The Ultimate Guide to Hosting an Open House


|14 min read

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Whether you’re selling your home by yourself, or with an agent, at some point, you’ll likely hold an open house. Open houses are a great way to show off your home and generate interest from potential buyers. But when is the best time to host an open house, and are open houses effective?

The answer may depend on several factors, including the type of home you have, the current market conditions, and your personal schedule. In this article, we’ll examine the things to keep in mind as you plan your open house.

What is an Open House?

An open house is an event where anyone interested in buying a home can come and take a tour. It offers a great opportunity to attract buyers to your home and give them a low-pressure viewing of your home. Open houses are typically held on weekends when more people are free to attend.

Some people choose to sell their homes without holding an open house, but if you’re working with a real estate agent, they will likely recommend that you do. That’s because open houses are a great way to generate interest and get people talking about your home.

Instead of just seeing pictures, videos, or 3D walkthroughs, potential buyers can come and see your home in person. They can get a feel for the layout, the size of the rooms, and the overall atmosphere.

Choosing the Best Day for an Open House

The best day to hold an open house is typically a Saturday or Sunday. That’s because most people are off work and have the time to come and tour your home.

If you’re selling your home during the summer, you may also want to consider holding an open house on a holiday weekend like Memorial Day or Labor Day. People tend to have more free time on these weekends and may be interested in touring homes.

The Time of Day Matters

Timing is everything. And, there’s a good reason for that. The best time to hold an open house is typically in the mid-morning to early afternoon between 11 am to 3 pm or in the early evening between 5 pm and 7 pm. That way, home buyers can come after they finish up their errands or take care of their kids.

You may also want to consider holding an open house on a weekday evening. While fewer people may be able to attend, those who do come will likely be serious about buying a home.

If you’re selling your home during the winter, you’ll want to start your open house earlier in the day. That way, people won’t have to brave the cold or the dark to tour your home.

Choosing the Right Season

The real estate market behaves in a mostly predictable cycle. In general, the spring and summer months are the best time to sell your home. That’s because more people are looking to buy during these months.

If you’re selling your home in the spring, you’ll want to hold your open house in May or June. And, if you’re selling your home in the summer, you’ll want to hold your open house in July or August.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you’re selling a home in a hot market, you may want to hold your open house earlier than usual. That way, you can take advantage of the high demand.

On the other hand, if you’re selling a home in a slow market, you may want to wait until the demand picks up. Holding your open house at the wrong time can result in few people attending or no one making an offer on your home.

>>MORE: Promoting Your Open House-10 Tips for Success

How to Advertise Your Open House

Before you start, you need to know how to promote an open house. The best way to advertise your open house is by working with a real estate agent. They will likely put up flyers, post videos and images on social media, and list your open house in the local paper and online.

You can also advertise your open house yourself. Just be sure to put up signs around the neighborhood and list your open house online. The more people you can reach, the better.

When deciding the best times to post on social media or run ad campaigns, consider when your target audience is most active. For example, if you’re selling a family home, you’ll want to advertise early in the week when parents are making their weekend plans.

If you’re selling a starter home or an investment property, you may want to advertise later in the week, such as Thursday or Friday, when people are looking for something to do on the weekend.

The key is to experiment and see what works best for your home and your market.

Do Serious Buyers Come to Open Houses?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. In fact, many buyers will only consider homes that they can tour during an open house.

That’s because an open house gives them the chance to see the home in person and get a feel for the layout and atmosphere. It also allows potential buyers can see the validity of the home’s description and that there are no exaggerated claims about the house. Additionally, buyers can meet the seller and ask any questions they may have.

For serious buyers, an open house is a necessary step in the home-buying process.

Of course, there are always a few tire-kickers who come to open houses just for fun. But, as long as you’ve advertised your open house well, you should have no problem attracting serious buyers.

Other Considerations

While many of the suggestions above deal with your sphere of influence, you also need to take a few other things into account when deciding when to hold an open house. For example, you don’t want to hold an open house when there is a major event happening in your city.

For example, if you’re selling a home in Boston, you wouldn’t want to hold your open house during the Boston Marathon. That’s because most people would be out of town or too busy watching the race to come to tour your home.

