29 open house ideas to bring in buyers and spark a sale

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Paperless Post BlogBusiness > 29 open house ideas to bring in buyers and spark a sale

Hosting an open house is a great way for real estate agents to attract potential home buyers who might not otherwise see a property. It offers a low-pressure environment where interested parties can leisurely stroll through the home and get a feel for what it might be like to live there. 

If you’re a real estate agent looking for open house ideas to enhance the experience for attendees and set your property apart from others, you’re in the right place. We reached out to several high-profile real estate professionals on the best ways to draw a crowd to your next open viewing. With their advice in mind, along with some careful planning, and attention to detail, that “for sale” sign will earn its “sold” sticker in no time.


Ideas for promoting an open house 

When should you start advertising your open house? “For me, a week out is the sweet spot,” says Steevie Soucie, a top-10 real estate agent on TikTok. “Any longer, and people tend to forget.” The key is to promote your open house through multiple channels. Here are a few of the most effective ways to do just that:


1. Update your listing

“When it comes to marketing and advertising the open house,” says Ms. Soucie, “you want to make sure it’s advertised on the actual MLS (Multiple Listing Service.) That way, it shows up on third-party sites.” 

Keith Roy, a Vancouver realtor and thought leader, agrees. “For the week of the open house, change the details in the listing to include the open house time and date.” 

Gogo Bethke, one of the top realtors in the U.S., says that when a listing goes live on Thursday or Friday with the open house information, “I post it on social media and tag the location. They may not follow me, but they do follow my city, and they can find it that way.”


Meet the experts
Gogo Bethke is the Founder of Gogo's Real Estate Team and one of the top 3% of realtors in the nation.
Steevie Soucie is a top-10 real estate agent on TikTok and a Licensed Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Realty Centres.
Keith Roy is an international real estate speaker and trainer.


2. Post on social media

Advertising on social media channels like Instagram and TikTok is the best way to spread the word far and wide about your open house. Ms. Bethke suggests creating an Instagram post to showcase the open house. “Use a picture with the best feature of the house, and include a direct link to the property.” In addition to promoting your open house on your own page, you may choose to post it to your local Facebook groups and on neighborhood sites like Nextdoor. 


3. Send Flyers or invitations

A great way to get the word out is with high-quality open house invitations or Flyers from Paperless Post. Customize them to your liking—add a Photo Gallery Block with pictures of the property, or use a Video Block to include a personalized video walkthrough or message. There are lots of great open house Flyer ideas to get your “New Listing” on people’s radar, and you can animate them with a GIF or text effects. Send Flyers and invitations to your contacts via email, text, or a shareable link you can post on your social media channels—and encourage your followers to share it with their friends and families, too.


An online invitation with gray-blue on the left, and on the right, a white farmhouse-style kitchen with the words “OPEN HOUSE” in a white circle.
New Listing” Flyer by Paperless Post.


4. Invite the neighborhood 

Inviting the neighbors to your open house can help you draw more visitors—and even sell the home. “Neighbors often want their mother or sister to live next door, so we tell them so they can spread the word, too,” says Ms. Bethke. 

“There’s a rule in real estate called 10, 10, 20,” says Mr. Roy. “When you get a listing, you want to knock on 10 houses on either side and 20 across the street. That applies in condominiums as well—slip a flyer under the door with an invitation and a QR code link.” Ms. Soucie often knocks on doors or puts up printed flyers around the entire neighborhood—sometimes a whole subdivision. 

Mr. Roy often holds a private neighbor preview 30 minutes before the regular open house. “For that, I have branded water bottles and snacks,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be fancy. Individually wrapped snacks are nice when people’s blood sugar is low—it can get them more engaged.”


How to make your open house easy to find

The last thing you want is for people to have to drive around looking for your open house. Here are some ways to make it a cinch to find.


5. Include a Google Maps link in your outreach

Whether you’re posting pictures on social media or emailing an invitation for your open house, include a Google Maps link on everything you send to make it easy for people to find you.


