The Benefits of Real Estate Open House Marketing
First, if you’re a new agent or if you need to create quick momentum in your flywheel, there’s no better way to do it than holding open houses. This is because people who attend open houses are already actively looking for homes. This means that leads can become clients immediately after you meet them! In fact, I got my first real estate transaction within 18 days of starting my business – all because of an open house!
Second, since everyone has access to the MLS now, most people who attend open houses have discovered them independently. And that’s a good thing! If they found the property on their own, this means that they’re not just looking for a home; they’re also looking for an agent!
Furthermore, everyone now enters the market as a buyer online, so many of the people who attend open houses also have a home to sell. This means that open houses aren’t just for buyers anymore; they’re for sellers too! As an agent on a team, I secured one buyer at a real estate open house and because that buyer was also a seller, it turned into 4 additional transactions for our team!
Step 1: Choose The Time
You can hold a real estate open house anytime you’d like, but weekends are ideal because that’s when most people are out looking for homes. I held open houses for 2-3 hours each when I was a working agent. Shorter time windows allow you to do 4 open houses each weekend: one in the late morning and another in the afternoon. Yes, this is a big, scary goal. But if you’re holding over 200 open houses a year, you’ll create exponential momentum in your business for years to come.
Step 2: Find (Or Borrow) An Open House
Whenever I say this to members, the first question I always get is: “What if I don’t have any listings?” And my answer is always, “Borrow one.” Start asking other agents in your office if you can hold a real estate open house on their behalf.
Start prospecting for open houses on Monday and give yourself a deadline to secure 1-4 open houses by Wednesday. To do this, open your MLS, and look for all of the homes for sale in your area. Then filter the list to show only the vacant homes and start emailing all the agents on the list to ask for permission. (I always recommend starting with vacant homes first because you know the house will be show-ready, and since the homeowner has already moved out, they’ll be more inclined to agree.)
On Tuesday, if you haven’t scheduled 1-4 open houses, you can start emailing the agents that have furnished homes next. Keep prospecting for a few hours a day until you hit your goal. Any home you choose is fine; just make sure that it shows well online, otherwise, no one will want to attend in person. I made that mistake several times along the way. But if the photography is decent, you’ll drive lots of foot traffic from sites like Zillow and Redfin.
Step 3: Promote The Open House
An open house real estate flyer is a great start, but if you want to create even more buzz, run a digital ad to promote your real estate open house as well.
When I was on a team, I ran an ad on behalf of my team leader for a great home that was slightly underpriced and showed beautifully on camera. People came out in droves (even though it was pouring down rain). The real estate open house was a huge success, with over 100 people attending, which created a buyer frenzy that turned into a bidding war. One buyer even came with a pre-written contract in hand! Three more buyers submitted offers immediately after the real estate open house ended.
My team leader sold the house in just 4 days – $25k over the asking price. And my team and I got tons of warm leads in the process. As a bonus, because I never gave the exact location of the open house, attendees had to contact my team leader to attend – and we captured all those leads as well.
Step 4: Research The Neighborhood
Once, I held a house open for a listing agent and blew it big time. I was deep in the middle of a conversation with a buyer lead when they asked me about Mello-Roose taxes. Since I wasn’t the listing agent, I had no idea if these special taxes applied. And when I told them I didn’t know, they asked to work with the listing agent instead – which cost me a massive commission.
From that day on, I decided that I would never conduct another real estate open house without doing my homework first. Be sure to research the neighborhood, the home, the comps, and the amenities. This research will prepare you for any question that happens to come your way.
Plus, if a visitor says that they don’t like the home you’re holding open, you can always recommend a comparable home, which will allow you to schedule a showing and get the lead!
Step 5: Collect Leads At The Open House
Collecting leads at a real estate open house is easy. When people arrive at the door, simply welcome them and introduce yourself. Then, tell them about one special feature of the home and let them tour it on their own. Before they leave, ask them to tell you what they thought about that special feature you mentioned. Doing so opens the conversation and allows you to speak to them easily before they go. Once you’ve opened a dialogue, you can start to dig deeper.
Step 6: Follow Up With Every Lead
When the real estate open house ends, follow up with every single lead. Follow-up is one of the most essential parts of your real estate open house marketing plan. Reach out to every person you made a connection with, and operate in integrity by doing everything you promised.