You also need to consider holidays and religious observances. For example, you wouldn’t want to hold an open house on Christmas Eve or Yom Kippur.

Next, consider if there is major construction in the area that is affecting traffic patterns. If getting to your home is a nightmare, people will be less likely to attend your open house.

Also, don’t forget to take the weather into account. If it’s pouring rain or snowing on the day of your open house, you may want to consider rescheduling.

Finally, you need to make sure that your home is ready for an open house. That means decluttering, deep cleaning, and making any necessary repairs. If your home isn’t in tip-top shape, potential buyers will be turned off.

>>MORE: 13 Tips to Wow Buyers

Preparing Your Home for an Open House

Once you’ve chosen a day and time for your open house, it’s time to start preparing your home and the open house setup. Here are a few tips to help you get started with your open house planning:

1. Clean, clean, clean – The first thing you’ll want to do is give your entire home a good cleaning. This means dusting, sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming every nook and cranny.

2. Declutter – The next step is to declutter your home. That means getting rid of any unnecessary furniture, knick-knacks, and personal items. You want potential buyers to be able to imagine their own belongings in your home, and that’s impossible if your stuff is everywhere.

3. Make repairs – Take a walk around your home and make a list of any repairs that need to be made, no matter how small. Or, get a home inspection in anticipation of your open house. Then, make sure all of the repairs on the list are completed before the big day.

4. Stage your home – Once your home is clean and decluttered, it’s time to stage it. This means arranging your furniture in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. You may also want to consider renting additional furniture to help stage your home.

5. Spruce up your curb appeal – First impressions are everything, so you’ll want to make sure your home looks its best from the street, which is called curb appeal. This means mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, and planting some flowers. You may also want to pressure wash your siding and walkways. And, if you have any broken windows or chipped paint, now is the time to fix those.

6. Create a sign-in sheet – On the day of your open house, you’ll want to have a sign-in sheet for visitors to fill out. This will give you the chance to collect contact information for potential buyers.

7. Secure valuables and personal effects – You’ll also want to make sure that all of your valuables and personal effects are locked up before the open house. This includes things like jewelry, important documents, and prescription medications.

8. Remove personalized decor – If you have wall decorations with your children’s names, for example, you’ll want to remove those before the open house. You want prospective buyers to be able to see themselves in your home, and that’s difficult if your home is too personal.

9. Put out fresh towels – Finally, you’ll want to put out some fresh towels in the bathrooms for visitors to use. This is just a nice gesture that will make your visitors feel more comfortable.

10. Get a pet sitter – If you have pets, you’ll want to make arrangements for them to be out of the house during the open house. The last thing you want is for your dog to start barking and biting people!

Improving the Ambiance of Your Open House

Now that you’ve prepped your home, scheduled the ads, and invited your sphere of influence, it’s time to focus on the actual open house. Here are a few tips to make sure your open house goes off without a hitch:

1. Let there be light – One of the best things you can do to improve the ambiance of your home is to let in as much natural light as possible. Open all of the curtains and blinds, and turn on every light in your home.

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2. Play some music – You should also consider playing some soft background music during your open house. This will help to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

3. Put out snacks – Another great way to make your open house more inviting is to put out some snacks and drinks. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – simple things like water, soda, coffee, and cookies will do the trick.

4. Avoid strong scents – Whether it be food or air fresheners, you’ll want to avoid anything with a strong scent. You don’t want potential buyers to be overwhelmed by the smell of your home. Instead, choose a scent that will invoke positive memories, such as chocolate or baked goods.

5. Light a fire – If you have a fireplace, and it’s a little brisk outside, light it! This will make your home feel cozy and inviting.

6. Make yourself scarce – Once your open house starts, you’ll want to make yourself scarce. That means staying out of the way so potential buyers can tour your home without feeling like they’re being followed.

7. Be available for questions – Of course, you should still be available to answer any questions potential buyers may have. But, try to avoid getting into a lengthy conversation with anyone. You don’t want potential buyers to feel like they’re being pressured into making an offer.

