32 Open House Ideas That Will Actually Get You Leads

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller, Licensed AgentDecember 1, 2022

Open,House,Sign,In,Front,YardOver time, more agents have started turning their nose up at the idea of using open houses as a way to appeal to new clients. However, many successful agents have adapted to the changing industry, and are breathing new life into the open house concept. We have gathered information from coast to coast to see what works, and came up with these 32 ways to help spice up your open houses with creative ideas that will have the referrals pouring in. Some of these ideas may be just what you need to make your next open house a success. 


1. Live Stream Your Open House

Give people the feeling of being at your open house without them actually being there. The best time to jump on a live stream is while the house is already filled with people. This will help create further interest and bring more people in. Think of it as MTV cribs, but for selling a house as Gary Vaynerchuk, an online marketing guru, told us. You want to show off the best features of the home, so you can walk around with your phone or tablet to show the flow of the house. Too many agents just focus on one room, and don’t show off the property. The best live streams are at least 10 minutes long, so you have plenty of time to walk around the yard, and show off the amenities. You want as many as possible to feel like they can envision themselves in the home. With this method, potential clients can view your house remotely from the comfort of their homes.

They will not only be just looking at that house but listening to you as an agent, so make sure you take advantage of this and act like you are talking to them directly. That particular house might not be what they are looking for, but if you play it right they will call you when they are ready to buy or sell. This is an opportunity to reach a number of people at once, so make sure you appeal to a wide variety. Once you are done with your video, you can post it on your Facebook or even Instagram to boost the traffic. Never underestimate the power of a social media strategy in the real estate industry.


2. Use Your Open House Marketing to Build Your Personal Brand

As a real estate agent, you will have to learn that marketing for your open house is also a reflection of your personal brand, and as such, you have to take that marketing very seriously. And of course, people respect your work more when they trust and resonate with your brand. 

You can market in-house or with the help of a marketing firm. However, if you want to do it yourself, there are many real estate marketing tools you can use to create flyer templates, banners, and real estate ads. Furthermore, it would be excellent to have a personal hand in marketing your brand because you better understand your values and objectives. No one knows you better than you, so who better to help tell your story? 


3. Rearrange the Home Virtually and Send it to Your Open House Visitors

Virtual,Open,House,Showing,Or,Online,TourThis is a beneficial idea given to us by a top notch Manhattan real estate agent. Most people have different perceptions of what their dream home should look like. So, it is vital to use this to your advantage by helping to fuel their imagination. Help them visualize what they can do with the home, the different uses for each room, yard, kitchen, etc. With varying tools like Rooomy, Ikea Place, and others, you can virtually stage the houses you want to sell with different styles and décor. For example, certain buyers may be looking for a nursery, while others would use that space for a home office or a guest room. The possibilities are endless – so show off how versatile a home can be and you’ll appeal to more buyers. 

After doing this, you can email all the varying spaces directly to your prospective buyers. This way, they can quickly skim through the options before contacting you.


4. Drop the Alcohol 

The promise of alcohol can serve as a way to draw people in because the idea of free drinks is a great motivator. However, we generally advise agents to drop that alcoholic drink if they can. If the guest list is exclusive, it’s fine to have some alcoholic options, but if it’s a true open house just skip it.  

One of the reasons is that it can lead to dead weight at your open house. Some people may only come for the free booze, and aren’t actually looking to buy. This can create a rowdy atmosphere that may discourage true buyers. Another reason is that some places have social host liability laws. Laws like this impose civil and criminal penalties to the owners of properties, and any person who has any social control over a place. In this scenario, if an injury were to happen to anyone at the open house you may be held liable, and things could get messy.

Also, you can have clients who have an aversion to alcohol and may find the presence of it offensive. So it’s often best to keep alcohol out of your event all together. 


5. Following Up is Everything 

Do not overlook the simple power of following up with people after an open house. The problem is finding the right people to follow up with so you don’t waste your time. Doing this is tricky, so some people use specific analytical predictive apps to figure out who is worth following up with, like SmartZip, kvCORE, BoomTown, etc. These apps use billions of data points to give real estate agents leads.

