open house real estate agent

17 Things You Need to Prepare for an Open House (Checklist)

Whether you’re a new real estate agent or a seasoned professional, you know how important an open house can be. But preparing for an open house can also be chaotic. You need to wrangle your sellers, get buyers in the door, and make sure your marketing is impeccable.

I’ve discussed open houses a lot because they’re a major source of marketing. Open houses aren’t just advertising for your current listing: They’re advertising for you.

The more you can get your system down, the easier they’ll become. Today, we’re going to go over a simple open house checklist that will help you connect with buyers and get brand new leads.

If you would rather watch or listen to this content, check out the video or podcast below!

1. Practice Your Pitch

Before buyers walk into the home, you should have an “elevator pitch” in mind. What are the most interesting, unique, or even surprising aspects of the property? What would a prospective buyer be most interested in?

Remember the basics of advertising: You want to tell a story. Is there something special about the architecture of the property? Was it owned by someone locally famous? How have the renovations gone — or is it a brand new home, with all the benefits that can bring?

2. Prepare Your Social Media

We’re in a digital world now. We need to be thinking about the potential buyer behind the screen.

Live stream your open houses on social media. YouTube, Facebook, even Twitch will let you do it. You can spend your time promoting the house while also showing how robust your services are.

Live streaming gives you the chance to interact with people who may be out of town. You might be in New York, but maybe someone in California is looking for a house there. Even if they can’t visit the open house, they’ll be able to tune in.

modern house with sky

3. Work on the Curb Appeal

There are fast, simple things you can do to improve curb appeal for potential home buyers. Talk to your sellers about cleaning up the yard, putting out plants and decor, and trimming back bushes and plants. Give them a referral for a yard service you know and trust.

Remember the oldest of tricks: a fresh coat of paint is probably the best thing you can do to improve the look of a home. And it’s affordable. Talk to the home sellers about refreshing their trim or at least painting their entry door.

4. Do Some Light Home Staging

Apart from a deep clean, consider staging the property creatively. Remove any clutter, personal items, and family photos, but use little items of decor that the home seller might have. Anything unique or impersonal is often a great idea.

Some of this home staging may come well before the open house preparation, as you also need to get the home ready for listing photos. But the most important part is a thorough cleaning. Make sure the sellers know to get their house professionally cleaned.

5. Print Out Informational Packets

As people walk in the door, ask them to sign up for more information and give them an informational packet.

This informational packet should include information about the property, information about the neighborhood, and information about your services.

You can have folders printed with your name on them and fill them with materials that you printed at home. A potential buyer will walk away with all the information that they need.

cookies

6. Prepare Gifts to Take Home

Don’t just give them promotional materials, though. Consider also preparing gifts for them to take home.

Gifts to take home can include cookies, brownies, candies, and other great takeaways.

Put your logo on the sticker that seals your little “goodie bags,” and ensure that they’ll think about you after they’ve left.

7. Present a Digital Sign-Up Sheet

Want to make an impression? Get an affordable tablet and host a digital sign-up sheet rather than a paper one.

Not only is this impressive, but it also means that you can import your sign-up sheet directly into your CRM solution or mailing list software.

Just don’t forget to charge your tablet or plug it in!

8. (Optional) Create a “Sign Up Sheet” Raffle

You’ve seen these work at seminars and conferences, so why not here? At your open house, let people throw in business cards or raffle tickets and potentially win a service.

Consider something like a gift card to Starbucks. A lot of people pay for leads anyway, so why not make it fun? This will ensure that people actually sign up; something people are very wary of today.

person playing record

9. Put on Some “Theme Music”

There are few things that really key into emotions and get a person in the mood as much as music. Yet, a lot of real estate agents completely forget to create a playlist for their open house event.

Concentrate on upbeat, cheerful music, or even music that doesn’t have lyrics; instrumentals or “elevator music” can still set the stage.

Your open house attendees will feel more comfortable with background music. At a minimum, you won’t have a few people walking through a completely quiet home.

10. Create a Neighborhood Benefits Board

A neighborhood benefits board is a large board that includes all of the benefits around the home, rather than just the home itself.

An open house event can show people the interior and exterior of a property. But it’s not going to be able to highlight the features around the property, which a lot of people are interested in.

Real estate professionals can highlight interesting things about the neighborhood and neighbors by creating a small, informational board about the property.

Snacks are great for an open house.

11. Don’t Forget Food: Consider a Local Caterer

We’ve posted some great open house food ideas that’ll keep people in (and discussing) your property. 

