An Agent's Guide to the Ultimate Open House

As a real estate agent, a traditional way of marketing your listing is to hold an open house so that interested buyers can view the property at their leisure. Wondering if this strategy can work for you? Read on to learn the ultimate guide to an open house.  

Should You Even Have an Open House?

Thanks to the advent of high-tech tools like virtual tours, buyers can get granular information about a property just from viewing it online. In fact, roughly half of buyers —47%, to be exact— made at least one sight unseen offer on a home in the past two years. For some real estate agents, this has made open houses obsolete.

Other disadvantages to hosting an open house are 

However, there is one important advantage to hosting an open house, especially for new agents. Open houses are a great place to build your network. You can connect with other agents and convince would-be buyers that you are the right real estate agent for them — even if they have no intention of buying the property you're hosting. 

The Ultimate Guide to an Open House

If you do decide on an open house, here's everything you need to know about hosting it!

Choose the Right Time

You have to choose a time when prospective buyers are able to view a home. Weekend days and weekday evenings, after the workday and before dinner, are a good choice. You also want to consider possible conflicts. For instance, the weekend before income taxes are due is not a great time to host an open house. 

Considering the season is also important. Most homes show better when the weather is warm and gardens are blooming. However, if a house looks its best staged for the winter holidays, you could consider a less conventional showing time.

Clean and Stage the Property

The property will have already been decluttered and staged for the listing photos. But photographers are trained to gloss over defects that prospective buyers may see when they tour your property in person. Thus, it's important to make sure the house is at its absolute best for an open house. This includes:

  • Cleaning everything thoroughly.

  • Removing the appliances and other items that have crept back onto the seller's counters. 

  • Mowing the lawn, weeding gardens, and wetting down the mulch so that it looks its most attractive.

  • Washing the windows, if the seller hasn't already done so. 

  • Creating a brochure or fact sheet for the property to have on hand.

  • Putting out fresh towels.

Create the Right Atmosphere

Speaking of good smells, some agents like to bring cookie dough and bake a batch of cookies right before the first people arrive so that the house feels warm and inviting.

Other ways to make prospective buyers want to stick around and explore are:

  • Greet the buyer and be available for questions, but don't follow them around the property. They should feel free to take their time to explore. 

  • Have a fire going in the fireplace if the weather is chilly.

  • Consider playing soothing music at a low volume. 

  • Set out inviting snacks.

  • Display cut flowers to make everything look more appealing. A pot of lavender is a nice choice because it also makes a room smell wonderful without being too overpowering. 

  • Open all the curtains and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible and turn on every light in the house. If the weather is going to be bad, you may consider postponing the open house to the following weekend. 

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