At the same time, even with the countless apps, we should not forget about the human element. Keep your eyes peeled during an open house, take notice of those interested in the place. This requires mingling with each of your guests and not leaving anyone with lingering questions. Chat people up, ask what they’re looking for in a home, and most importantly – give them your business card. Assure them that you can take care of all of their buying and selling needs. 


6. Focus on the Features That Makes Your Listing Stand Out

There is always something on the market, so it is best to make your listing stand out by focusing on the essential features of the house. Try talking about unique things like a huge yard, the proximity to parks and social amenities, the brand new home security system. Lean the things that make the property stand out, and do not be afraid to sell it!

You should also add a brief history work up of the house – was it built in the 18th century? Does it have the original hardwood floors? What type of character does it have? These features sell homes. It shows that it’s not just another cookie cutter home. Be creative in the ways you explain this to make it an interesting read.


7. Use the Neighbors to Your Advantage 

Real,Estate:,Agent,Shows,Home,To,Home,BuyersBefore you do an open house, it’s always beneficial to let the neighbors know. Often times people would rather live next to someone they know and, because of that, they are more prone to give you a direct referral. This direct referral is worth a lot because it connects you to potential buyers. To do this, you can simply walk up to the neighbors house and invite them to the open house. We suggest doing this to the 10 nearest houses on both sides of the street. 

Another beneficial thing is that having neighbors stop by gives the potential buyers a sense of community. Everyone wants to feel like they are a part of something, so use this to your advantage. The more neighbors that show up, the better. This will also put you top of mind when they decide they want to buy or sell. Over time, you’ll also start to feel like the neighborhood real estate agent which can bring in a lot of leads. 


8. Work with Other Agents

You can also ask to hold other real agents’ open houses when looking to boost your brand. This is also great when you are looking to break into a new neighborhood or zip code. For example, if an agent from your office is out of town and needs someone to hold down the fort, you can volunteer your services. You can hold the open house for them, then you can negotiate a percentage of a referral fee for any new clients you get out of it.

This is a great way to build trust in a community and develop your brand.


9. Turn it Into a Garage Sale

The sellers need to declutter anyways, so why not kill two birds with one stone? You can work with the seller to make homemade signs or posters to put around the neighborhood to let people know about the garage sale. That will increase foot traffic, and then you can bring them in to show them the house. Even if they aren’t interested in buying, they will likely have a direct referral for you or know someone who is.


10. Use Facebook and Instagram Stories to Promote Your Open House

Bangkok,,Thailand,-,March,17,,2018,:,Facebook,User,TouchOne of our ideas was to use a live stream to showcase your open house, but you can also use the stories function to promote the live stream beforehand. This method is very hands-on because people can quickly reply and send you a DM to inquire more about it. They can reach out to find where the open house is, and tag their friends and family on social media who might be looking in the area. 

Also, for people who are very active on social media, this is a way to always have your content in people’s faces. To make these stories more engaging, always remember to sprinkle in some personal details. The more people know about you and your life, the more they feel like they know you and want to work with you. Incorporate those touches into your content frequently. You could hire a social media manager to help you with this or do it yourself.


11. Get the Follow- Up Timing Right

While following up consistently is a vital part of creating a client base, there is a very short window of time before following up becomes ineffective. After the open house, load all of the contacts from your open house sign-in sheet to your CRM, and do not wait too long before you reach out to the interested buyers you met. You should follow up within 24 hours. 

There are specific CRMs that can help you communicate with ease, like Pipedrive, Follow Up Boss, or Zoho. These tools are proactive and help you schedule calls and emails, organize them and synchronize them across several devices. This takes away the burden of having to remember to do these follow-ups yourself.