Don’t have time to make the open house food yourself? To host a successful open house with a little less work, consider making a deal with a local caterer.

This can be mutually beneficial. Buyers will be impressed that you’ve taken the extra step (and more enamored with the surrounding amenities). You’ll be able to advertise the caterer or restaurant, too, and can present their location and contact information.

The more you can involve local businesses, the better; local businesses also give great referrals. There are few people as well-networked as local business owners.

12. Put Up Decorations (Consider Seasonal Decorations)

There’s always a holiday around the corner. If you’re stuck for a creative open house idea or theme, consider putting up some seasonal decorations.

You can put something up on the television, even, such as an image of yule logs, or an image of a jack-o-lantern.

Seasonal decorations put people in a positive mood, but that’s not the only reason why this is a great open house idea. Seeing holiday decorations will make buyers imagine themselves celebrating those holidays on the property. Once they become emotionally attached, they’re more likely to commit.

Post your open house on social media.

13. Advertise Your Open House on Facebook and NextDoor

Find more interested buyers and prospective buyers by advertising on Facebook and NextDoor.

In addition to hanging an open house sign outside, you should consider advertising on hyper-local sites. Run a Facebook ad, if you’re in a competitive market like New York City. Post a listing on NextDoor.

You can post links to a virtual open house on these sites so that people out of town can also get information on the property. By being more inclusive, you’ll find additional leads.

14. Send Out Invites throughout the Neighborhood

A lot of real estate agents will send out invites throughout the neighborhood. You can also put a door hanger on every house in the neighborhood to boost your attendees.

There are a few reasons to do this. First, you get more open house visitors, which makes the property look more active and desirable. Second, neighbors may know someone in the market for a house… or they may be interested in selling their own.

Neighbors can also speak to the advantages of the neighborhood to people who are looking to buy. But that can also be a bit of a double-edged sword; you may want to consider your audience before you start inviting more attendees.

15. Post Your Event Photos on Your Social Media

Throughout your open house event, you should be taking photos. Post these photos on your social media; you never know when you might catch the eye of a potential buyer.

In real estate, your marketing often speaks for you. Your event photos will show potential sellers what they can expect from you, while also showing buyers what your inventory is.

And, of course, your homeowners will appreciate that you’re going the extra mile to advertise their home.

Light candles at your next open house.

16. Light Some Candles or Spray Scent

In addition to music, scents are a great way to relax people or develop a positive association for a place.

Are you holding a holiday open house? Consider the scent of cranberries, pumpkin pie, or pine.

Most homes smell a little “lived in” if they haven’t been completely emptied and cleaned out. Candles and spray scents can help mask this.

Further, the right scents (such as lavender) automatically put people in a more relaxed mental state, making them more receptive to the property.

17. Open Up the Drapes

Nothing’s better than natural light. Most open houses are timed from around 1 PM to 3 PM, which means that the natural light will be bright. Open up any drapes, blinds, or shutters to let the light in.

A brightly lit home is a welcoming home. It also means that people will be able to see the color and features of the property better. If it’s a nice day out, consider opening up the windows and letting a nice breeze in. If it’s hot or cold out, crank up the AC or furnace to let buyers know that they work.

Create the best open house with this checklist.

Crafting the Perfect Open House

So, the perfect open house can both help you connect to potential leads and sell the house.

But for a new agent, an open house can be very intimidating. You need to get people in the door with open house flyers and Facebook advertising, you have to follow the right open house tips to make it a success, and you need to manage the open house itself.

But a lot of the open house is on the sellers, too. They need to make sure they hire a cleaning service or a professional stager, tuck their personal possessions in storage or a closet, and otherwise make sure their property is ready.

If you’re still nervous, consider reaching out to your real estate broker and offering to run open houses for another real estate agent. You’ll get additional experience running an open house and will be able to foster your connections with other agents.

FAQs

How do you make an open house fun?

Staging the property, providing food, and holding events such as raffles and contests can make an open house fun and exciting. The more you are able to engage your audience, the more likely you are to get a lead or a potential client.

How can you stand out at an open house?

At an open house, don’t just meander. Realtors should walk up to everyone who walks in, shake their hands, and introduce themselves. When in doubt, try to get a potential client to laugh.

How do I attract people to my open house?

Yard signs and online listings are still the two most popular tools for a listing agent. You can also post your open house details to social media and post up directional signs throughout the neighborhood.

Kyle Handy

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I’ve helped hundreds of real estate agents, team leaders, & brokers all over the country increase their sales, online presence, and create scalable systems. I would love the opportunity to work with you. Together, we can make this year your best yet!

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