If you’ve decided to sell your home “for sale by owner” (FSBO), you have full control over the sale, including the necessity of hosting an open house.
While some may disagree with hosting an open house due to a low rate of sale conversions. I find it to be immensely important for any listing.
In this article, we’re going to go over the following six simple steps that will help you host an open house on your own:
- Create a property sheet.
- Stage the home.
- Buy snacks.
- Start a marketing campaign.
- Be an amazing host.
- Follow up with your visitors.
Let’s dive in.
1. Create a Property Sheet
There’s more to a home than meets the eye. For those of us who like to see the intricate details, a property sheet is a requirement.
Property sheets are common among real estate agents who host open houses. They’re easy and effective in letting visitors know everything about the property.
You can use premade templates on Microsoft Word or Canva to build a property sheet.
The main features you’ll want to list are:
- Property description
- Photo of the front of the property
- HOA fees (if applicable)
- Deed references
- Property tax rate
- Appliances you’re conveying
- Square footage
- Special features
- School zone
- Your contact info
Print about 10-15 of these sheets so that you don’t run out. Make sure everyone that comes gets at least one.
2. Stage the Home
One of the best things you can do for your home is staging it.
Staging is the process of using your own or renting new furniture, and positioning it in a fashion that evokes a lifestyle buyers are searching for.
Most buyers are looking for homes that fit their lifestyles. Staging brings a new life to a home and gives a clearer vision to the buyer.
This process is especially important in the luxury market, but it can be crucial for a quick sale in the general market as well.
You’ll want to make sure that your home is in tip-top shape for your open house. Make sure your furniture is positioned in the best fashion possible, your knickknacks aren’t visually overpowering, and create as much natural light as possible.
Because you’re selling FSBO, it might be beneficial for you to bring in a professional staging company to evaluate what’s best for your home.
Either way, don’t overlook the benefits of staging.
3. Buy Snacks
Treats are the best way to attract visitors.
There are tons of open houses every weekend. Your job is to find a way to stand out.
Most real estate agents are not bringing snacks to their open houses. So, in the spirit of competition, do what your rivals don’t do!
But there’s more to it. Think about your home.
What sort of snacks do you think would run well for the price range you’re in? What type of buyer are you trying to attract?
If I’m hosting an open house for a luxury home, I’m bringing wine and cheese. Not because buyers in the lower price ranges don’t like wine and cheese.
It’s more a matter of the people who are going to luxury open houses are used to their hosts providing them with wine and cheese or other “higher-end” treats.
It’s targeted marketing.
For lower price ranges, freshly baked cookies are a hit and go farther than wine and cheese.
I also recommend having a bowl of mints. People like myself appreciate that.
4. Start a Marketing Campaign
What the point of offering snacks if no one shows up?
I chuckle sometimes when I hear about Realtors who brought all kinds of goodies to their open house, only for no one to show up.
They always say “no one showed up and I bought all these treats! I don’t like open houses!”
My response is always “did you market the open house?”
The answer is usually “no”.
If there’s anything you need to understand about real estate sales and business in the modern age is that marketing is the lifeblood of any company.
Without it, no one knows about you or what you’re doing.
It’s extremely important as a FSBO that you begin marketing your home with a sophisticated plan of action that can create results.
Check out my ultimate FSBO guide for a full-fledged step-by-step marketing plan.
As for open house marketing, besides scheduling an open house on your Zillow listing, there’s more you can do.
Put an Open House Sign in Your Yard
I’m sure you’ve already placed a “for sale” sign in the yard. Now, you just need to put an open house sign in the yard.
You can find these in the store or online. Make sure you accurately state the day you’re hosting the open house with the proper times. Also, make sure it’s visible.
You can also take the extra step of putting up directional signs throughout your neighborhood. Three tend to be enough.
Use Facebook Ads
I will never stop recommending Facebook Ads as a method of creating true results.
It’s a great opportunity for small and large businesses to reach audiences or even folks like you who just want to sell their home.
