my open closes and have earned some clients this way.
Let me know how things go.
2 votes
Phil Rotondo, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Fri Feb 17, 2012
If they're your listings; I'm sure your clients are just thrilled to know you moved your office into their home.
Your first goal should be to sell where you're sitting.
Web Reference:  http://www.321property.com
1 vote
Brian Shaver…, , Westminster, CO
Fri Feb 17, 2012
Robert here are a few things that I like to do, first the basic stuff. Invite neighbors and hand out flyers for your open house it should increase traffic. I even team up with other brokers selling in the neighborhood to compound marketing efforts. I've gotten 10 plus brokers to join my open houses at times. I try not to view other neighborhood homes for sale as my competition but allies, especially if your listing shows well.

At the open house I avoid acting aggressive or like a pushy broker. I even try to refrain from asking if they are working with another broker. Just be friendly and greet them at the door, then hand them something like a really simple survey about the home. I ask them to return it along with my pen when they leave. Hopefully they will and make some conversation before leaving. People don't like to be followed or pressured so give them space hopefully you can make this casual approach work.

We all have our favorite marketing tools my favorite is providing neighborhood data any way I can. I want to know more about local data than everyone and come across as a neighborhood specialist. Bring your lap top, a looped Power Point presentation playing in plain view can be used it to present anything you like without having to say a word. Like a good web site it can be a good conversation starter. I do offer to send departing visitors follow up information relevant to anything we spoke about.

Finally my favorite, don't give away your best stuff on the spot, even if you can answer immediately. Here's what I mean, use visitor questions as a chance to get back with them, this is a great way to get an email address. Now you'll have something to keep busy in case traffic gets light and they'll have your information in their inbox. Please let me know how it works.
1 vote
Lisa Borders,…, Agent, Lincolnton, NC
Fri Feb 17, 2012
Do you have a sign in sheet there at the open House? Try to make sure you have all the information in the house they may need so they will remember you and the house. Make the home stand out...like using the five senses at your open house...tough,visual, taste scent and sound.( Buying uses emotions) Never be on your phone when they come in or leave. If they signed in..follow up with them and always do what you promised them you would do.
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Fri Feb 17, 2012
All of these ideas are bad ones. Other than swapping books for cookies, they look exactly like the 1981 open house. Which looks exactly like a 1981 mobile phone. Their purpose and capabilities have been irreversibly changed. Times have changed.....so should one's practice.

" when the visitors are leaving. I want to say something that will impress them and have them remember me" This is an incredibly important aspect. The properly organized open house will allow the exiting citizen to identify for you EXACTLY what is on their mind. They will ALWAYS identify for you which of the big five you can help the with. Four of them lead to purchasing a home.

To leverage this opportunity, you MUST have assistance at your open house. When this citizen has 'revealed' you can't dismiss, ignore or do anything that does not equate 100% attention. You will need a team, you will have a crowd, you must be organized, leave the book at home.

HOWEVER, if 1981 looked like a great year, lots of exceptional guidance is available. Rethink your open house purpose and establish greater goals.

0 votes
Jim McCowan, Agent, Arlington, VA
Fri Feb 17, 2012
Public open houses are a numbers game. The majority of people are going to be neighbors or people driving around and see the signs. They know nothing about the house (how much it is or how many bedrooms) and probably aren't really looking. The number of "potential clients" for you will be the minority.

Broker open houses are a much better use of time. I don't do the whole food. I want agents coing by who have potential buyers, not just empty stomachs.
0 votes
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