Setting Up a Successful Open House

One of the most effective techniques for selling a house is setting up an open house. These events make it possible for buyers to come get a feeling for the property themselves. And while many agents and sellers prefer to set up individual house tours for serious buyers only, an open house can help you knock out multiple appointments at a time, helping you to get serious offers sooner.

Open house - Setting Up a Successful Open House

Whether you’re listing your house for sale yourself, or you’re an agent looking to maximize the offer on a client’s house, here are some tips to help your open house go smoothly, and for you to get the leads and bids that you want out of the day.

Make Sure the House Shows Well

Before you start putting the event together, take an honest look at the property. Is it going to show off to advantage in an open house? Sometimes, properties just don’t have the appeal that you want during a cold walk-through. You want the house to be in tip-top shape, to get good foot traffic, and to reflect the sort of value that open-house-shoppers are looking for.


Signage is your biggest promotional tool for an open house. You want to attract foot traffic and people who have been browsing around the specific area. As you set up signs beyond the house itself, make sure that you ask permission to stick a sign in someone’s yard. It’s just more polite, and ensures that people won’t remove it as soon as you turn your back. Your open house should also be listed in the local newspaper, and on any online listings that you’re using to advertise the property itself. This could include local resources online, social media, Craigslist, and other property listing software.

Open house inside - Setting Up a Successful Open House


Show off the house to its best advantage by making sure that it’s spotlessly clean before the open house. Hire a professional, if you must. Get rid of personal effects, and only retain generic decorations to help buyers picture their own family living there. Put away any valuables. Make sure that your lighting is strategic and draws attention to the home’s assets. Homey smells can also really help the environment, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be baking bread. Buy some wall plug-ins that smell like cinnamon or baking.

Do a Walk-Through

Before your guests come, do a trial run as if you’re seeing the house for the first time. Take note of areas that could be confusing (is this the door to the basement or the furnace?) or even dangerous (watch this step) and put up signs where it feels appropriate. If there are areas where you don’t want guests to go, make sure they’re clearly designated, and invite people to set up a private appointment if they want to see more.

Engage Your Guests

People hate having a pushy salesperson looking over their shoulder when they’re trying to be sensitive to their own feelings. After all, buying a house is largely an emotional decision and buyers want the chance to explore their own emotional response to the house. However, there is such a thing as being too hands-off. You’ll get more serious buyers and more follow-ups if you engage people as they come in. Establish a rapport and help them feel positive and optimistic as they look around. Get some basic information about their needs from the get-go, so you can follow up after they’ve toured the property.

Open house Guests - Setting Up a Successful Open House

You can also have a book where people can leave their names and email addresses in order to get more information about the property, or similar ones in the area. This allows you to follow up with people later.


People often forget that there are many security risks in an open house–either with your property or with you yourself. Have a friend there to help, and if the house is really big and contains valuables, set up a camera with signage to discourage light fingers.

Brochures & Bonus Information

One of the things that takes your open house from good to great is the informational material that you have on hand. People want to know about more than the house itself; they’re curious about the area, the amenities, the HOA, etc. So, in addition to a brochure about the house that they can take home and revisit as they’re thinking, have available some local maps, school zoning designations, a local newspaper, etc. This is especially helpful if you have people who are curious about the property who are coming from out of town.

pinit fg en rect red 28 - Setting Up a Successful Open House