Tips & Tools

Open House Tips: Do’s and Don’ts

January 11, 2017
Front door and doormat

An open house can make or break a home sale for you and your seller. These tips can help an open house go smoothly to increase the chances of an interested buyer moving forward.


Have a sign advertising the open house up in the neighborhood for at least one week before the event.

It’s helpful to give buyers enough notice to plan to attend an open house. A week is a good amount of time for locals to see the sign and add it to their calendar. Attaching an open house sign to the for-sale sign is advantageous for buyers on foot or hoping to see that specific home. Be sure to also mark the listing as an open house in the MLS. You can set the listing as having an open house on a specific date.

Invite the neighbors.

Make an open house a neighborhood event. While having too many neighbors and not enough buyers would not be helpful, having neighbors spread the word can be highly beneficial. They want great neighbors, so it is in their best interest to help promote the open house. Neighbors can also share what they love about the neighborhood, which can give you talking points to share with other walk-ins.

Woman opening curtainsMake a great first impression with these simple touches that make a big difference:

  1. Fresh flowers
  2. Light: Natural light or added lamps can create a sense of warmth and openness in the home.
  3. Refresh: Visitors remember the home with just-brewed coffee, ice-cold bottled water or a fresh fruit tray.


Encourage your client to make their home look less like…theirs. Although family photos carry great meaning for them, it can make it difficult for a buyer to picture their own family living in the home.

Regulate the temperature.

No one wants to remember the open house as that one home that was too hot or too cold. While a specific temperature can’t please every buyer, having a comfortable environment in the home can make a huge difference in deciding whether or not to move forward in the process. Temperature is a significant element of creating a welcoming space.

Be aware of your personal safety.

Being in charge of a house full of strangers can carry risk. There are steps you can take to create a safe open house.


Leave valuables in the home.

Ideally, an open house will be well-attended and many buyers will be wandering through the home. Encourage the seller not to leave any valuables in their home in order to avoid potentially uncomfortable situations or losses.

Let your seller attend.

Selling a home is an emotional process, and it may be difficult for a seller to watch buyers evaluating their home. Having your seller present for the open house can also make buyers feel pressured or uncomfortable asking certain questions.

Leave Fluffy (or his toys) in the home.

Just like family photos, buyers don’t want to picture a dog running around their dream home if pets aren’t their thing. Even buyers who love pets may get a negative first impression if there are food bowls and pet toys spread throughout the home.

Limit potential buyers to certain areas of the home.

Similar to our other suggestions, the buyer must be able to imagine living in the home. Homeowners aren’t barred from certain rooms in their own home, don’t let potential homeowners feel this way either. Make sure it does not seem as if there is something to hide in the home. Keeping valuables in a storage unit or at a friend’s house is helpful if there are items the homeowner does not want the public having access to.

An open house is a great chance to share a home with the community and create interest. Following open house guidelines makes the experience enjoyable for the Realtor®, seller and buyers alike!

Are you on the other side of the process? Enjoy these tips on how to help a first-time homebuyer.

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