Open houses have been a staple of the real estate industry for decades to increase lead generation and business, but they have changed over time. Staying ahead of new, unique, open house ideas and trends maximizes your time and effort and brings more qualified leads into your sphere. Excellent open house ideas (like having food, social media advertisements, and virtual tours) help your property stand out, increase property interest, and acquire contact information from prospective buyers and future sellers.

Here are twelve real estate open house ideas to help you generate interest and leads for your properties:

Choose the Right Open House Time & Day

Timing is everything when it comes to showcasing a property at an open house event. Although weekends are popular days for agents to host open houses, depending on the property and area, it may not always be the best day for that specific property. For example, family-friendly neighborhoods may have home owners occupied with family events and obligations, making it difficult for them to attend on the weekend. Instead, have open houses on weekday evenings to capture additional opportunities. While fewer people may be able to attend, those who do come will likely be serious about buying a home.

Most open houses are offered during the day to maximize natural light. However, if a property has a beautiful city view in the evening that increases buyer interest, hosting an evening open house and marketing the city lights can get more people in the door and get you more real estate leads. Choosing the right open house time and day for a specific property is crucial to shortening the property’s time on the market.

Electronic Open House Sign-ins

Collecting open house visitor contact information is one of the best tips for open houses. Not only should you have a sign-in-sheet for anyone who stops by, but having a digital sign-in sheet eliminates the need to decipher handwritten contact information.

Digital sign-in sheets also allow for branding and make it easier to collect certain notes on visitors. For example, allow visitors to identify whether they are a buyer or a real estate agent and when the buyer is looking to move. These filters come in handy during the follow-up process.

Agents can utilize platforms like Curb Hero to create online sign-in sheets directly in an open house application. The sign-in sheets sync with customer relationship management (CRM) software for better lead collection and follow-up.

Highlight the Property’s Best Features

The most successful real estate agents look at the property through the eyes of the ideal buyer when coming up with open house marketing ideas. Identifying the best features of the property that will generate the most leads will provide you with a more targeted open house attendees list. Not only should you highlight these features during your open house tour, but you should mention the feature in the online property description and throughout your marketing materials.

For example, if you have a stunning backyard pool, draw additional attention to it by setting that area up with drinks, pool floaters, and nice patio pillows and furniture. If part of the home has nice hardwood flooring, let the natural wood show rather than covering it with a rug. Any features you deem worthy of marketing should be visible and presented in the best possible way to garner a strong first impression from open house attendees.

Provide Food & Entertainment

One of the best ideas for open houses is to provide an incentive to attend the open house event. Adding food and entertainment can be a motivating factor to increase attendance from interested buyers. Aside from speakers and other attendees, surveys cite food as the second most important factor when people decide if they’re attending an event. Perhaps there is a new bakery in the neighborhood you could get catering from that would entice people to stop by for a taste while also seeing the property.

Fun open houses that include good food are also very unexpected since most open houses are just about the property itself and lack any additional bells and whistles. Although food is a big draw, be mindful of what you serve. You don’t want to serve anything that requires too many utensils or space to sit and eat.

Finger foods and hors d’ oeuvres (cold or at room temperature) are great options to allow guests to still move through the property. You also want to keep the homeowner’s place nice and clean, so don’t serve food or drinks that may stain their furniture.

Put Open House Signs Everywhere

On the day of your open house, you need to make sure the property is easy to find. That’s why it’s a good idea to find the busiest intersection closest to the property and put an open house sign there. It should point in the direction of the property .

When it comes to placing signs at intersections, double check that the arrows point the right way. If your signs start sending your visitors in circles, they aren’t going to be very receptive to working with you when they arrive.

In addition to traditional open house signs, think about using signs that mention the hours of the open house, especially for those held during the week as it’s not as intuitive as far as the timing of the open house.

Some other open house tips for signage include having a prominent sign at the property with a balloon to draw the attention of passing cars. This is particularly helpful if other open houses are happening in the neighborhood and they might not have seen your property listing online.

Another place to include open house signage is with nearby businesses. Many coffee shops and cafes have cork boards or public bulletins that allow you to place signage. This can gain neighborhood traffic, but also those traveling to a neighborhood they’re interested in moving to.

Leverage Brand Partnerships to Access a Larger Reach

Many local or national brands have large contact lists and strong brand recognition. Partnering with brands for your open house is a creative open house idea that can draw a lot of attention to your event. The partnership is mutually beneficial because you can draw in attendees to your open house while the brand can increase its customer base.

Brand partnerships can range from beverage partners to a local florist to a mortgage lender. In exchange for goods or services, you will usually be expected to help pitch in with marketing their brand during outreach efforts for your open house. Adding their logo and company information to your flyers and newsletter can help with expanding their brand recognition, but if it’s a strong brand, then use that to your advantage to get more attendees.

Use Digital Marketing Advertisements

With 5 billion social media users, open houses should be marketed online to have a larger and more targeted reach. Social media allows agents to market their open house to their social media followers. Agents can also create social media ads that will be shown to a collected audience.