>>MORE: Tips for a Fast Sale

Common Home Showing Mistakes

Open houses sell homes. But sometimes, even with a well-planned home showing, things can still go wrong. Here are a few of the most common mistakes sellers make during a home showing and how to avoid them:

1. Not being present – One of the worst things you can do is not be present for your own home showing. If you’re not there, potential buyers won’t have anyone to answer their questions.

2. Being too present – On the other hand, you don’t want to be too present during your home showing. Remember, you want potential buyers to feel like they can tour your home without feeling pressured.

3. Not being prepared – Another mistake sellers make is not being prepared for their home showing. This includes things like not having the lights turned on, not having fresh towels out, and not having snacks and drinks available.

4. Being too friendly – It’s great to be friendly during a home showing, but you don’t want to be too friendly. Remember, potential home buyers are there to see your home, not to make friends with you.

5. Letting your pets roam free – If you have pets, you’ll want to make sure they’re not roaming free during your home showing. The last thing you want is for your dog to start barking and biting people!

6. Not being flexible – You should try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to scheduling home showings. The more flexible you are, the more likely it is that potential buyers will be able to see your home. Flexibility helps sell homes in the real estate business.

7. Being too flexible – On the other hand, you don’t want to be too flexible when it comes to scheduling home showings. If you’re constantly accommodating potential buyers, they may start to take advantage of you.

8. Dousing your home with aromas – As we mentioned before, you’ll want to avoid using any strong scents in your home during a showing. This includes things like candles, air fresheners, and perfumes.

9. Not having enough light – Another common mistake sellers make is not having enough light in their homes during a showing. Remember, you want potential buyers to be able to see your home, so make sure all the lights are turned on!

10. Not having a backup plan – Finally, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan for your home showing. This way, if something goes wrong, you won’t be left scrambling to try and fix it.

>>Got Questions? Ask a Licensed Real Estate Agent for Advice

Open House Safety Tips

Now, we get into the nitty-gritty of open houses – safety. It’s important to remember that you’re inviting strangers into your home, so you’ll want to take some precautions to make sure everyone stays safe. Here are a few tips to help you keep your open house safe:

1. Have someone else present – One of the best ways to stay safe during an open house is to have someone else present. This could be a friend, family member, or even a professional security guard. Additionally, if you are on good terms with neighbors, ask one of them to keep an eye on the property during the showing.

2. Keep valuables out of sight – Another safety tip is to keep all your valuables out of sight. This includes things like jewelry, electronics, and cash.

3. Lock up all medications – If you have any medications in your home, be sure to lock them up before your open house. You don’t want potential buyers stumbling upon them and getting into them!

4. Keep an eye on your belongings – Throughout the duration of your open house, keep an eye on your belongings. This includes things like your purse, wallet, and keys.

5. Keep an eye on the people coming and going – It’s easy to lose track of who is inside the home and who has left. So, make sure you keep an eye on the people coming and going. This will help you stay safe and avoid any potential problems.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask who they’re working with – Asking this and watching their reaction can be a great indicator of whether or not they are working with an agent. If they seem hesitant to answer, they may just be lookie-looers or scoping the place.

7. Make sure everyone signs in – Make sure everyone who comes into your home during the open house signs in. This will give you a record of who was there in case anything goes missing.

8. Trust your gut – Finally, always trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. In these situations, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

>>MORE: Steps Realtors Take to Sell Your Home

The Bottom Line

A successful home showing is essential if you want to sell your home. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your home showing goes off without a hitch! And, if you’re looking for more help with selling your home, be sure to check out our other blog posts. We have tons of great information to help you through the process!

Find an Experienced Agent Who Can Help

With FastExpert, you can find the best real estate agent to help you through the home selling process. We’ll match you with an agent in your area who has the experience and expertise you need to sell your home quickly and for the best price possible. So, what are you waiting for?

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Steph Matarazzo FastExpert Inc

Steph is the Marketing Director at FastExpert and has been working in the real estate data and research world for over three years. She is passionate about educating people on the real estate market and Excel spreadsheets. She lives on the East Coast with her family and recently purchased her own home.

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