12. Have Contests, Giveaways, and Raffles

Reaching,Into,A,Bowl,Of,Raffle,Tickets,To,Find,ADo whatever you can to increase brand awareness and get your customers involved in your business. You could do giveaways and raffles at your open house to keep people engaged. Prizes offered can include things like gift cards, coupons, gadgets etc. You can also have raffles for discounts to local providers or services. Team up with a painting company, or a furniture company to offer discounts. This gives them an opportunity to boast about your services at their workplace as well. Plus, buyers will see an immediate value if they are truly looking to move. This action helps build rapport with potential clients, and you can also run this periodically on your social media account. Start mentioning the upcoming event a few days in advance and let them know what they could win by showing up to your open house. 

Kenneth Er, a Senior Sales Associate talks about how this is one of his tips to sell houses and bring in new clients. He said you should consider hosting two open houses – one for the public and one for the neighbors. This ensures you cater to the different audiences equally.


13. Have a Photographer Take Pictures of Your Open House

Most agents take pictures for the listing, and then call it good. But, it is good to have photographers snap a few shots of the open house to show everyone in action. A good photo goes a long way in showing and telling everyone what you and your business are all about. Plus, it’s great to have when you are presenting your next listing.

Remember to get permission from your sellers before posting the pictures online, and as a way to build rapport, send them some of the images of the successful open house. It’s a good opportunity to showcase your hard work and prove that you are doing everything you can to sell their home.  


14. Give Your Prospective Buyers all the Info 

Family,Buying,New,HouseWhile treating your guests to foods and drinks is great, don’t let that be the focus. Use your time to give them vital information about the house and the neighborhood. You can also answer some of the most basic questions ahead of time with a prepared FAQ sheet. List the square footage, number of rooms and bathrooms, updates to the home, and the unique features it has. You can also help newcomers to the area learn more with a list of fun facts or nearby amenities.

You can also walk around the home with them and let them know what each room can be used for. Sometimes buyers have a hard time visualizing a space outside of the staging. If they make comments about cosmetic things like paint or hardware choices, you can also remind them of how cheap and easy those things are to change. Make sure that when they walk out of the house, they are leaving with more information than they came in with.


15. Provide an Automatic Shoe Cover Dispenser 

Many people feel more comfortable requiring shoe covers during open houses to keep the floors nice and clean so that it shows well all day long. When inviting people to an open house, it is always good to consider everyone, including older and disabled people. Bringing an automatic shoe dispenser to your open house just simplifies the process. All people have to do is step on the device, and it puts the bootie on for them, and they can continue with the tour.

Many top brokers recommend this for all open houses to show how considerate you are. Even if they do not use it, it shows that you care about the homes that you show. 


16. Do Not Underestimate the Power of a Framed Sign

We’re not talking about the sign outside that has your info on it, but that’s important too. When your guests enter the house, make a good impression with a framed sign that says something like, ‘Welcome! Look around, ask questions, look at the brochure, imagine yourself living here, and send us an offer’. 

Get creative with it. You can make it colorful so that it stands it, but just make sure to include your name, headshot, and contact info.


17. Hand out Small Gifts as Souvenirs 

A lot of real estate agents give out small party favors to their open house guests as a way to stay top of mind after they leave. Things like pens, cups, koozies, potholders, or dish towels are not only useful items, but they will also be picked up often. It is crucial to make the open house experience a memorable one, so they think of you and your brand whenever they use the gift. 

Be sure to have your name and phone number in an easy to read place so that they can get in touch with you without having to search.


18. Collaborate with Other Agents on Open House Day

Even though the market is competitive, it is better to see your fellow agents more as colleagues than competition. So, to help both your business grow, search for listings close to you and offer to have an open house together. This can help you pool resources together to make it an event that will attract a lot of potential clients because multiple open houses in a neighborhood will attract more crowds.

Another reason is that this builds community and helps you network as an agent. If this open house day works out, you have started a new professional relationship with your partner.