Social media is one of the most affordable ways to market your listing. The power of social media lets users easily share your post with their network, creating more ad impressions for you. Some platforms like Facebook allow users to add a registration form or “learn more” button which can help you collect prospective buyer leads or direct viewers to your website’s landing pages. Even if they don’t attend your open house, you can convert them later.

Invite the Neighbors

A property’s neighbors may not be the most motivated buyers. However, it’s still an opportunity for real estate agents to develop their business. It’s an opportunity for you to introduce yourself and your services while also showcasing the work that you put into listing a property. That way if they list in the future, they will be inclined to reach out to you. Go around the neighborhood with attractive door hanger invites to invite those closest to the property. Also, allow them to invite any interested friends, family, or colleagues.

Another benefit of inviting the neighbors is to show them what their own property could potentially be valued at. Neighbors are usually curious about what their neighbors’ homes are selling for and what the properties look like.

Collaborate with Other Agents

The real estate industry can be extremely competitive because agents are generally independent contractors working solely on commission. However, that doesn’t mean agents shouldn’t collaborate for mutually beneficial reasons. Although you probably do not want to share your listings with other agents, building relationships with buyer’s agents who have clients who might be interested in the property can be advantageous for both parties.

These collaborations don’t have to exist during the open house hours the general public is invited to. Share a new listing with other agents prior to listing it on the market. This is also known as a broker open house. Agents can view the property without clients, gathering information directly from the hosting agents. This way agents can entice their clients to view a special listing that is not on the market yet. It could even eliminate your open house altogether if you get a buyer before the first open house.

Stage the Property and Add Additional Decor

Empty properties should be staged with furniture and decor to give prospective buyers an idea of how the space might look if they lived there. A staged home sells 30% faster than unstaged properties and has a 20% higher sales price on average. Therefore, not only will the effort upfront mean you can close a deal faster, but your commission income could also increase significantly. Although it may feel like a large investment to stage an entire property, your return on that investment will make it worth the initial expense.

For properties that currently have homeowners living in them, small additions can help prepare the property for an open house. Homeowners may not have accent pillows on their couches or lamps on the side tables that are used on a daily basis. Adding small touches like these could pull a room together and make it present more professionally. Real estate agents could use these add-on to their advantage, like a branded doormat continuing your logo and contact information.

Always Follow Up with Your Open House Visitors

The key to having a successful open house is follow-up. Having a few follow-up email templates pre-drafted before your open house helps you send them out quickly after the event. Following up with your open house attendees acknowledges their presence at the event and opens up the opportunity for conversation. You could ask for their feedback to help you determine the next marketing steps to sell the property, or you could share with them a price change that piques their interest.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hosting an Open House

Though open houses are a trusted strategy for generating leads, they’re not right for every situation. Before you start planning your event, ask yourself the following questions to make sure it’s a good move for you and the property.

Is My Property in the Right Location for an Open House to Make Sense?

Properties in areas with lots of foot traffic are ideal for open houses. This way you can advertise to locals with signs and flyers beforehand and potentially attract a few walk-in guests as well. Curb appeal is also an important factor to consider. No matter how nice a home is on the inside, if the outside looks too rough people aren’t going to want to stop in. Parking is another important point. Street parking can be tough in many central city areas, so try to set aside driveway space if possible. If your property checks these three boxes then an open house is a great idea, but if not, you may want to reconsider.

Will My Client Want to Attend?

If you think the owner of the property will insist on attending an open house, either because they want to make sure it’s successful or because they’re uncomfortable with strangers on the property, it may be best to forgo the open house altogether. Though having the owner at the showing isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, it’s usually better if they’re not present as this puts unneeded pressure on you and the guests. Use your best judgment if you find yourself in this situation.

Did I Advertise on Every Available Channel?

It’s hard to get people to attend an open house, so if you don’t have time to go all out with your advertising, it’s probably best to postpone the event to a few days later. Make sure you’re putting up signage in the area of the open house to attract foot traffic, sending postcards to the surrounding area, emailing your prospect list to let them know about the event, and making use of both regular posts and advertisements and/or social media posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Did I Depersonalize the Home?

Make arrangements ahead of time with your client to give yourself time before the event to go through the home and depersonalize the rooms. This means tidying up and cleaning out any personal items like laundry, cards, stacks of papers, shoes….basically anything that would look out of place in a staged room. You want visitors to be able to imagine themselves living there, which is difficult and awkward to do when you’re touring a space that someone is clearly still occupying. If your client is uncomfortable with your cleaning up, you’ll want to know beforehand. If that is the case you might want to reconsider hosting an open house.

Final Thoughts

Some of the top open house tips can be executed simultaneously to create a larger impact at your open house. These open house ideas should help you quickly receive offers on your property, increase your contact lists, and bring additional business for the future. Although open houses have been around for some time, keeping up with the latest open house ideas and trends can provide you with a lead generation strategy to grow your business over time.

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