11 Tips for Hosting a Successful Open House

If your home is currently on the market, have you planned the open house? Open houses are designed for interested buyers to browse your home, speak with an agent, and ask questions. Open houses have many benefits and ultimately… buyers feel less pressured, which means you will be less pressured. Win-Win!

Furthermore, here are some pros and cons of hosting an open house:

Pros of open houses – More inviting, attracting new buyers, additional exposure of the home, buyers feel less pressured.

Cons of open houses – Less likely to make a sale, potential for theft, visitors attending who are not qualified to buy, nosy neighbors, many people in your home at one time, very little one-on-one attention.

Another thing to keep in mind is that an open house can work better for home sellers than private showings. Private showings are professionally scheduled appointments that allows the potential buyer(s) to tour your home and receive one-on-one attention from the realtor. (Side note: You don’t need to be present for these, and you shouldn’t be. We’ll explain more about why below). There are many pros and cons that come with private showings, these include:

Pros of private showings – One-on-one attention, no potential for theft, the buyer is most likely qualified, and you are more likely to make a sale.

Cons of private showings – Scheduling can be limited.

If you opt for an open house, here are some tips to make it successful:

1. Market the open house.

No one can discover that your home is for sale unless you market it. Many buyers are finding their future homes on the web, but don’t neglect going the print route either. You never know unless you market your home across many different outlets. For example, you can entice buyers to visit with flyers, ads, virtual tours, professional photographs, and more.

2. Place open house signs strategically.

When prepping your home for the open house, ensure that you have enough signs, that they are distributed evenly, and that they are visible, easy to read, and clearly show how to get to your home (use arrows).

3. Attach colorful balloons to the mailbox to make your home easy to spot.

Just as you might do for a birthday party, placing balloons on your home’s mailbox can make it easier to find. Get creative and have a custom balloon made to say something like “Open House” or “Your Future Home Awaits.” Remember, if you do opt for more creative and enticing welcome signs/balloons/etc., ensure that they are easy to read while driving as well. The more inviting, the better.

4. Leave space for buyers to park.

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to find a decent, and safe, parking spot… and that applies to anywhere you go. Leave enough space for the buyer(s) to park their car within walking distance to your home and make sure that access to the door is close as well.

5. Make sure you’ve toured your home and clean up any forgotten messes or clutter.

This is an important step when preparing your home to host a successful open house–do one last inspection. This inspection should cover everything. Remove any lingering odors (did you take out all the trash before you left?), and don’t leave any rooms completely empty (takes away from the home and how buyers will envision utilizing a particular room or living in the home altogether).

6. Light up your home.

Natural light is your BEST FRIEND. There’s nothing more unappealing than a drab and dark home. Lighten up your home by opening up curtains and bringing in some natural light. It’s more inviting and makes your home more appealing to buyers.

7. Think about security.

The security of your home and its belongings is very important. Unfortunately, possible theft is a con when it comes to hosting an open house. To prevent any theft, have a sign-in sheet to record potential buyer information, such as their driver’s license info, phone number, and address (just like when you take a car for a test drive).

Also, don’t allow bathroom access unless you are completely comfortable with strangers using them and you do not have any valuables that could be stolen. Lastly, lock away all of those valuables (this includes pictures, cash, jewelry, medicines, credit cards, bills, adult beverages, and electronics).

8. Have information about your home handy.

To continue further with marketing your home and making it more enticing, prep information about your home ahead of time. Have flyers, brochures, info about mortgages, and important documents handy (blueprints, inspection reports, appraisal information, etc.).

9. Have refreshments available.

Okay, so you’ve likely seen in movies where they always have food and desserts at open houses. Why? Well, you honestly can’t go wrong with food…it makes everything better. Right?

Plus, having refreshments will make the experience more memorable and allow for more comfortable conversation between buyers and your agent. Have some waters, simple desserts like cookies, a veggie/fruit tray, and some crackers and cheese. You don’t have to spend a lot of time creating a buffet….I mean, unless you wanted to, then go for it!

10. Leave the home.

Okay, this can be a tough one. It can be hard to leave your home because you are the one selling it and you know your home better than anyone. But, trust us on this, it’s for the better. Let your agent sell your home–that’s what they’re there for and what they do for a living. They’ve got this!

So, now’s your time to get away for a few hours and treat yourself. You deserve it–you’ve worked hard to prep your home for its potential new owner. But, be sure to keep your phone on you and be available to take any calls from your agent as potential buyers may have questions along the way that only you can answer.

Oh, one more thing… don’t forget to bring your furry friends, too!

11. Request feedback about the experience.

Woohoo! The open house is over. Sigh of relief! Now what? Ask potential buyers who visited your open house to provide feedback about their experience. This will help you better understand what went well and what didn’t so you can enhance the buyer experience at your next open house.

That’s it! By following these tips, you will be on your way to hosting a great open house!