19. Place Signs or Post-Its In Different Rooms That Call Out Features

Business,,Startup,,Planning,,Management,And,People,Concept,-,Happy,CreativeThis piece of advice comes directly from Leigh Stubbs, a real estate agent at a top Dallas real estate brokerage. All you have to do is use small notes (you don’t want them to distract from the space) that call out specific benefits. If the garage fridge or washer and dryer are staying with the house, call that out. If the kitchen has a smokeless stove, be sure to emphasize that. If there is a pool table the current owners don’t want to move, note that.

Do not be shy to call their attention to the details. Lean into these features but be sure not to overwhelm buyers with too much information. Keep it short, simple, and engaging.


20. Record Your Open House 

If live streams are not for you, you can record your open house and post on social media. Do it earlier in the day, that way there is still time for newcomers to show up. It does not have to be very long; just short snippets that engage your viewers. You can also create video montages or just a quick infographic. Whatever you do, make sure to make it as eye-catching as possible, utilizing every social media platform to the fullest.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record – remember not to underestimate the power of social media; anything could go viral, including your little videos. Make sure to be consistent. People like consistency.


21. Create a Luxury Experience for Your Open Houses

This is more for luxury properties, but you want to make sure that the experience reflects the price point. For them to feel like the home could be theirs, you have to immerse them completely in the lifestyle. You can do this in a variety of ways. You can offer champagne, or have someone offering appetizers as they tour the property. If a home comes with a multi-car garage, stage it with expensive cars. 

Recreate certain essentials that are unique to the house. If the house has a heated indoor pool, stage it appropriately. If the property is a beachfront listing, make sure your showing is happening on a warm day when they can get the true beach experience. If the home is in the center of nightlife district, show the home at night to give buyers a true experience. If it has a view, let that speak for itself. High-end clients like celebrities, and tech CEOs will really appreciate the luxury real estate experience.


22. Advertise the Open House as a Furniture Sale

Apps like OffUp are great resources to find furniture to cheaply stage an open house. Set aside a few nicer pieces for sale or invite local shops to set up furniture in a few rooms. The shops you partner with can also advertise the open house and word of mouth can take over. This will get more people interested in stopping by, which turns into more leads (or even direct referrals).


23. Offer Delicious Refreshments

Partner with local coffee shops and cafes to donate refreshments for your open houses. You don’t want the refreshments to distract from the house, but it can be a talking point. If it’s beautifully presented, the spread can also encourage potential buyers to snap a picture and share it on their social media, which will increase the number of eyes you get on your event. Have napkins with your brand and contact information listed nearby so that it makes it in the shot too.


24. Plan Your Open House Hours Well

Happy,Couple,About,To,Open,The,Door,Of,Their,HouseIt is nice to choose hours that resonate with the lifestyle of the would-be buyers. Setting the open house at a convenient time will give you more leads. Also, schedule your hours to go with the season. For example, later hours are better during the summer because it’s not as hot. So, you could put the open hours between 5-8 pm, and market it as a “happy hour” so people can kick back and enjoy the tour. 

Also keep an eye out for the area’s culture to note what times would be most optimal to increase foot traffic. If there is a farmer’s market within walking distance, hold the open house on a Saturday morning to get more leads. If the house has a nice yard or a pool, choose hours that will allow people to see the property and enjoy it. If it has a city view, show it in the evening where people can see the city lights in full effect. Sometimes it’s good to have multiple open houses that showcase the day views and the night views. 


25. Try to Get Brands and Influencers to Partner with You

You should see your open house as a special event, and a way to generate buzz around town. Sometimes involving local influencers is a great way to generate interest, which can bring in new leads. This may prove to be difficult in certain markets because influencers want to know what they will get out of it. 

This is why it is also good to involve brands in your open house when you can. It can be a win-win situation. The brand gets exposure, and you get to use their products or services to draw more people in. Leverage the power of influencer posts to sell your house and make your open house not just a tour but a funfair. For example, Selling Sunset recently featured a Burgers and Botox open house that proved to be successful in the Hollywood Hills. They advertised free burgers and offered free Botox injections to everyone who showed up to the event. Of course, this won’t work in every market, but you get the idea. It can be a great way to have an open house that stands out. 


