This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Lead Generation and Marketing.
Open houses have been a staple of the real estate industry for decades to increase lead generation and business opportunities, but they have changed over time. Staying ahead of new, unique open house ideas and trends maximizes your time and effort and brings more qualified leads into your sphere. Excellent open house ideas, like having food, social media advertisements, and virtual tours, help your property stand out, increase property interest, and acquire contact information from prospective buyers and future sellers.
These are 14 real estate open house ideas to help you generate interest and leads for your properties:
1. Choose the Right Open House Time & Day
Timing is everything when it comes to showcasing property at an open house event. Although weekends are popular days for agents to host open houses, depending on the property and area, it may not always be the best day for that specific property. For example, family-friendly neighborhoods may have homeowners occupied with family events and obligations, making it difficult for them to attend on the weekend. Instead, have open houses on weekday evenings to capture additional opportunities.
Most open houses are offered during the day to maximize natural light. However, if a property has a beautiful city view in the evening that increases buyer interest, hosting an evening open house and marketing the city lights can get more people in the door and get you more real estate leads. Choosing the right open house time and day for a specific property is crucial to shortening the property’s time on the market.
2. Electronic Open House Sign-ins
Collecting open house visitor contact information is one of the best tips for open houses. Not only should you have a sign-in sheet for anyone who stops by, but having a digital sign-in sheet eliminates the need to decipher handwritten contact information.
Digital sign-in sheets also allow for additional branding and make it easier to collect certain notes on visitors. For example, allow visitors to identify whether they are a buyer or a real estate agent—and when the buyer is looking to move. These filters come in handy during the follow-up process.
Agents can utilize platforms like Curb Hero to create online sign-in sheets directly in an open house application. The sign-in sheets sync with customer relationship management (CRM) software for better lead collection and follow-up. Curb Hero also provides digital marketing tools for agents to also create landing pages for their listings and converts social media followers to leads.
3. Highlight the Property’s Best Features
The most successful real estate agents look at the property through the eyes of the ideal buyer when coming up with open house marketing ideas. Identifying the best features of the property that will generate the most leads will provide you with a more targeted open house attendees list. Not only should you highlight these features during your open house tour, but you should also mention the feature in the online property description and throughout your marketing materials.
For example, if you have a stunning backyard pool, draw additional attention to it by setting that area up with drinks, pool floaties, and nice patio pillows and furniture. If part of the home has nice hardwood flooring, let the natural wood show rather than covering it with a rug. Any feature you deem worthy of marketing should be visible and presented in the best possible way to garner a strong first impression from open house attendees.
Create an open house checklist when preparing the home for showings so you don’t miss key features to highlight. Don’t have an open house checklist? Download ours from the article How to Host a Real Estate Open House (+ Free Checklist).
4. Provide Food & Entertainment
One of the best ideas for open houses is to provide an incentive to attend the open house event. Adding on food and entertainment can be a motivating factor to increase attendance from interested buyers. Aside from speakers and other attendees, EventBrite cites food as the second-most important factor when people decide if they’re attending an event. Perhaps there is a new bakery in the neighborhood you could get catering from that would entice people to stop by for a taste while also seeing the property.
Fun open house ideas that include good food and entertainment are also very unexpected since most open houses are just about the property itself and lack any additional bells and whistles. Although food is a huge draw, be mindful of what you serve. You don’t want to serve anything that requires too many utensils or space to sit and eat.
Finger foods and hors d’oeuvres served cold or at room temperature are great options to allow guests to still move through the property. You also want to keep the homeowner’s space nice and clean, so don’t serve food that may stain their furniture.
5. Offer 3D & 2D Virtual Tours
Offering 2D and 3D virtual tours is a valuable open house tip because it offers those unable to make your event in person an opportunity to still see the property. It also allows prospective buyers to have an open house experience at any time convenient to them without the need to disturb property sellers and have them vacate the property.
