One of the most common myths Realtors still cling to in 2023 is that open houses are a waste of time. While a poorly planned and run open house can indeed be a waste of time, a well-planned one that follows the steps in our open house checklist can help you double or even triple the number of leads you get. 

To get you started, we worked with our team of real estate coaches and agents to put together the ultimate open house checklist. We also include important tips for each step, as well as links to deep-dive articles to learn more about open house apps, boosting your Facebook posts, and even scripts and icebreakers to use at your next open house.

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Our 21-step open house checklist was created by our team of real estate coaches and agents, including Beverly Ruffner (aka the Conversion Queen). Some of the steps here might seem like common sense, but there are many you may not have considered.

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If you’re looking for more general tips for running an open house that actually generates leads, check out our open house ideas article below. Be sure to return here for important notes on why we included each step in our open house checklist.

Related Article
33 Open House Ideas That Will Actually Get You Leads

Before Your Open House

1. Consider Professional Staging

You only get one chance to make a first impression. If your new listing needs a little extra pizazz, consider hiring a professional staging company to make the most of your client’s existing decor, or spice it up to help your listing pop. And if your listing is vacant, adding a few things to give context to the space is essential to attract the perfect buyers.

2. Get Pro Photography

Now that you’ve got the place looking super-fly, it’s time for some photography. Word of warning—don’t skimp on the pictures! You’re about to post this listing for everyone to view and you want these pictures to draw in potential buyers to your upcoming open house. Be sure to hire a professional to get the job done. Or, if you DIY, at least check out our tips to make sure buyers stop scrolling through Zillow to add your open house to their calendar.

💡 Pro Tip: While you’ve got your pro photographer already in your new listing and everything looks perfect, get them to shoot some video for you too. Some photographers have the ability to create Reel-style short vertical videos that you can use to post to social media to announce your upcoming open house. If your photographer doesn’t offer this service or you want to DIY to save some cash, do some quick videos yourself using your cell phone camera.

Related Article
Real Estate Photography: 9 Tips for Stunning DIY Photos

3. Boost Your Open House Post on Facebook

Since the vast majority of your potential open house guests are doing their house hunting online, boosting a Facebook post to announce your open house can work wonders. Just make sure to design an ad that cuts through the noise on Facebook.

If you don’t have a Facebook business page yet, you can learn how to set one up here:

Related Article
How to Set Up a Real Estate Agent Facebook Page to Get More Leads

4. Decide Which Food & Drinks You Want to Serve

Believe it or not, the refreshments you serve at your open house can have a big impact on how you are perceived as an agent. Remember, most of your guests don’t know you. That means they will be judging you on everything, food included!

If you’re ordering food for your open house, make sure you give the restaurant or caterer enough time to prepare it. Two days before the open house should be enough lead time in most cases, but call ahead to make sure. If you’re making refreshments on your own, shopping and preparing a few days before couldn’t hurt. 

You don’t have to spend a fortune on open house offerings, but you should make an effort. Here are some creative food and drink ideas to get you started:

Related Article
21 Open House Food Ideas That Can Help Sell Your Listing (Yes, Really)

5. Send an Email Blast or Newsletter Reminder

You worked hard to build your email list, and now is the time to use it. You can include your open house announcement in your weekly newsletter, or better yet, send out a dedicated email blast if you think the house is a good deal or it offers something curious neighbors might want to see.

Need an easy button to send out your email blast? Propertybase offers an all-in-one platform that combines the power of Salesforce CRM with a comprehensive suite of tools to help you stay connected with your database, including their easy-to-use, drag-and-drop email template builder.

Check Out Lone Wolf’s Propertybase
Related Article
35 Proven Real Estate Newsletter Ideas (+ Template Tips)

6. Post Your Open House on Zillow & 

Of course, not all your potential guests will be on your email list, but if they’re looking to buy, they will be scrolling Zillow and Zillow has a dedicated setting to schedule open houses. You need to make sure to schedule it early, but not too early. Four days or so before your open house should do the trick. 

Why stop with your open house? Get connected with the buyers where they’re already looking with Zillow Premier Agent.

Check Out Zillow Premier Agent

7. Text Buyers You’re Already Working With

If you’re working with buyers, send them a quick text to announce the open house. It might not be the perfect home for them, but it gives you another chance to connect and will show them you’re working hard for your seller client.