26. Try Having Live Music

Hire a folk artist or string quartet. Have musicians set up in an open room to greet guests with relaxing music. This is a great idea for luxury properties. It can also help potential clients imagine hosting an event in the space, which could increase the appeal. Have the local artist promote the event on their social media, or pass along to their network of people. 

A lot of people will stop by naturally to enjoy the music and check out the house, and many of them will likely know someone who is looking to buy or sell. Mingle, and get those details!


27. Make Your Open House a Barbecue 

This is a great idea for summer afternoons at a house with a nice deck and backyard. Try it in a family friendly neighborhood with lots of kids, to increase foot traffic. Put balloons on the open house sign in the front yard, and invite neighbors over to the barbecue. Bring someone in to fire up the grill with burgers and hotdogs. This helps potential buyers see how the space can be used. It also promotes a sense of community, and encourages mingling which means you can find more leads. Old school stuffy open houses are a thing of the past, find a way to stand out. 


28. Use Your Open House to Raise Money for Charity

Happy,Volunteer,Looking,At,Donation,Box,On,A,Sunny,DayTons of people want to give back, and this could be a great way to get some free advertising. Also, as a real estate agent in your community, you are a part of something bigger. You can raise money for a local charity by mixing this idea with a raffle or something similar. Be sure to pick a cause that directly touches the people’s lives in the location around you.

Pledge to donate a certain amount per guest and provide information about the charity. This will help you get more exposure, and appeal to the masses. 

However, navigating charitable causes to raise money can be tricky, so be sure to do your research thoroughly.


29. Get Someone to Check on Your Guests While You Are Busy 

There is usually so much to get done on the day of the open house. You have to make sure everything is cleaned and staged properly, the refreshments are ready to go, and you have all of the details down pat. This can be overwhelming, so it’s better to have someone else take some of these troubles out of your hands.

You do not want to come off as stressed and confused on the day of your open house. It would make people see you as unprofessional and hinder you from adequately socializing with leads. You want to be focused on mingling to bring in new leads. So while you are at the open house, have someone like a junior agent, a PA, or someone you trust help you out.


30. Turn It Into an Art Exhibition 

Invite a few local artists to show their work in a few rooms of the house during the open house. They can hang on the wall like any other staging piece, but you can also have the artist there to provide details about the work.

If you partner with a local artist or two, that will increase the amount of exposure your open house gets ahead of time. Leverage the artist’s fan base and social media to help boost the event. Some people may just come to see the artwork, but they might also have a direct referral for you.


31. Take Notes

Young,Woman,Working,At,Her,Desk,Taking,Notes.,Focus,OnAfter the excitement of the open house, there will be many real estate leads to follow up on. This can be stressful, especially after meeting so many new people. That’s why it sometimes pays to take detailed notes of the potential leads you come across at the open house. Jot down what type of property they are looking for. Also put down one or two unique things you pick up on during your conversation. You can then update that information straight into your real estate CRM

When you go to follow up with them, mention something that they said or a joke they told. This will help to show that you pay attention to detail. Perhaps they were wearing a t-shirt with a particular team, drop a hint that you also root for that team. Or, if they mention wanting a pool, follow up with a property of yours that features a pool to show you remember what they are looking for. 


32. Boost the Appeal 

It has been shown that homes with good curb appeal and landscaping can increase the number of offers by about 12.7%. Take your time to clear weeds, remove cobwebs, clean floors, trim bushes, clear the lawn and give the house a facelift!  there’s also a new interactive tool which shows which roof and siding color combinations work best.  

Putting the right things in place can boost the home’s appeal and raise the perception of the home’s worth.



Congrats! That you have gotten here shows that you are a very consistent person and should be proud. So let us summarize the entire things we said here:


● Use social media to your advantage

● Follow-up is key!

● Feed your buyers’ imagination

● Think about the needs of your guests

● Work with other real estate agents

● Be creative with your signs

● Think outside the box

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 12/1/2022

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