How to Set Up an Open House

Like them or not, there’s a reason that open houses remain a staple of the residential real estate business.

Your sellers love them. They generate leads. And you get to meet prospective clients. That’s why knowing how to set up an open house and regularly brushing up on those skills is vital to your success in real estate. And that’s true whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a brand new real estate agent.

In this post, we’re going to review how to set up an open house that generates plenty of traffic, brings in leads, converts strangers into clients, and gets that house sold.

Getting Started: How Do You Get Foot Traffic to Your Open House?

First things first, with an open house you need people in the door. Even if not everyone who attends is a likely buyer, just the appearance of other people will cause real buyers to perceive the house as more desirable. It’s called “social proof” and it’s been studied by psychologists for a long time.

To generate foot traffic to your open house, make sure you’ve done the following:

1. Placed a well-located sign somewhere in front of the house. Remember to include the text “Open House” on the sign, not just “For Sale.”
2. Advertised in advance. If you aren’t the listing agent, ask the agent to enter the open house information in the MLS by Monday.
3. Advertised the open house on social media.
4. Chosen the right time. What’s the best time to hold an open house? It could depend on the type of buyers in your market, but generally, an early afternoon on Sunday is a safe bet.

how to set up an open house

Include Direct Mail in Your Marketing Mix

Direct mail and print collateral are very effective for marketing an open house.

Use flyers around the neighborhood to direct foot traffic. Send a targeted postcard mailing to a list of prospects. Or even provide brochures for the property so prospects have something to remember your property by. The great part about direct mail as an open house marketing tool is that it’s very flexible.

Prepping the House: How do You Stage a Property for an Open House?

The key to successfully showing off a home to potential buyers is to sell them a dream. Take a second and think about your own dream home. Does it have dirty socks on the floor? Is there pet dander on the couch? Is the paint peeling?

To ensure prospective buyers feel like they’re walking through a dream in your open house, make sure you do the following:

1. Touch up interior wall paint.
2. Hire a professional cleaner, for the inside and outside.
3. Remove clutter.
4. Rearrange or remove homeowner’s possessions to ensure decor appeals to a wide audience.
5. Get pets out of the house and make sure homebuyers are off-premises.

Spreading Awareness: Should I Hold a Broker’s Open House First?

A broker’s open house is when an agent holds a house open for other real estate agents and brokers to take a look. This an important first step for you to take because it gives you an opportunity to answer other agents’ questions.

Moreover, seeing the open house in person may encourage other realtors to show your listing; nothing replaces the experience of seeing a home in-person. Once your broker’s open house is finished, all that’s left to do is meet new prospects and try to capture leads.

The Day Of: How to Capture Leads at an Open House

A sign in sheet, whether it’s physical or digital, is all you need to capture leads at an open house. Ask them for their email and phone number. If you get pushback, just let them know that it’s for security and insurance purposes.

You won’t be lying. Open house security is an issue every realtor should be paying attention to, according to

How to Solicit Feedback from Open House Guests

On the day of the open house, a great way to both engage prospects and improve your knowledge is to solicit feedback. You can be formal by asking visitors to fill out a short survey or informal by simply asking them questions. Plus, by asking for and listening closely to feedback, you’ll gain tons of insight into the buyer’s thought process.

As you hold more and more open houses, the answers to these questions will help you identify patterns among buyers in your target market. And, in the event that the person you’re soliciting feedback from tries to buy the house, knowing their thoughts on the house may help in the negotiation process.

How to Identify the Best Leads

Some agents criticize the practice of holding an open house because these events tend to attract people that have no interest in buying. While that may be true, it’s no reason to forgo an open house altogether. You just have to know how to weed out the looky-loos. And you can do that by asking basic questions.

Realtor Magazine suggests asking the following question to open house visitors. Depending on how they answer, you’ll quickly get a feel for whether they are legitimate potential buyers or not.

1. Are they interested in the property?
2. What other properties may be of interest to them? What are they looking for?
3. Will they be willing to set up an appointment to talk further with you, or are they interested in viewing additional properties that may be a better fit?


It’s the little things that make a big difference in an open house. And if you’re a rookie real estate agent, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But over time, you’ll develop a system and everything we’ve discussed in this article will become a habit. Until then, make sure you’re keeping a list of the things we’ve covered in this article and checking them off as you go.

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