Agents can use 2D and 3D tours in their marketing and promotional materials as a way to collect additional leads. Sharing snippets of the tour to prospective buyers can give them a preview of the property, thereby making in-person visitors more motivated to put in an offer. Agents can also have a registration form to collect leads for buyers who want to see the full tour.
To enhance the presentation of your listing, agents can create video marketing content with 3D tours from Matterport. Matterport’s 3D technology helps agents reach a wider audience with standout features like Mattertags, floorplans, and the ability to virtually stage their properties. It offers 360 cameras to capture a listing’s space, but agents can use their phones and Matterport’s mobile application to produce 3D models of their property.
6. Strategically Placed Signage
Real estate open house signage is essential for letting people know about your listing. Agents should list open house times on third-party websites like Zillow or Trulia, but having outside signage strategically placed can create more foot traffic to your open house.
Some open house tips for signage include having a prominent sign at the property and placing one on a nearby busy road with balloons to draw the attention of passing cars. This is particularly helpful if other open houses are happening in the neighborhood and they might not have seen your property online.
Another place to include open house signage is with nearby businesses. Many coffee shops and cafes have corkboards or public bulletins that allow you to post signage. This can gain neighborhood traffic, but also those traveling to a neighborhood they’re interested in moving to. Like the above image, the bulletin board is right near the milk at a coffee shop, so those who are topping off their coffees can stop and see your open house information.
To print open house signage, agents can use VistaPrint to quickly and professionally print out signage. Agents can select from various signage options, like yard signs, banners, posters, and flags, to appropriately market their open houses. VistaPrint provides premade templates, or you can choose to upload your own custom design. It connects agents with professional designers to help create the perfect sign design.
7. Leverage Brand Partnership to Access Larger Reach
Many local or national brands have large client contact lists and strong brand recognition. Partnering with brands for your open house is a creative open house idea that can draw a lot of attention to your event. The partnership is mutually beneficial because you can draw in attendees to your open house while the brand can increase its customer base.
Brand partnerships can range from a beverage partner to a local florist to a mortgage professional—reducing open house expenses. In exchange for goods or services, you will usually be expected to help pitch in with marketing their brand during your outreach efforts for your open house. Adding their logo and company information to your flyers and newsletter can help with expanding their brand recognition, but if it’s a strong brand, then you can use that to your advantage to get more attendees.
8. Use Digital Marketing Advertisements
With 4.9 billion social media users, open houses should also be marketed online to have a larger and more targeted reach. Social media allows agents to market their open houses to their social media followers. Agents can also create social media ads that will be shown to a selected audience. For example, choose to show the sponsored ad to a targeted area or ZIP code in addition to choosing different client attributes like those looking to move in the near future.
Social media is one of the most affordable ways to market your listing, and the power of social media lets users easily share your post with their network, creating more ad impressions for you. Some platforms like Facebook allow users to add a registration form or “learn more” button—helping you collect prospective buyer leads or direct viewers to your website’s landing pages. Even if they don’t attend your open house, you can convert them later.
For more tools you can use to upgrade your social media game, check out 15 Social Media Tools Every Real Estate Agent Needs in 2023.
9. Invite the Neighbors
A property’s neighbors may not be the most motivated buyers. However, it’s still an opportunity for real estate agents to develop their business. It’s an opportunity for you to introduce yourself and your services while also showcasing the work that you put into listing a property. That way, if they list in the future, they will be inclined to reach out to you. Go around the neighborhood with attractive door hanger invites to invite those closest to the property. Also, allow them to invite any interested friends, family, or colleagues.
Another benefit of inviting the neighbors is to show them what their property could potentially be valued at. Neighbors are usually curious about what their neighbors’ homes are selling for and what the property looks like. Welcoming the neighbors to your house can encourage them to sell at the current market conditions and give you more listing opportunities in the future.
10. Collaborate With Other Agents
The real estate industry can be extremely competitive because agents are generally independent contractors working solely on commission. However, that doesn’t mean agents shouldn’t collaborate for mutually beneficial reasons. Although you probably do not want to share your listings with other agents, building relationships with buyer’s agents who have clients who might be interested in the property can be advantageous for both parties.
