8 Best Strategies for Making an Open House More Successful


Whether you’re a homeowner looking to drum up interest in your property or an agent on the hunt for that perfect (and perfectly motivated) buyer, it helps if you know a thing or two about the open house game. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nearly everyone—99 percent of millennials and 89 percent of baby boomers—. But despite that, about half of all buyers still visited an open house at some point during their house-buying process. Agents who fuse both digital and traditional marketing techniques are the ones who will have the best success when hosting an open house. Here are some more tips for how to make your open house a winning one.

  1. Make it Cozy: Bake Cookies and Light a Fire—It’s kind of a cliché, but a true one indeed: Real estate agents should have something sweet baking in the oven when they’re hosting an open house. The goal is to capture feelings of warmth and fuzziness so that buyers can envision themselves having a happy, cozy life there. Do what you can to make the house feel all-around warm. Perhaps light a fire or, if you don’t have a fireplace, light a few candles with aromas that elicit feelings of hominess. Additionally, don’t discount the power of actual warmth. Studies show that temperatures impact consumer behavior and that physical warmth can equate to emotional warmth, so crank up that thermostat!

  2. Make it Known: Leverage Your Digital Tools—Since home-buyers start the shopping process on the Internet, that’s where you should start your marketing efforts. Make sure that you have added any open house information to your online listings, as Zillow, Trulia and other major real estate platforms will send reminders and guide shoppers to your property on the day of the event. In the same vein, you can drum up some interest and get the word out about your event by promoting it on social media with posts and event pages. Use Facebook and Google AdWords to run targeted campaigns to locals who are in the market for a new house.

  3. Make it (More) Known: Don’t Forget the Yard Signs—Did you know that something like seven percent of buyers found the homes they purchased because they happened to spot a real estate sign advertising it? That’s a surprisingly large chunk of consumers, when you consider how many start their search online. You should be advertising with your signage on the day of the event (perhaps with a large open house sign) by using directional signage directing people to the home. 

  4. Make it Impersonal: Get Rid of Your Stuff—In what other industry are you rewarded for being impersonal? Before an open house, agents and sellers must work towards depersonalization—getting rid of any and all family photos, personalized items, mementos, quirky knickknacks, etc.—in order to help buyers properly envision their own things inside the home. It also helps if you can quickly and affordably neutralize the space with universal paint colors and furniture.

  5. Make it Personal: Be Kind and Welcoming—While you should definitely depersonalize the space, you should still personalize your interactions with potential buyers. Make sure that you greet each and every potential buyer with a smile and interest. As always, you should practice the art of listening more than talking so that you can get a good idea of what each potential buyer is looking for in a home. Many agents come away with new clients from their open houses, so look at it as a lead-generation opportunity as well.



  1. Make it Tidy: Neaten Up and Organize—A lot of the time, open houses are held in occupied homes where people actually live. And it’s probably the only time in the homeowner’s life that they will invite strangers to look in every nook and cranny of their home—in the closets, under the beds, in the medicine cabinet. It’s important that you spend a fair amount of time cleaning before the event. A deep clean is important, of course, but also make sure that all storage spaces are nearly organized, including all closets, cabinets and pantries.

  2. Make it Easier: Let Go of the Emotion—It’s nearly impossible not to have emotional feelings about a home, especially if it’s the place where you lived during big life milestones. But the thing is that, the minute a home hits the market, it becomes a commodity, available to the public. Agents should work on strategies for helping homeowners deal with their sentimentality. At this moment, your role is both real estate professional and counselor. Do whatever you can to help your seller recognize that emotional attachment will slow and complicate the process, but do allow them to experience the waves of emotion.

  3. Make it a Destination: Offer Food and Drinks—Remember the cookies you tossed in the oven before everyone arrived? They’ll eventually be done, so set them out and serve them! You always want to make sure you have some snacks and refreshments on hand the entire time the open house is going on. Be sure to regularly refresh any snack plates and beverages for the latecomers. 


Open Houses Still Work

Why do open houses work? They work for the same reason that using a real estate agent works—buying a house requires face-to-face interaction and in-person experiences. The vast majority of people don’t see a real estate listing online and buy it sight-unseen. You don’t want to miss out on this valuable opportunity to make face-to-face connections with potential buyers, so putting in a little bit of extra effort can really be worth your while when it comes to open houses.

Author Bio: 

Leslie Pierce is the VP of Marketing at Half Price Banners with a demonstrated history of working in the wholesale industry. She is skilled in Luxury Goods, Sales, Retail, Store Management, Real Estate, and Sales Operations. She is a graduate of Rockhurst University and, in her spare time, enjoys yoga and coaching youth sports.

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