Open House Ideas for the Modern Agent

When to Hold an Open House

One of the aspects of a modern open house that differentiates it from the old-school type is that agents don’t feel locked into a particular day, or even time of day. While the after-work open house may not fly in a commuter-centric region, in other areas, agents are having amazing results with them. Downtown condos and lofts being held open during lunch hour are also becoming more common. Any home with a view will sell itself, if it’s held open during the appropriate time of day. Why hold an open house at a downtown penthouse on a Sunday afternoon when the city lights are best viewed in the evening? It’s easy to mention in your listing remarks or on a flyer that the patio of a lakefront property you’ve listed faces west. Holding the open house at sunset, however, drives the fact home far better.

Market the Heck Out of Your Open Houses

Gone are the days when agents bought a display ad in the local paper to advertise an open house. (Good riddance, right?) Today, it’s all about leveraging the power of social media and online advertising on Craigslist, Trulia and Zillow.  Don’t scrimp on the adjectives when you write descriptions for your open houses. You want people to feel that if they miss out on this open house, they’ll regret it forever. Use adjectives like “exquisite,” “ravishing,” “refined,” “incredible,” “elegant,” “amazing” and others like them.

Use Open House Sign-In Sheets

Many agents tell us that one of the most awkward parts of an open house is getting visitors to put their names on the sign-in sheet. An old trick is to keep it by the door and tell visitors that, for security purposes, the owner has requested that they sign in before touring the home. A quick, easy and techie way to sign folks up is to use the Open Home Pro app for iPad or Android. Anecdotal evidence from agents that use it suggests that open house visitors more readily sign in on an iPad than via the old school pen-and-paper-on-a-clipboard open house sign-in sheet.

Open House Food Ideas

Open house food ideas: cookies, pastries, veggies, crackers, and other finger foodsFrom a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies to a full-on burger bar featuring a platter of sliders and all the condiments a homebuyer can stomach, food is becoming a mainstay for the real estate open house. Popular open house foods include cookies, pastries, finger sandwiches and vegetables (think carrot sticks and celery).

Whether or not you serve food depends on regional customs and your tolerance level for possible litigation. A lot of agents shy away from the practice – why take a chance that a kid will choke on your chocolate chip cookies? Since courts have held brokers jointly responsible with homeowners for injuries on the property, these agents have a point.

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