These collaborations don’t always have to exist during the open house hours the general public is invited to. Share a new listing with other agents prior to listing it on the market, also known as a broker open house. Agents can view the property without clients, gathering information directly from the hosting agents. This way, agents can entice their clients to view a special listing that is not on the market. It could even eliminate your open house altogether if you get a buyer before the first open house.
11. Incentivize Open House Visitors With Prize Raffles
Doing raffles at open houses can draw in attendees interested in the prizes offered, but it allows you to collect prospective client information. Visitors may want to bypass the sign-in sheet because they don’t want to receive spam emails or follow-ups; however, if visitors want to win a prize, they will be more inclined to provide their contact information. You can also decide to use raffle slips as a substitute for a traditional sign-in sheet.
Depending on what your budget allows, try to get prizes that are substantial enough to attract attendees, like gift cards, spa services, or local sport event tickets. Aim to have multiple prizes with varying price ranges. That way, you not only have a few more winners but can also develop better relationships with the winners. Agents should make sure to include the presence of a raffle on their invites and marketing materials. Prizes that interest your contact lists will persuade guests to participate.
12. Stage the Property & Add Additional Decor
Empty properties should be staged with furniture and decor to give prospective buyers an idea of how the space might look if they lived there. A staged home sells 30% faster than unstaged properties and has a 20% higher sales price on average. Therefore, not only will the effort upfront mean you can close a deal faster, but your commission income could also increase significantly. Although it may feel like a large investment to stage an entire property, your return on that investment will make it worth the initial expense.
For properties that currently have homeowners living in them, small additions to the property can help prepare the property for an open house. Homeowners may not have accent pillows on their couches or lamps on the side tables that are used on a daily basis. Adding small touches like these could pull a room together and make it present more professionally. Real estate agents could use these add-ons to their advantage, like a branded doormat containing your logo and contact information.
To get additional tips on how to stage your property listing, visit our article Home Staging in 10 Steps: The Ultimate Guide.
13. Provide Customized Promotional Items
Agents should market themselves and their brand during an open house. An easy way to do this is by having goodie bags or promotional items at the open house so people can take your contact information with them.
Branded tote bags with open house flyers inside of them can be an excellent way to have people reach for the bags and take them home. Their use of your bags for groceries or everyday activities helps increase your brand placement to others who see the bag. These items can also be as simple as branded pens or refrigerator magnets.
AnyPromo offers promotional items with a variety of tote bags for all occasions. It’s a one-stop shop for all customized marketing products. Agents can select from over 1,500 tote bag options with a wide range of materials, quantities, and costs to fit their needs. In addition to offering a regular cotton tote bag, agents can get creative and print beach bags, toiletry bags, or even laundry bags that might get more frequent use by your open house attendees.
14. Always Follow Up With Your Open House Visitors
The key to having a successful open house is follow-up. Having a few follow-up email templates pre-drafted before your open house helps you send them out quickly after the event. Following up with open house attendees acknowledges their presence at the event and opens up the opportunity for conversation. You could ask for their feedback to help you determine the next marketing steps to sell the property, or you could share with them a price change that might pique their interest.
Having a customer relationship manager (CRM) connected to your digital open house sign-in sheet helps you nurture that relationship. CRMs like Pipedrive have robust email marketing tools that allow you to track email campaigns as well as email segmentation, so you can send the right message to the right contacts. For contacts collected at open houses, you can have a segment specifically for them, sharing listings you have available in nearby areas.
If you’re looking for free CRM options, take a look through our guide to the best 8 Free Real Estate CRM Software 2023.
Some of the top open house tips can be executed simultaneously to create a larger impact at your open houses. These open house event ideas should help you quickly receive offers on your property, increase your contact lists, and bring additional business for the future. Although open houses have been around for some time, keeping up with the latest open house ideas and trends can provide you with a lead generation strategy to grow your business over time.