Related Article
My 6-Day New Lead Text Messaging Campaign + Agent Texting Scripts

8. Text Your Seller a Checklist to Prepare the Home

You also need to give your seller time to prepare for the open house. They might need to clean a bit, hide valuables, or make arrangements for pets. If you really want to go the extra mile, offer to send them a house cleaner to do the work for them. They will likely refuse, but it’s the thought that counts!

Related Article
The Ultimate Guide to Home Staging (+ DIY Shopping Guide)

Two Days Before Your Open House

9. Post an Instagram Reel Preview Announcement 

Since your Facebook post is already boosted, take a few minutes to put together a quick Reel to announce the open house to your Instagram followers. It doesn’t have to be Hollywood quality, but it should tell them the date, time, and address, and maybe include a sneak peek of the home. You can shoot and edit this in advance, posting two days before the open house.

Related Article
10 Instagram Real Estate Reel Ideas for Agents

10. Do Some Circle Prospecting

Agents are terrified to get out and knock on doors. But circle prospecting will build rapport with the neighborhood around your listing and boost the likelihood of scoring another client. Get out there and knock on those doors, personally invite the neighbors to the open house, then follow up with the results with a Just Sold postcard after you close.

Related Article
How Circle Prospecting Got One Tampa Realtor 200 Leads in ONE DAY

11. Review Your Open House Scripts & Icebreakers

If you’re a new agent or haven’t held an open house in a while, freshen up on your open house scripts and icebreakers so you don’t stumble on the big day. You want to be loose and spontaneous, but having some snappy phrases in your arsenal can’t hurt!

Related Article
15 Open House Scripts & Ice Breakers + 3 Tools That Actually Get Phone Numbers

12. Add Your Open House Sign Rider 

If you have a sign rider, installing it a bit early might alert the neighbors and those driving by that they can finally come see the home without an appointment.

Related Article
The 12 Best Real Estate Sign Ideas (+ Examples) for 2024

13. Print Out Your Sign-in Sheets or Set Up Your App

It also helps to print out your sign-in sheets a few days before your open house. The last thing you want is to have a printer malfunction or discover you’re low on ink the morning of your open house. Ask me how I know!

By the way, printing your open house sign-in sheets is so 2020. Savvy agents are stepping up their open house game with apps like Curb Hero, which feeds leads directly to thousands of customer relationship managers (CRMs) to help you stay on top of your potential new clients with ease. And it’s free!

Check Out Curb Hero

The Day of Your Open House

14. Install Open House Directional Signs

Since many locations only allow directional signs for the day of your open house, waking up early to install them is a good idea. 

15. Put Balloons on Your For Sale Sign

While some Realtors will say that balloons are tacky, they are a surefire way to keep your guests from getting lost, and they certainly attract attention.  

16. Put Out Welcome Signs, Flyers & Disclosures 

Once you have your directional signs and balloons up, it’s time to prepare the house to show. Set up a small table at the entrance with your welcome sign, sign-in sheet, flyers, and disclosures so they’re the first thing your guests see. 

You can even put a small bowl of candy (or cold drinks on a hot day) near your sign-in sheet to make it more attractive for guests. 

Two Days After Your Open House 

17. Text Buyers’ Agents for Feedback 

If you know any of the agents who brought or sent buyers to your open house, text them and ask for feedback. You can also include them in your follow-up emails, but texting will likely get you a faster—and hopefully more honest—response. 

18. Add Sign-ins to Your CRM 

If you’re using an app like Curb Hero that integrates with your customer relationship manager (CRM), this step should be fast and easy. If you’re working with paper sign-in sheets, you’re going to have to enter them manually or send the list to your virtual assistant.

Related Article
The 10 Best Real Estate CRMs of 2024

19. Text Hot Sign-in Leads for Feedback 

If you had good conversations with any of your guests, texting them is a much better way to follow up than emailing them. Just make sure you have something to offer, even if it’s an invitation for coffee to talk more about their real estate wants and needs. 

20. Email Cold Sign-in Leads

Finally, you need to take all of the people who gave you their contact information and put them on a drip campaign. You can start with a request for feedback via email, then follow up with hot new listings. Just make sure you actually ask for their business in your call to action.

Related Article
The 13 Best Open House Follow-up Email Templates (+ Writing Tips)

21. Share All Feedback & Performance Data With the Seller

Now that you’ve received feedback about the home, put it all together and send it to your seller. Apps like Spacio will give you a form to send them with the data, but you can always just write it in an email or text message along with your analysis. 

Over to You 

What kind of open house checklist do you use? Anything we missed here? Let us know in the comments.

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