A screenshot of a Travel Block on a Paperless Post event, with a photo of a house and the words “LINK TO GOOGLE MAPS” pointing at the address.


6. Put up signs

Ms. Bethke recommends heading into the neighborhood an hour before the open house and putting up around 30 signs along the busiest roads and intersections. The signs should have arrows that guide people into the neighborhood and direct them right to the house. 


7. Just add balloons

“I always put balloons out front,” says Ms. Soucie. “It stands out more, like, hey, something’s happening here!” Attach the balloons to your open house signs, the mailbox, the porch railing—and anywhere else that will attract attention.


Ideas for a welcoming entrance

Mr. Roy stresses the importance of making an open house easy for people to attend. “Make it as accessible as possible for people—add lots of signage and even hire someone to greet people at the door.” He suggests translating any literature you have into a second language if your market has a lot of speakers of a non-English language. Here are a few other open house ideas for realtors that can make guests feel at ease and provide them with a stellar viewing experience:


8. Tidy up and add special touches outside

When you arrive at the property the day of the open house, sweep the sidewalk and remove any cobwebs or rubbish from the entry area. If the outside entry is bare, liven it up with a couple of urns filled with foliage, a custom welcome mat featuring your logo, or a large door wreath. 


9. Welcome them inside with a sign

Set up an easel inside the door with a large framed sign that gives guests a quick run-down of what they need to know. The sign can say something like, “Welcome! Please sign in at the table, grab a fresh-baked cookie and a cup of coffee, and take a look around. Scan the QR codes you see for more information about each room. If you have any questions, please ask!”


An online invitation with bold, geometric shapes in red, blue, green, and yellow, plus a photo of a living room fireplace in a semi-circle below the words “W&W Open House” sits beside a blue envelope with a red liner.
Round About” by Paperless Post.


10. Get creative with the sign-in table

Set up an attractive table where guests sign in and pick up your card, brochure, or other informational assets. Use a digital tablet for sign-in—it adds an air of sophistication and professionalism and helps you avoid having to decipher messy handwriting later on. Place a vase of fresh flowers on the table, and set out a dish of hard candy for people to enjoy as they stroll around the property. 


11. Stand by ready to greet

The real estate agent is part of the open house too, says Mr. Roy. “Dress like you’re at a job interview—you shouldn’t be on the couch just waving people through. Show up and be present.” Welcome guests with a warm “hello,” and let them know that if they have any questions, you’re happy to answer them. Then, stand back and let them explore at their leisure.


Fun ways to create a memorable viewing experience

Buyers want to make informed decisions—and chances are, they’re visiting several open houses on the same day. You don’t want your listing to be forgotten or confused with other homes they may see, so here are some ways to ensure your visitors leave with all of the information they need to help them decide whether to make an offer. 


12. Create an audio/visual history lesson

If your open house is in a particularly interesting location or the property has its own fascinating past, record an informational video about the area or the home, and play it in a loop on a tablet or TV. Keep it short and engaging, and include a QR code at the end that guests can use to re-watch the video on their own time or share it with their friends or family.


13. Put together a branded information packet

Set out packets with your logo that guests can pick up when they arrive and refer to as they walk through the house. Include the standard information about the house—like the square footage, number of bedrooms, and school district—but also point out unique selling points of the area, like the history of the neighborhood or a list of nearby notable parks, shops, and restaurants.


14. Set up tent cards

“Use tent cards to highlight some of the key features of the home,” suggests Mr. Roy, such as marble countertops, a gas-powered fireplace, or jacuzzi jets in the tub. Include QR codes on the tent cards to provide visitors with more information on the spot about details like the security system or heated floors.


15. Display framed floor plans

If the home you’re showing is large, place a framed floor plan in strategic areas throughout the house to help them get the lay of the land. Include a red “you are here” dot to show them where they are in relation to the rest of the house. 


