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How to Host a Successful Open House

How to Host a Successful Open House

When it comes to selling a home, there’s nothing more iconic than the tried and true open house. Planned, promoted, and executed correctly, there’s no better way to get your clients’ homes in front of a high volume of motivated buyers. A successful open house increases the chances of a bidding war, driving up the sale price and putting more money in your pocket. 

 However, an open house can also be a huge waste of time. Imagine sitting in your client’s home for four to five hours with only a handful of people visiting. All of the time spent planning and promoting would be wasted, not to mention a table full of snacks you have to pitch in the trash. Hosting a successful open house takes preparation and heavy promotion. But first you need to determine whether an open house is warranted.


Before you start planning an event, you need to decide whether an open house is appropriate for the property you’re selling. In some cases, the value they add is eclipsed by the extra hassles involved. For these homes, appointment-based showings are more than adequate. So how do you know? 

 Open houses work best when the event is assured a steady stream of buyers. With multiple interested parties touring simultaneously, potential buyers are often compelled to take action quickly or offer more money for fear that others will strike first. 

 Houses in popular neighborhoods are the best candidates. Unique homes can also do well. If your client’s home is in a sleepy neighborhood, or if its design is fairly generic, you may not generate the foot traffic necessary to warrant an open house.

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A beautiful, clean white kitchen.


To increase your chances for success, the home needs to look its best. Give your client a punch list of preparatory tasks, including cleaning, organizing, and tucking away valuables. If there’s clutter, move it somewhere out of sight. If there are pets, have the homeowner find a safe place for them where people coming in and out won’t disturb them. 

 Don’t forget about the exterior. Make sure that the grass is cut (if it’s that time of year) and any plantings are clean and weed-free. Powerwash siding and clean up any stains on the pavement. Finally, move cars out of the drive and off the street to leave room for visitors. 

 Once the house is immaculate, hire a professional photographer. Great photos posted with your ads can make the difference between a thin crowd and a packed house.


An open house isn’t going to be successful if no one knows it’s happening. Employ a multichannel approach that leverages MLS listings, popular real estate websites, social media, and signage. 

 First, pick a date and time. Weekends are almost always preferable since most people are off work and free to visit. Then choose a time range that fits your and your client’s schedule. Then blitz every channel available to you. 

 MLS listings are the first place to advertise your open house. After that, you can create a Facebook event and promote it through your network and paid advertising. You should also mention the event on Zillow, Realtor, Redfin, and Trulia. Services like Nextdoor give you the ear of everyone in the home’s immediate neighborhood, which is great for spreading word of mouth. 

 Finally, signage is critical. You should post open house signs in front of the property as well as key locations around the neighborhood and nearby thoroughfares to drive traffic to the property.

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Two men shaking hands in front of a home.


Motivated home buyers often visit multiple open houses in a day. Make sure you leave out documentation to help them remember what they saw.  

 Create a stack of full-color one-sheets with photos and key features of the home. It’s also a good idea to put out financing brochures that make it easy for people to compute their monthly payment if they purchase. And of course, business cards are a must. Ideally, you would bind all of these together into a convenient bundle.

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Stake out a spot near the front door and be sure to warmly greet each group that tours the home. Be friendly, and quick to answer any questions. 

 Avoid being pushy. Let people roam at their own pace. You don’t want to give people a negative impression of the home by looming over them or rushing them out the door. As you know, buying a home is a big commitment, and people need time to process their decisions. 

 Do, however, ask them what they’re thinking once they’ve been around the home for a while. Getting them talking about what they like and what they’re looking for helps you to sell features matched to their interests. It also opens the door to a larger conversation about making an offer. Sometimes people process out loud better than internally. Guiding the conversation can help bring them around to a sale.

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A card thanking people for coming to an open house.

Thank Attendees With a Handwritten Thank You Note

Open houses can be an opportunity to promote yourself as well as your client’s homes. Leave a sign-in sheet near the entrance and collect visitors’ physical addresses along with their email. Then thank each one for visiting with a handwritten card. Include a business card inside the envelope. 

 These thank you cards aren’t likely to help you sell the current home. Instead, they plant the seeds for future clients and future sales. 

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 Want to know how to elevate your game even further? Use Simply Noted to automate your handwritten thank you cards. After your open house, simply upload your attendees’ addresses and enter your desired message into our simple online order form. Then relax as our automated handwriting machines create and mail your thank you cards using real ballpoint pens and advanced smart fonts. We create a handwritten experience that’s just as authentic as the real thing. Save yourself time and build your business with Simply Noted.

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