Sep 13 2022

How to plan an open house

What’s one sure-fire way to set yourself apart? Throw an unforgettable open house.

There’s a long-standing argument among agents. Do open houses actually work? Are they even worth your time? While an open house isn’t likely to sell a home outright, it’ll help get eyes on the property. You can also use it to forge connections with visitors and help turn them into new clients.

You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. And you may never get another chance to wow buyers who lose interest at a ho-hum open house. Fortunately, there are ways to grab their attention.

Your 9-step game plan for a truly successful open house

Whether you’re a new or seasoned agent, you can follow these steps to optimize every aspect of your open house:

1. Pick a date and time.

An easy way to find out when open houses attract the most interest is to ask—or observe—your colleagues. You might notice open houses are often scheduled on weekend afternoons, starting at around 1 p.m. You could also plan an open house for a holiday weekend when more people are out and about, like Memorial Day. If demand is still high in your area, hosting at an off-peak time (a weekday evening) could work in your favor.

View more on Instagram

2. Clean it and stage it.

As you’ve probably already told your clients: Standards are high when selling a house. Touring buyers will expect a property to be as close to perfect as possible. So, let your sellers know what’s expected before their open house—like hiring cleaners or doing a deep cleaning, decluttering, making necessary repairs, and refreshing the exterior. Then make sure you arrive early to check that everything’s in good shape.

View more on Instagram

3. Spread the word on social media.

Share your event on all social platforms and post it (at no cost) to Craigslist. Also, promote it hyper-locally by advertising on Nextdoor three days prior, if it’s within your budget. You can gain more traction by asking your Loan Officer partner to share your open house to their social channels too. Tease your event in the days leading up to it by posting a livestream virtual open house on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

View more on Instagram

4. Put up signs.

The morning of the event, place a sign in the front yard of the property, post additional signs at busy intersections along the route to the house (as many as 20 total), and add balloons to draw attention. It’s also a good idea to hang door hangers throughout the neighborhood (from 50 to 100), letting neighbors know there’ll be increased traffic while hinting that you’re the agent who brings a crowd if they decide to sell in the future.

View more on Instagram

5. Leave Easter eggs around the house.

Not literal Easter eggs—as fun as that would be. Instead, print out flyers and other resources and “plant” them in different rooms. Doing this can help make a home more memorable for a buyer, also establishing you as an expert agent. If you’re in need of materials, ask the Loan Officer you’re working with if they offer co-branded program and product flyers and even infographics you can print and display in plexiglass holders.'

Signage. Door hangers. Co-branded flyers. Social media shout-outs. Take advantage of Academy’s Open House Support Program to make your next event stand out.

View more on Instagram

6. Set out food and drinks.

Though you may already have your go-to menu, featuring a few new foods or beverages can help to spark conversation. Alongside the classic charcuterie board, serve wasabi peas, caprese skewers, and marshmallow-fluff-dipped strawberries. In addition to staples like sparkling water and lemonade, serve a signature mocktail, like a virgin strawberry lime mojito.

View more on Instagram

7. Set up sign-ins.

Post a welcome sign on the front door, informing all guests that they must sign in for the security of the home’s seller. Then set up a sign-in sheet in the entryway or download a paid app like OpenHomePro to collect visitors’ information (and automatically send a follow-up email). To entice visitors to provide their contact info, give them something in return: Use an app to virtually stage the home and offer to text or email them the images.

View more on Instagram

8. Livestream it.

Capture the action as it happens by posting a live open house tour to your Instagram and Facebook Stories. Show your face and let your followers know the party has started, showcase standout features (as well as tasty snacks), and then invite them to come see it in person. To keep your Stories active, shoot video of different rooms—kitchen, living room, primary bedroom, bath—and add hyper-local hashtags, like #(city)openhouse.

View more on Instagram

9. Follow-up within 24 hours.

Once your event is over, input all visitor information into your CRM and then schedule a follow-up email or send a handwritten card. Also, set follow-up reminders for up to six months after. Going the extra mile to mail a card can pay off as in-person leads have more potential to convert. Yet few agents have time to do this. Alternately, you can text prospects to thank them for attending and send any “bonus” offerings you promised.

View more on Instagram

Consider us your ‘good luck charm’

An Academy Loan Officer in Portland, OR, says: “My agent hosted an open house the previous weekend with another lender and had one group. The next weekend, with me, she had 25-plus groups come! She also forgot her signs, but I had the open house signs in my car. Wrote a pre-approval* and got some quality leads. The agent said I was her good luck charm.” Connect with a local Loan Officer to elevate your next open house.

*Pre-approval is not a commitment to lend. This is for informational and educational purposes only and not intended as an advertisement as defined by Regulation Z. Please consult a trusted professional as personal circumstances may vary. No specific results are guaranteed. MAC823-1482481.