The best way you can use these ads is to create a page for your property.
On Facebook, navigate to the Create button. Select “Page”.
On the next page, choose “Community or Public Figure”.
Once you have a property page, make a post announcing your open house with the details of your home, the time and date, and the snacks you’re offering.
When you post it, you’ll see a “Boost Post” button. Click it.
You’ll open up a screen that will allow you to create an ad. Make sure you select the “Housing” option under the “Special Ad Category”.
Facebook protects individuals from discriminatory targeting by forcing you to choose this option per the Fair Housing Act.
Set your budget, the number of days you’ll run the ad, and you’re finished.
Your ad will create lots of exposure for your open house which should lead directly to more visitors.
Tell Your Neighbors
Hopefully, you live in a friendly neighborhood.
If not, this part of the plan won’t break you.
But if you do live in a close-knit subdivision, you might want to spread the word about your open house to neighbors.
At this point, everyone is a potential buyer of your home, and it’s your job as a FSBO to find them.
You can make fancy flyers and pass them out to each door in your area. Or, knock on their door and strike up a conversation. You might make a new friend!
Whatever you do, do NOT put anything in their mailboxes manually. It’s illegal and comes with a hefty fine.
5. Be an Amazing Host
Attracting visitors is half the battle.
The other half is hosting and selling.
The easiest way to create a sale is to be the best host of an open house ever.
But what makes the greatest host ever? Here are my exclusive steps:
- Be ready at the door for ALL new visitors to greet and welcome them inside.
- Direct them to your treats and property sheets.
- Say “feel free to look around and let me know if you need anything”.
- Leave them alone for two minutes. This allows them to lower their guard as they get acquainted with the home.
- Start a conversation with them. I usually ask where they’re from to break the ice.
- They’ll start asking questions about the house now. Answer completely, but don’t try overselling them.
- Let them walk you through the house. Point out features that you love.
- At the end of the tour, if they miss anything you think they might like, show them. By this point, you usually have an idea of what they’re looking for.
- Ask them “so what do you like about it? What don’t you like?”
- Feel them out on their attitude towards buying it.
- Get their contact info or let them know that your info is on the property sheet.
- Thank them and send them on their way.
I’ve used those exact steps in every open house I’ve ever hosted.
I get a lead every single time and have had clients request to come back for a second private showing.
Not every person is going to bite. In fact, most won’t. Don’t let that discourage you.
Hosting an open house is better than not hosting an open house. It’s a numbers game.
6. Follow Up
Real estate agents are trained to master the game of follow up. Yet, most fall short.
For you to sell your house. You must be relentless.
For every visitor that provides you with their contact information, you need to be following up with them the next day.
Send a simple email like:
I appreciate you attending the open house yesterday! I hope you enjoyed the cookies!
Just wanted to make sure you have my contact info. Let me know if you need anything or want to schedule a second showing.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your week!
[your contact info]
A simple message like that covers a lot of points.
First, you’re following up with them, which makes you look awesome.
Second, you’re being very open about wanting to sell your house and would love to have them step forward. Sometimes being direct is the best method.
Third, you’re providing them your contact information for the second time, which means you’ve done the best you can at staying in touch.
If you really want to be a rockstar. In two weeks, if you still haven’t heard from them, email them again, this time asking about their home search.
Send a message like:
Hope everything is going well. How’s the home search going?
Just wanted to let you know that we recently reduced the price of our home by [amount]. We’re excited to get it sold.
Have a wonderful day!
No, it’s not creepy or weird to keep sending follow up emails, as long as you’re not spamming anyone.
The leaky wheel gets the oil, and if you don’t have an agent following up for you, then it’s your job.
Follow up wins every time.
Hosting an open house by yourself isn’t nearly as hard as you would think.
Sure, the odds of selling your home due to an open house is low. But low odds are better than no odds.
Invest a few dollars into an open house and see what comes out of it. You might end up with a sale.
Of course, if you have any questions feel free to email me or leave a comment below.