10 Creative Ideas for an Open House
An open house is like the job interview and audition for a house. But let’s be honest, in 2017 open houses can seem a bit stale and boring. Buyers show up, look around, and leave. A small percentage of open house attendees will actually make an offer. So you have to attract as many interested buyers as possible and make the open house informative, persuasive, and memorable. There are few hacks for a good open house that you can follow to attract buyers.
The Role of the Open HouseBuyers begin their search online. By the time they walk through the door, they’ve already researched properties in their price range in their desired neighborhood. They’ve seen the photos and drafted a list of possible houses. By touring a property, they want to cross houses off their list or consider making an offer. Your job as an agent is to help make that choice easy. Help them imagine themselves living there by transforming the features on the listing page into benefits for these buyers. And an open house is a great place to do that.
Marketing the Open HouseBeyond the traditional methods, remember to promote open houses on your web site, blog, email list, and social media pages. Post beautiful photos and brief video house tours to get people interested.
Staging the Open HouseProfessional stagers like to create photo-shoot ready “lifestyle vignettes” in each room. Here are a few ideas:
- Create scenes in each room with focal points like a large plant and conversation spots.
- Use accents to draw attention to features with little plants, glass lamps, and silver mirrors and trays.
- Establish a natural flow through the house with potted plants, flower arrangements, and cuttings tied with raffia.
- Try accent pillows and candles in purple, teal, olive, and/or light yellows.
- Grab a few glass accessories from thrift stores. Set up a tray with two coffee cups and cloth napkins or a glass bowl with candies to make the kitchen cozier.
Hosting the Open HouseMake visitors feel welcome and comfortable:
- Have soft music playing and fresh cut flowers.
- Put out snacks like freshly baked cookies.
- Greet your guests warmly as they arrive.
- Give them an info sheet and ask them to sign the sign-in sheet.
- Mention a few special features about the property.
- Build report and chat about the unique benefits of the house and the neighborhood
- Get to know a little about them and which features are important to them.
10 Creative Open House IdeasWhile some of these concepts may not be right for your listing, a few might and the others may spark your next great idea. Stage an even at an open house such as:
- Art exhibition: Invite a few local artists to show their work in a few rooms of the house.
- Furniture sale or pop-up shop: 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 in a few rooms.
- Charity event: Use the open house to promote a local charity or non-profit. Pledge to donate a certain amount per guest and provide information about the charity.
- Home décor party: This is a great idea if you’ve put a lot of effort into staging or used a professional stager. Chose a few current design trends to showcase.
- Delicious snacks: Partner with local coffee shops and cafes to donate refreshments for open houses.
- Live music: Hire a folk artist or string quartet. Have musicians set up in an open room to greet guests with relaxing music
- Garage sale: The sellers need to declutter anyways. Why not kill two birds with one stone?
- Barbeque: This is a great idea for summer afternoons at a house with a nice deck and backyard.
- Workshop or seminar: Invite an interior designer or home improvement expert to teach guests some tips and tricks of their trade.
- Themes: Let upcoming holidays or local festivals inspire the décor, refreshments, and events. My home town hosts an annual lavender festival, which offers many open house ideas.