16. Try virtual staging

If the home you’re showing is empty, virtually stage some or all of the rooms to help spark potential buyers’ imaginations around what it could look like fully furnished. Similarly, if the house is still full of the current owner’s things—or it has bright purple walls, shag carpeting, or other outdated features—virtual staging can show them what it might look like with a few updates or decorated in a more neutral color palette. Choose a few key rooms to stage, and set up an easel with a photo of the space transformed—or post a QR code in the room so visitors can view a gallery of staged photos online.


Ideas for open house snacks

While our real estate experts agree that it isn’t necessary to serve food or drinks at an open house, many realtors like to set out some snacks to make people feel at home. Before you do, though, make sure serving food or alcohol at an open house is allowed in your state, and ask the homeowner if they’re okay with people sipping and snacking in their home. If you get the thumbs-up, try one of these open house food ideas to take the edge off their hunger—and warm them up for a great experience.


17. Serve freshly baked cookies

Ms. Bethke offers her secret strategy for winning over stomachs—and olfactory lobes: “Instead of buying cookies, ask the sellers if you can use the oven to bake your own. It’s going to make the house smell like a home—it sells itself.” Leave plenty of time to clean up the kitchen afterward—but do your baking late enough that the house still smells delicious when people start arriving.


Left: A minimalist open house invitation with a thin green border and the words OPEN HOUSE and a simple drawing of a house along the top and right side. Right: A close-up shot of a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Cornered” by Paperless Post; Image via Scientifically Sweet.


18. Quench their thirst with branded drinks

Set out bottles of water or sparkling soda with custom labels bearing your logo and contact information. “You can get your logos to put on coffee cups, too,” says Ms. Soucie. “People come in, have coffee, and leave with your information.” 


19. Partner with neighborhood eateries

Approach a nearby bakery, deli, or restaurant for co-branding opportunities. Small local businesses can set out mini-cupcakes or small savory bites, along with their business cards, menus, or some coupons to entice potential customers to stop by for more.


How to make the buying process as easy as possible 

The fewer the barriers in the home buying process, the more likely a potential buyer will sign an offer sheet on the spot—or shortly after visiting the open house. Here are a couple of ways to make it easier for guests to put in an offer.


20. Have a helper on hand

Have a colleague, intern, or another person at the open house with you to help answer guests’ questions, ask the right leading questions, give personal guided tours, and keep their eyes and ears out for particularly interested buyers that should be at the top of the list to follow up with. Have your helper match up interest levels with the names on the sign-in sheet. That way, you can make the follow-up extra-personal for the more promising leads.


21. Bring in a lender

Ms. Bethke likes to have a lender on hand at her open houses. “Before potential buyers leave the property, the lender can pre-approve them on the spot and let them know how much they will pay per month,” she says. “The buyer can find out right away whether they can afford the house.”


Open house gift ideas for giveaways

Even the smallest giveaways, like a personalized pen or pocket umbrella, are always appreciated. “What it all comes down to is leaving people with something that makes an impression,” Ms. Soucie says. “If you have giveaways or a raffle going on, be sure to state that in the invitation.”


22. Pack up goodie bags

Fill small gift bags with an assortment of goodies guests can take home with them. Promotional items like keychains or refrigerator magnets are popular for gift bags. Or include a wrapped cookie from a neighborhood bakery, and ask nearby businesses if they have samples or coupons you can include.


Left: Sugar cookies intricately decorated to look like house keys, “Sold” signs, doors, welcome mats, and houses. Right: An open house invitation with a blue and white striped border that resembles seersucker fabric.
Image via Mae’s Little Oven/Etsy; “Seersucker Stripe” by kate spade new york for Paperless Post.


23. Hold a raffle

Entice people to visit your open house by holding a raffle. You can purchase prizes in bulk that feature your promotional branding—think personal Bluetooth speakers, duffel bags, baseball caps, or fanny packs. Local businesses might be interested in contributing an item for the prize—in exchange, offer to include their promotional materials in your goodie bags or as part of the informational packet. Advertise the raffle in your invitation and on social media. 


