Real Estate Open House

There’s controversy over whether a real estate open house is an effective marketing tool. Many agents think it’s a waste of time, some are convinced that agents only hold an open house to get buyer leads, and some are concerned over the risks of an open house. But, some agents do use open houses to sell listings, but they know how to do it right. Here are some tips you can use, too.

Explain the Pros and Cons of Holding a Real Estate Open House

Some homeowners expect that their agent will hold open houses, but even if they’re interested in that type of marketing, they may not know all the pros and cons. Ethically, you need to let the homeowners know what an open house can accomplish. Here are some pros and cons you should cover with your sellers.


  • There are homebuyers who want to see a neighborhood they’re interested in to get a feel for the community. If they’re aware of an open house in your neighborhood, they will probably plan to stop in.
  • If done right, an open house will let everyone in your neighborhood know that your home is for sale. This is particularly helpful if your HOA prohibits For Sale signs.
  • Word of mouth advertising is good. If people attend your open house and know of someone who might be interested, they will probably let that person know about your home.
  • You know how important showing feedback is, and you’ll have the opportunity to get impressions from visitors in person.


  • It is rare that someone attending an open house will make an offer.
  • You may have neighbors visit just to see how you’ve done your interior design.
  • Theft is one big concern. You can’t control who attends your open house, and thefts do occur fairly frequently.

Real Estate Open HouseTips for Holding an Effective Real Estate Open House

If after you discuss the idea of an open house with your clients, they want to go ahead, there are things you can do to make the most of the opportunity.

Aggressively Promote the Open House

The entire point of an open house is to get people in the door, so make sure you plan ahead to allow time to create a buzz. Use your website, social media sites, email campaigns, newspapers and any other promotion vehicles you can find.

Make It Safe

Have the homeowners store their valuables in a safe place, and don’t let visitors wander. Some agents will team up when holding an open house. For example, one agent would greet people and stay visible on the first floor, while a second agent shepherds people on the second floor.

Remember that you’re in control. If a large number of people arrive at the same time, feel comfortable explaining that the house is full and asking people to wait. If an attendee is serious, they won’t mind, and you’ll weed out those who aren’t serious.

Some agents use a sign in sheet. You won’t want to ask visitors for their driver’s license, so they could lie on the sign-in, but it does give the impression that you’re concerned about knowing who has toured the home.

Know Your Market

Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and will probably ask you for details. Make sure you know the local market stats, and research the competition. Knowing the competition will help you explain how your listing is superior if an attendee mentions other homes they’ve seen.

Hold an Open House the Same Day the Listing Goes on the Market

Some agents use the strategy of doing a lot of marketing for homes that are “coming soon.” It’s not as if you’re delaying the listing; typically, a home isn’t ready for showings the day the owners sign a listing agreement. Then, they promote an open house for the day the listing hits the MLS. Starting its time on the market with lots of anticipation really helps a listing get more attention.

Use Open House Signs Thoughtfully

You want to make sure people who are interested in seeing the home can find it. Use signs that are readable from at least 30 feet. That means you need bold letters that are at least two inches tall. Advertise in a five-block radius to reach a larger audience.

It doesn’t matter which side of the open house issue you’re on, if you plan one, make sure you do it right!


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