• Choosing the best day and time can make all the difference in boosting attendance. 
  • Partner with local businesses to cross-promote the open house.
  • Display the property's unique features by having signage and doing a live demo.
  • Follow up with your interested buyers by sending them a thank-you note.
  • Your client is ready to make the big move and list their house. It’s certainly an exciting journey, and you get to play a big part of it. Now, you’re tasked with planning an open house to attract potential buyers. Open houses often include a basket of shoe protectors to keep floors clean. We’ve collected the top 15 open house ideas, making sure each space effectively showcases its function. With these strategies, you could be well on the way to your client’s home receiving the attention it deserves.

    1. Stage the Home Professionally

    When guests enter the home, you always want to make a stellar first impression. Staging the property professionally (either with the do-it-yourself method or with an interior designer) can help make it look far more appealing. Creating a good first impression with nice furniture and decor can help enhance the space. It gives interested buyers an idea of the home's layout and functionality as their future home. As such, staging the home professionally can help you earn top dollar for the real estate listing.

    2. Research Local Listings

    Before planning an open house, it’s a good idea to see how other competing listings are marketing their homes. You want to become knowledgeable about the home and surrounding area. Walking around the neighborhood lets you become familiar with local businesses, schools, libraries, modes of transportation, and parks. Becoming an expert in the amenities in the listing’s area will help you share these benefits with potential buyers.[1]

    3. Choose the Best Date and Time

    The smallest details matter, especially when it comes to when to hold your open house. Having an open house on the weekend may be the right move when your ideal buyers have the day off work and don’t have to deal with rush hour traffic. However, weekday evenings may be ideal for potential buyers who prefer not to view a home on their day off or already have weekend plans. Further, if the house has a nice view of the city skyline, you may choose to host the event in the evening so the guests can enjoy the breathtaking views. Also, don’t forget to check if there are other open houses on the same day. If there are, you may want to adjust the hours to capture some of the attendees before or after the other open houses.

    4. Create Marketing Materials

    Other than the expected printout of the real estate listing, you can create beautifully designed marketing materials for the open house. With the help of a graphic designer or researching available graphic design tools, you can create flyers and brochures with your company’s branded colors and logo. These can be either digital or printouts to hand out to the open house guests. You can also make available information about the neighborhood, including nearby amenities and schools.

    5. Invite the Neighbors

    Giving out flyers and knocking on the doors to invite the neighbors is a great way to boost attendance at the open house. After all, you never know who would like to upgrade or downsize yet remain within the neighborhood. At the same time, those neighbors may advocate for the area and share their positive experiences. They know firsthand the best restaurants, schools, and community centers to visit. Thinking long term, it could potentially make you the trusted real estate agent within the community.

    6. Promote the Open House on Social Media

    You could put on the best open house ever. But if no one knows about it, all your efforts will be in vain. To prevent that from happening, it’s essential to advertise the open house through MLS listings such as Realtor.com® and Zillow®. Providing several weeks' notice allows potential buyers to save the date in their calendars. Promoting this anticipated event on social media improves the odds of reaching and attracting a larger audience.

    7. Assemble Goody Bags

    We all know that people enjoy receiving free items. So, why not take the time to put together a nicely crafted goody bag? It can contain a mix of marketing materials and useful branded items. Include your company’s professionally branded pens, notepads, or magnets. When the guests take the bags home, they can also review the promotional material provided.

    8. Partner with Local Businesses

    While scouting the neighborhood, approach local businesses to see if they would like to partner for the open house event. It could be a local bakery, flower shop, or home decor store. This is a great way to feature their wares to your open house guests. Besides, refreshments go a long way towards creating positive feelings among your guests.

    9. Host a Themed Open House

    You can be creative when planning an open house and have a lot of fun while doing so. A themed open house can elevate the event and really draw a crowd. The more people who enter the door, the higher your chances of getting multiple bids. Here are some popular themes to consider:

    Whatever theme you choose, make sure the seller likes the idea. The theme’s décor should match the style of the property.

    10. Have a Digital Guestbook

    When guests arrive at the open house, you can have a registration desk where they sign in. This is the perfect moment to capture leads. You can easily do this by having an iPad available or a QR code that they scan to enter contact info. This simple step allows you to follow up with the guests after the event.

    11. Include a Virtual Tour on Listing

    Some guests may be unable to attend the open house in person but would like to watch the virtual tour. To boost attendance, it’s best to include the virtual tour on the MLS listing. The virtual tour can be pre-recorded or live-streamed through social media. It’s a good idea to enlist the help of an assistant to help you record the video while you talk about the features of the property. All they need to do is use a mobile device and begin a live streaming session online for interested buyers to tune in. Creating this virtual open house event will attract viewers who could not attend in person and increase the engagement of this listing.

    12. Set the Mood

    Live entertainment, such as a DJ or a jazz band, will help set the atmosphere. Whether you’re trying to create a party vibe or a relaxing evening, the right mood will encourage your guests to enjoy themselves. If you’re on a tight budget, you can always stream a playlist and play these tunes over some speakers. Other ways to set the mood are by lighting scented candles or baking fresh cookies to fill the home with a nice aroma.  

    13. Live Demo the Smart Technology

    One of the benefits of having an open house is the opportunity to do live demonstrations. If the property you’re selling has integrated smart home technology, educating the guests on how it works will be beneficial. For example, you may have various smart home devices, including thermostats, lights, and window blinds. Both those guests who are tech savvy — as well as those guests not familiar with these new technologies — will appreciate the live demo.

    14. Create Signs to Showcase Features

    When guests tour the home, they may come across unique characteristics that make excellent selling points.[2] For instance, you may show a home with a kitchen appliance with special cooking functions or a home theater with custom lighting options. Creating small signage to highlight these attributes will draw attention, and guests can test it out themselves. Displaying these value-added features will reinforce the value of the home in the minds of your guests (a win-win scenario for you and the client).

    15. Consider Inviting a Local Lender

    Inviting a local lender to the open house may be beneficial as they may have clients who are looking to buy a home. They can promote the open house on social media and provide marketing materials. During the open house event, the loan officer can help answer any financing or mortgage questions that guests may have. You can find a local PNC Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) near you.

    Finding the Right Buyer

    Now you know what steps to take to host a successful open house for any client. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the various strategies. Some open house ideas will work better than others depending on the type of property you’re selling, the surrounding neighborhood, the time of year, and the group of buyers you’re dealing with.

    Once the open house is over, don’t forget to follow up with all the guests. Send them a thank-you email and informative links, which will help keep this property top of mind. Also, be sure to answer any questions that you may get from potential buyers or real estate agents. With these strategies in mind, you’ll be able to make the real estate listing stand out from the competition.

    1. Stage your home professionally
    2. Research local listings
    3. Choose the best date and time
    4. Create marketing materials
    5. Invite the neighbors
    6. Promote the open house on social media
    7. Assemble goody bags
    8. Partner with local businesses
    9. Host a themed open house
    10. Have a digital guestbook
    11. Include a virtual tour on listing
    12. Set the mood
    13. Live demo the smart technology
    14. Create signs to showcase features
    15. Consider inviting a local lender
    • Holiday: Winter wonderland with festive lights and decorations.
    • Season: Summer backyard BBQ.
    • Elegant: Wine & cheese soiree.
    • Artsy: Showcase artwork from local vendors.