Left: An open house invitation with a simplified house framework, the words “Open House” in a left quadrant, and a photo of a living room with a white couch and black fireplace on the right. Right: A square basket holds bread, sparkling water bottles, microgreens, lemons, spoons, recipe cards, and cooking oil.
House Frame” by Paperless Post; Image via Darling Magazine.


Ideas for collaborating with fellow agents

While some real estate professionals may view other agents as competition, collaborating helps everyone succeed—your fellow agents have connections and clients you may not have, and vice versa. 

“Don’t underestimate the power of connecting with other real estate agents on social media as well, especially when it comes to open houses,” says Ms. Soucie. “It keeps you in the loop with information to be able to provide to your clients.” Here are a few ways to collaborate with other agents:


24. Hold an open house for another agent’s listing

In many cases, listing agents are happy to have other agents host an open house—especially if it’s across town from them. Ask if you can use your own open house signs to help build your brand in the neighborhood, and offer the listing agent a competitive referral fee for any clients you pick up from the event. 


25. Have simultaneous open houses

If you can find two or three other real estate agents who have listings in the same area, see if they’re interested in collaborating on a multiple-house open viewing. Plan and promote the event together—pool your resources for advertising, and create a buzz around the event on your combined social media channels. Hold a special raffle for people who attend all of the open houses.


26. Host an agents-only preview

Send out special invitations to fellow local real estate agents for a private preview. Make it a fancy affair with cocktails (if it’s permitted by law and approved by the homeowner). This type of event is also great for networking with other industry professionals in your area, and it opens the door for collaborating on open houses in the future. 


Follow-up ideas to keep them on the hook

“Without a good follow-up system, an open house is almost pointless,” says Ms. Soucie, who points out that the sign-in sheet is one of the most valuable assets to come out of your open house. It’s a list of warm leads, complete with contact information—use it to your advantage, and follow up with attendees. Some agents reach out right away, while others wait until the next day, depending on the property and the interest level of particular attendees.


27. Send a personalized video message

Ms. Bethke often sits in her car after an open house and goes through her sign-in sheet. “I send a personalized video follow-up message (say their name!) reminding them of the key details of the property.” If the open house was well-attended, it isn’t necessary to send all of the messages immediately after the event, but do prioritize reaching out to very interested parties. 


28. Give them a call

Ms. Soucie prefers to contact attendees by phone the day after the open house. “I follow up with every single person who came through. I’ll either call them to get feedback, or if they’ve provided me with their agent’s business card, I’ll call the agent to see what they thought.” 


29. Send a thank you card

A quick thank you note can go a long way toward keeping the property—and your name and contact information—at the top of a red-hot prospect’s list. Choose a home-themed thank you Card on Paperless Post, like “Red Cabin” or “All the Thanks.” Or, find a Card that carries a deeper message—if a potential buyer was enamored with, say, the pond out back, send “Lily Pads.” You can even snap a picture of the view they admired from the deck and upload your image to a Card like “Photo on Tall.” Whichever design you choose, jot a quick note, and send the Card right away via text or email.


A thank you card with small red paintings of various styles of homes, and words of gratitude in various languages beside a pink envelope with red and white polka dot liner.
All the Thanks” by Mr. Boddington’s Studio for Paperless Post.


Promote your open house with Paperless Post

Thoughtful, engaging open houses help potential buyers remember you and the home, and they make the event enjoyable for everyone. Trying out new real estate open house ideas, whether they involve using technology to your advantage or creating a welcoming atmosphere, can help attract people to your listing—and keep them interested.

Paperless Post makes it easy to get the word out: browse our selection of real estate invitations and professional Flyers, and send them via text, email, or shareable link. Include a photo gallery, or add a link to Google Maps. And once you’ve made the sale and the new homeowners are all settled in, send them a congratulations card so they’ll remember who to call when they’re ready to move again.



Browse Open House Invitations


Hero image via Architectural Digest India.