When my husband and I purchased our current home, we attended more open houses than we could count. It was surprising how many people never even looked up to introduce themselves or start a conversation with us. Many of them didn’t even know what to say to start the conversation. And I can’t even tell you how many times we walked out the door without anyone even acknowledging our presence.
The sad thing is that my license was in referral status at the time, so we were actually looking to delegate our entire transaction to another agent. I was busy running Community Influencer®, so I needed a great agent to handle the purchase of our new home and the sale of our current home. But because none of the agents we encountered knew how to work a real estate open house properly, we didn’t choose any of them. Instead, I chose a long-time student in my academy who took care of the whole process for us seamlessly. She managed both transactions perfectly – and earned just under $100,000 in commissions as a result. Moral of the story: Always start the conversation and continue to follow up.
Step 7: Rinse And Repeat
Just like every other form of marketing, consistency is key. If you’re doing 2 real estate open houses a week for 50 weeks out of the year, you’ll never have to worry about money again! But most agents stop before they even hit their stride. Instead, commit to real estate open house marketing and stick with it. I promise it will pay off in the end!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Use Real Estate Open House Signs?
Remember, everyone now has access to the MLS, so most people find open houses on their own. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for real estate open house signs. Instead of using your signs to direct traffic, use them to promote your business!
Every open house is an incredible opportunity to market your business for free. You can use your signage as a free billboard every weekend. The more people see your signs in the community, the more real estate leads, sales, and referrals you’ll get!
Should You Use A Real Estate Open House Sign In Sheet?
There are plenty of free real estate open house sign in sheets that you can download online, but I don’t recommend using any of them – unless you want fake names and numbers. I also found this out the hard way after noticing that both Donald Duck and Fred Flintstone were beginning to make regular appearances at my open houses.
What If No One Shows Up?
Never be discouraged if your real estate open house attendance is low. I know it’s a lot of work to curate, conduct, and complete an open house, but it’s completely normal to have good days and bad days. If you happen to choose the wrong home or the wrong date and your open house is a bust, keep doing them consistently anyway because there are many other benefits.
The first benefit is that open houses are a great excuse to display your signs in the neighborhood. Whenever residents see them, it creates consistent exposure for your brand over time.
Second, serious buyers are always on the hunt, even if attendance is low. You’ll start seeing the same buyers, every single week, at every open house. This repeated exposure allows you to build solid relationships over time. Even clammy buyers would open up after seeing me time and time again. “Hey Aarin, I saw you had an open house today, so I wanted to stop by.” Yes, it happens. But consistency is key.
Third, open houses are a great excuse to run local ads online, which is another opportunity to market your brand consistently. I can’t tell you how many people would walk into my open houses and say, “I’ve seen you everywhere online!” Just imagine how easy it is to start a conversation with a lead you’ve never met, but already knows who you are.
That’s the power of being virtual in reality. After seeing your brand both online and in person every weekend, homeowners will wander in to start asking you about selling. And buyers will come in to ask you about buying.
Over time, buyers and sellers will move seamlessly through your flywheel, from Community Members to Clients. So even if one open house is a bust, you still marketed your brand that weekend, and that’s a huge win!
You’ll miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take, so it’s better to put yourself out there and miss than to miss an opportunity completely.
Never Give Up…
Once, I booked an open house, and no one showed up. At the end, I was totally discouraged as I started packing up all my things. But just as I was about to lock up and head home, a woman barged in. Startled, I quickly told the woman about the home and one of its notable features. She proceeded to tour the house quickly, marching from room to room. Then she came downstairs and told me that she loved the feature I mentioned but hated the home as a whole. I asked her why, she explained, and a great conversation ensued – but I never heard from her again, despite following up regularly.
Then, one day, out of the blue, she invited me to tour a model home in a new-build community. I was surprised but grabbed my keys and raced out the door to meet her. We toured the property together, and I provided my expertise every step of the way, as she marched from room to room once again. She never said more than a few words, but she wanted my help, and I was happy to oblige.
At the end of the tour, she decided to buy the home, and a few months later, I got paid. It was the easiest $12,000 I’ve ever made. Always work your open houses and never give up.