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Making Money with Effective Open Houses

Openhousesign150 Open Houses...You either love 'em or you hate 'em.  And based on your attitude about them and as a real estate agent - they either work for you or they don't. 

In my experience, open houses are the single, easiest, most cost effective way to make money and generate leads in the real estate business.

Let's consider the benefits:

  • Marketing exposure for your sellers and your active, saleable listing inventory.  There have been offers written and accepted on the actual property an agent is holding open!
  • Opportunity to meet and work with buyers and sellers and make additional sales.
  • The real investment is your time!  Open houses can be the most cost effective prospecting activity if done properly.
  • Worst case scenario - if no one shows up - you can catch up on admin tasks, follow-up calls, mailers and other "busy" work at the open house.  Preparation and planning is required! 

Attitude is Everything!
o Know that the open house is going to be productive
o Plan, Prepare and Know the Property and the Market
o Ask, Believe, Receive!

Selecting the property
o Location (choose a listing that has great traffic; cross streets)
o Condition, price, terms (How does the property show? Is it priced to sell?)
o Your own listings – leverage success through

  • Invest in Personalized Yard and Open House Signs
  • Hold open houses on listings in your farm areas

o Research office/company listings and coordinate with the listing agent to hold them open
o Vacant vs. Occupied properties
o Open houses work any day of the week!!

Supplies (Open House Kit)
o 1-2 tripod easels and cork or Custom Open House Info Tri-Fold Board for the surrounding properties by category to display

  •  Minimum of 6 to 12 Open House signs with your name & number or website
  • Business cards
  • Relocation books, buyer handbooks, personal marketing materials
  • Client Information sheet or sign-in registers
  • iPad users..Get the Open Home PRo App!
  • Cooler of bottled waters
  • Virtual Tour of property on personalized diskettes 
  • Purchase Contract Folder 
  • Table & chairs (if vacant)

Preparation and Promotion

  • Preview the Listing – brief seller on any needed staging, de-cluttering
  • Preview the surrounding available properties (you must know the inventory)
  • Call your local title rep for the phone list of the subdivision and make calls to invite to your Open House
  • Call or email and invite other prospects and your Sphere of Influence

Coordinate any Advertising

  • Take advantage of any company print and internet advertising venues
  • Mail invitations to neighborhood
  • Post a listing on Craigslist
  • Post to Zillow, Trulia,, and FrontDoor (
  • Post to your local MLS/association's public website
  • Promote the open house onYour Personal Website
  • Canvas/Door knock the surrounding neighborhood – invitation – door hangars and ask them the Magic Question, “Who do you know that you would like to have as a neighbor?”
  • Put up an Open Sat-Sunday ( & times) sign week prior or Flyers in the sign box to promote upcoming open house
  • Prepare a CMA on the property and neighborhood update
  • Create an Info packet for visitors (Modified Property Profile, plat map, school info, nearby businesses, property feature sheet, other pertinent info)
  • Search MLS and printout other categories or properties on the market for the area of your open house.  Post these printouts with photos on your boards with easels - excellent conversation starters:
    Homes in various price ranges
    Homes with or without pools
    Homes with larger lots
    Single Story - 2 Story homes

Conducting the Open House

  • Sign placement  is key  (8-12 signs is optimal)
  • Hire someone to place and pick up signs if you don't enjoy this task!
  •  Consider a partner to work the open house with you.  This is an excellent idea for safety reasons and to control traffice through the open house.
  • Staging the property
  • Tidy up the house, inside and out
  • Prepare refreshments (with owner’s approval)
  • Set up Open House kit
  • Put on soft music
  • Place guest book or client information forms
  • Turn lights on; open drapes
  • Bring your busy work, follow-up calls, admin tasks. Make the best use of your time while you are open and ready for potential clients.

Post Open House

  • Return the house to its original condition; secure doors/windows
  • Collect your signs 
  • Brief the sellers, if they return prior to you leaving, and the listing agent on activity
  • Write personal notes to all visitors
  • Make follow-up calls as necessary
  • Add any new prospects to your database

Always be ready to hold vacant open houses.



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