Open House Tips for Realtors

I have written before about open houses and while I cannot speak for every city, every market, every country and every price range I can’t imagine why a Realtor would not hold an open house.

To be fair and balanced in this blog the arguments against open houses are usually:

  1. Open houses rarely sell houses. (see next paragraph)
  2. Open houses benefit agents. (exactly why you should have them)
  3. Open houses are a security risk. (best reason I must admit, but handled at the end of this post)
  4. Open houses attract neighbors and browsers. (who want to have their friends buy your house!)

To address point 1 The National Association of Realtors 2006 Home Buyer & Seller Survey found the following:

“Buyers used a wide array of resources in searching for a home: 85 percent used a real estate agent, 80 percent the Internet (up from 77 percent in 2005), 63 percent yard signs, 55 percent print or newspaper ads and 47 percent attended open houses. ” Can you really risk alienating the 47%?

Actually the one reason they shouldn’t is because they are so badly prepared.

House Compartments

So how do you make an open house more effective? (See previous entry on Open Houses and Feature Sheets )

The four key points to consider before an open house are:

  1. Is the home located where arrows can bring good traffic?
  2. Is the home priced correctly?
  3. Is the home attractive from the curb?
  4. Do you have the home and open house properly advertised?

Next understand why you are holding an open house; some selfish ans some to sell the house:

  1. To identify a buyer for the house held open
  2. To identify a buyer for yours or other listings
  3. To make contacts with current potential sellers that will lead to listings
  4. To meet future buyers
  5. To meet future sellers

What kind of people can you expect?

  1. People spying on behalf of the seller
  2. People with no hope of affording the home (but are prospect nonetheless)
  3. Owners of other homes for sale, but already listed with another agent checking the competition
  4. People looking for decorating and landscaping ideas
  5. Curious time-killers of all kinds and descriptions
  6. People who are actually interested in the home!

What should you provide prospects at the open house?

At the very least:

Copy of the Property Listing
Detailed list of everything that is included and excluded from the asking price
Color images of the exterior in all seasons
Images of other features you’d like buyers to remember
List of any improvements you have made, noting the year and cost
An itemized list of annual utility costs (electricity, fuel oil, etc.)
Copy of any structural inspection or survey you have had done within the last year

What do I recommend to help sell the house faster and to make prospects more likely to want to work with you either as a buyer and seller?

Color Feature Sheet
Feature Sheet 1

Amenity Map
Amenity map

Aerial View
Aerial View Zoom

Enhancement and Improvement Sheet
Features and Improvements 1 Features and Improvements 2

Floor Plan
Floor Plan

Coloring for the Kids
Open House COlouring

What about tracking visitors to open houses?

It is perfectly acceptable to have a guest register at an open house that people must sign as a security step. This ensures that they know you care about security and if they do not want to sign it then they will ahve to make an appointment. While people can use a false name and address it will deter the typical ne’re-do-well.

Here are examples of a guest register you can use.

Guest Register Canada
Guest Register US

If you agree or disagree or simply want to inquire about some of the marketing ideas feel free to call Mike Blaney at 800-568-8338 or in Vancouver 604-618-5512. Email

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Daleik V says:

    What are some good websites to advertise your open house?

    1. Mike Blaney says:

      I recommend Twitter and Facebook, but your own website / blog is the best. Home buyers will often do a search for “open houses scottsdale” for example and search engines will give preference to a website that is updated regularly. I would not bother with national services as the odds of your open house being found is slim.

  2. rsmithcrown says:

    One great post!!! This is a must shared article to all the realtors out there! They will learn a lot from this post especially for the concept of handling “Open House”. Keep it coming!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s