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Hosting an open house to sell your home

Hosting an open house is a fairly recent property marketing technique to make its way to the UK. You will need to weigh up the pros and cons before you decide whether it is right for you or not, but remember – nothing ventured, nothing gained! If you think you’d like to give it a try, we have the lowdown on how to make it work for you.

Hosting an open house to sell your home

What is an ‘Open House’?

An open house is a type of ‘mass marketing’ for your home, when a person selling a property sets aside a few hours to allow potential buyers to view their home, without the need for a specific appointment.

The estate agent informs all their contacts that are looking for similar properties and usually anybody can attend, but some agents require visitors to put their names down beforehand so they know exactly who’s coming through the door, which can help if you have concerns about security.

What are the advantages of hosting an open house?

Your home is exposed to more people than if you just hold viewings alone, as many people will be able to visit simultaneously.

People are often drawn to a property because it ‘just feels right,’ but this sensation is practically impossible to educe from pictures on the internet, and sometimes photographs on an estate agent’s website just don’t show your home to its full potential. If your house isn’t photogenic it might be harder to get people to make an appointment and experience its appeal first hand, but an open house event can draw in passers-by who are looking for a new home but haven’t seen yours on the market yet.

Visitors will be able to view your property without the pressure of being the only people there.
Seeing that other people are attracted to the same property can impel viewers to make an offer sooner rather than later.

Hopefully, you will be able to get all your viewings over and done with in just one day.


Need great marketing shots? Read our tips on how to take great photos to sell your home.


What are the disadvantages of hosting an open house?

You may attract time wasters, or people who just want to be nosy. However, if somebody comes to look at your home, they must be there for some reason, so there is always even a small chance that they will fall in love with it and decide to move house even if they previously didn’t intend to, or they might tell somebody else about your property if they are impressed.

You may feel that security is an issue. Your estate agent will be there to oversee proceedings, but you can also be present if you wish, not only to answer guests’ questions, but also to keep a (subtly) watchful eye on visitors to make sure they don’t pry or try to take anything.

It will not be an easy job, and you will need to prepare thoroughly. Your home will need to be spotlessly clean, and all your personal possessions should be stowed away out of sight.

Tips for a successful open house

  • Choose a convenient time. If you want to maximise the potential of selling your home with an open house, you will need to make sure that you attract as many visitors as possible. The best time to host an open house is at the weekend when most people will have free time to come and browse.

  • Publicise the event. Make sure you advertise your open house as much as you can. Place a sign outside your home, and ask your estate agent to update your property listing and to inform every potential buyer that they forward your details to.

  • Make the property particulars available. Have a pile of property details and energy performance ratings ready for your guests to pick up on the way in, but also place some further inside your home in case they missed them the first time round.

  • Hide precious items. This is very important as thieves can be opportunistic, so make sure that all your valuable items are well hidden.

  • Viewers don’t need refreshments. Viewers should be there to view the property, not have a quick snack, so don’t distract them with nibbles.

  • Ask visitors what they think. It is always useful to get feedback, so ask your guests what they liked and disliked about your home; looking at your home with a fresh pair of eyes, who knows what useful suggestions they may have. It can also help to open up a dialogue between you which could even lead to a sale. Ask your estate agent for feedback too, as they may also be able to give you a helpful hint or two, or your guests may have made other comments to them that you weren’t privy to.


Do you have any questions about selling your home? Our Property Professors are here to help!


Comments (2)

  • movers and packers

    posted on 19 Sep 2012

    Open houses. The professional real estate community appears split on whether it's a good idea to hold open a house for sale; although, I don't really understand the negative thoughts. It doesn't make sense to blatantly announce that no house should ever be held open, yet agents say it. Why would an agent want to restrict market exposure for a listing?

    Sell Property Fast Manchester

    posted on 17 Jul 2017

    Thanks for these tips. One more tips is don’t forget to clean your front door, it can make a huge difference. Also don't set price too high or too low; do your research to get an idea of asking prices in your local area.

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