Hosting Your
Open House

Once you’ve decided to sell your house on your own, one of the best ways to spread the word is to host an open house. Where do you begin? We have compiled a list of steps to take you from initial scheduling through post-event follow-up.


Generally, weekends are the best days to hold an open house. A three-hour timeframe often works best. Consider choosing a date when other homes in your neighborhood will also be hosting open houses. You can feed off of their traffic. Avoid holiday weekends or days when popular special events are taking place in your city. Schedule the open house at least a week ahead.


Print flyers to post or hand out locally, at coffee shops, schools, churches and your neighborhood community center, if possible. Post on your Facebook wall or create an event. The night before the open house, put out your directional signs within a few blocks’ radius of your house. Place your open house sign prominently in the front yard. Balloons can also help make the home more visible.


Curb appeal can mean the difference between an interested buyer and one who doesn’t even enter your house. Make sure the exterior, from the lawn to the porch and front door, look attractive and well maintained. Hide and lock up valuables. Arrange for any pets to be out of the house for the afternoon of the open house. Stage your house (see Home-Staging Tips article ). Turn on the lights in every room, including the closets. Open blinds and drapes. Make sure the house smells fresh. Consider displaying fresh flowers. Don’t neglect the back yard or the garage, if you have one, when it comes to preparing for the open house. Move your cars from the driveway to allow for easy parking.


The day of the open house, you want to make visitors feel welcome. Create this atmosphere by playing soft music and offering light refreshments. Greet everyone at the door. Politely ask them to sign in on your sign-in sheet, where you’ll collect their names and contact information (email addresses and/or telephone numbers). Have a flyer printed with information about your home and hand it to guests as they enter. Try to detach yourself emotionally from your home. Think like a real estate agent and not a homeowner and don’t take criticism of the property personally. Be ready to answer questions about property taxes, the school district and neighborhood crime, as well as questions about the house, such as how old the major appliances are. If you’re caught off guard by a question you can’t answer immediately, offer to contact the visitor as soon as you have the information he or she wants.

Follow Up

Email all of your open house visitors within a day or two of the event to thank them for attending and include a link to your home’s online listing. Offer to answer any questions they may have. If you do not hear back from some of them, follow up with a friendly phone call to check in. Invite any interested buyers to visit again for a private tour of the house. Also, feel free to ask if those who express interest in your house if they are pre-approved for a mortgage.