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How to Make the Most of an Open House (for Sellers)

You will find a lot of real estate agents these days that are completely against open houses. There are literally thousands of real estate articles about how open houses don't work anymore. But, all that being said, sellers still expect most agents to conduct an open house at some point during the listing. Often times, agents will list on a Thursday or Friday and then have an immediate open house that weekend. While open houses are pretty hit and miss when it comes to selling the home, there are ways that homeowners and sellers, as well as their agents, can maximize the effectiveness of an open house. Here is some advice from the experts on how to get the most out of an open house.

1. Send postcards and prepare people that there will be an open house.

Postcard still can be a great tried and true method of finding real estate leads and informing people in a particular neighborhood. Of course, you're probably not going to draw in buyers from the same neighborhood, but if the house has a great school district or zone, offer something that similar communities in the area don't offer, it might be beneficial to send out postcards to communities and neighborhoods just outside the city emphasizing why this house might be a better fit than the one they have now. - Helen Miltiades, Savannah Real Estate Agent

2. Consider scheduling the open house the day the listing hits the market.

Marketing a "coming soon" listing and marketing an open house for the same day it hits the market has been proven to be extremely beneficial and productive for a lot of open houses. This could also generate buzz and create multiple offers. Scheduling an open house on the day the home lists allows potential buyers to view the home quickly and it may also show a lot of interest in the property generating the action of additional buyers. - Kristen Boen, Minot ND Commercial Realtor®

3. Set the stage.

Buyers want to see themselves in the home so an open house really should show the property perfectly stage. The table should be set, outdoor entertainment areas ready for entertaining, bedrooms soft and fluffy with activities such as a nightstand with a good book and a pair of glasses or an office set with a laptop ready for a quiet day at work. Each room should be set up to appeal to different types of buyers whether it's a stay-at-home mom, work from home individual, family, retirees, or millennial's. - Beth Atalay, Clermont FL Realtor®

4. Be strategic in your scheduling.

Many people may not be able to see the home at 1 o'clock on a Friday afternoon because of work so scheduling different open houses during different days of the week and different times can really maximize how many people can get to the open house. Also, consider the best time of day for the house. Does it offer beautiful sunsets or a nightmare of a commute? Schedule your open houses around the best times rather than the worst times. - Bob Sokoler, Louisville Real Estate Team

5. Bundle neighborhood open houses together.

If your agent knows that there's going to be other open houses in the area, consider writing up a packet for potential buyers that talks about all the homes in the neighboring area. It may or may not get this home sold, but it will stand out as a unique way to appeal to buyers and provide amazing information. - Remax Sedona

6. Use open house sign strategically.

Those open house sandwich boards really are what draw people in so it's important to strategically place them where they are visible and legible from a distance of at least 30 feet while in the car and that there are directional signs within a five block radius to reach a larger buyer audience. - Ellen Bruya, Snohomish Commercial Real Estate Agent

7. Use open house websites.

There are several dozen websites that only promote open houses. You never know where a buyer is going to come from and buyers may simply search "open houses near me" so you'll want to make sure that the house is on all of those lists including Zillow, Realtor, and any of the real estate websites that offer free promotions of open houses. - Bob DeYoung, Colorado Springs Realtor®

8. Provide brochures or flyers for buyers.

Using a handout at the open house is a great way to share detailed information about the property that buyers may not realize right away. Is the house in a good school district? Does the house offer beautiful sunset views? Are there benefits to living here during different times of the year such as the homeowner association shoveling snow or plowing the roads? Whatever unique features you can offer about the home put it into a brochure so that buyers can not only browse the home but see all the features they may not know about right away. - Preston Russ, Gulf Coast Properties

9. Consider a video during the open house.

Consider playing a virtual tour of either the neighborhood and/or the home and different features of the home on a large screen TV in the homes living room or wherever it is. Buyers can linger a little longer and find out more about the house and it provides a great marketing strategy while you have buyers on-site. - Steffy Hristova, Tempe AZ Realtor®

10. Never underestimate an agent-only open house.

Conducting an open house just for buyers agents is a great way to not only build your network but talk to agents who probably have dozens of buyers that could benefit from the home. - Barry Vincent, South Nashville Real Estate Team

Open houses are definitely not dead but they do need to be scheduled and set up in a more creative way. Using a few of these tips and tricks or all of them will help maximize your open house.

Tammy Emineth

Tammy Emineth is a writer, blogger, and real estate marketing expert for over 15 years. As a former real estate agent, Tammy possesses the knowledge and expertise to produce content and relevant information about the real estate market and how to market real estate websites and brokerages.

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