How to host a creative open house!

Open houses are a hit or miss for many REALTORS®.  Some agents have been known to pass on hosting them altogether.  Why?  Because sometimes, hosting a traditional open house may be a lost art, but never a lost cause.  With some imagination, open houses can actually be quite successful.


But how do you entice people to stroll through that door?  We have rounded up some clever ideas that’ll have even the quietest neighbors signing you praises.  Let’s give them something to talk about, shall we?


For goodness’ sake, don’t holler at visitors like a drill sergeant.  Mimic that behavior by commanding attention.  Turn predictable open house strategies upside down and inside out.  Case in point: food.  There are ways to serve refreshments beyond the typical fruit basket or cheese platter.  Park a cart in the driveway – a hot dog stand, an ice cream cart, even a latte truck will draw in hungry crowds.  If time permits, you can also reach out to local restaurants to provide samples of dishes.  A taste of the town? Sign me up!

To really make your open house the center of attention, try spotlighting other local businesses in a mutually beneficial way.  Invite an art gallery or artist to lend you artwork (great for staging!) and have a rep on hand for purchases.  Or, be ahead of the game and have a lender on hand to pre-qualify buyers.  You could even work with your local book store to showcase some of their newest releases, and invite community book clubs.

Game Day Plays

Winning coaches tend to focus on strategy – winning agents do, too.  At your next open house, play up a theme strategically geared toward your listing.  You might serve up Tex-Mex if the home has an adobe exterior, for example, or play classical music when showing a Victorian style home.

The go-big-or-go-home agent might tie everything into that theme, creating the ultimate game day experience for their guests.  One rather brilliant idea for green home listings is to highlight how the home might be healthy for its next owner.  Offer nutritious snacks, info on the home’s natural materials – you can even hire a nurse to do blood pressure screenings!

Razzle and Dazzle them!

Raffles are a “been there, done that” method for luring in potential buyers, but there are ways to reinvent the wheel on this one.  Instead of offering gift certificates or lottery tickets, partner with a charity (bonus if it’s one close to the heart of your seller) and donate all proceeds from the raffle.  Who doesn’t like helping out a worthy cause?  You might also offer incentives, like small gifts to the first 10 visitors, to reel guests in early.

The Guest Connection

Connect with visitors by making your open house interactive.  Instead of the usual walk-through, give each guest a clipboard questionnaire to solicit their feedback.  Keep it simple; ask them to rate individual rooms, rate the overall feel of the home, rate the home’s curb appeal – whatever you want!  It’ll motivate visitors to view the entire home and notice any features they may have glossed over otherwise.  Plus, it will provide valuable info for you and your sellers.

Bonus Round

A few other ideas that don’t quite fit into the above categories.  Ready? Go!

  • On the day of the open house, place signs at every major intersection en route to your listing.
  • Replace those personal photos with framed images of local landmarks and landscapes
  • If the TV is a focal point, consider looping a DVD that showcases all the area has to offer.
  • Outfit your guests with swag, such as CDs containing a virtual tour of the home or tumblers with a customized logo.


posted: Jul 21, 2016 | No Responses

Posted by:  Melissa Wakamo

When Melissa Wakamo began her real estate career in 2004, her goal was to focus on her immediate area and get to know her neighbors. "I've had a lot of fun over the years helping my neighbors sell their homes and helping newcomers become a part of our community."

Melissa quickly became one of metro Atlanta's top producing agents and consistently performed in the top 1% of all Atlanta agents. By 2009, Melissa's real estate team had grown to include several agents and support staff, dedicated to providing exceptional service to buyers and sellers in Atlanta's intown neighborhoods.

In 2010, Melissa transitioned Red Robin REALTORS® into an independently owned boutique brokerage. Even in the tough real estate market during that time, Red Robin REALTORS® continued to outperform other small brokerages and was able to help buyers and sellers adapt to the rapid changes in the market.

In 2017, Melissa had the opportunity to merge the Red Robin REALTORS team with another like-minded boutique brokerage, Keller Knapp Realty. The two community-focused organizations bring together more than 100 agents, including 3 of the top 10 agents in metro Atlanta. With offices in Oakhurst, Ormewood Park and Midtown, Keller Knapp Realty and Red Robin REALTORS team are the top boutique real estate firm in Atlanta.

In her role as Managing Broker, Melissa provides agent training, marketing and strategic oversight for the Brokerage, ensuring that the brokerage maintains its focus and commitment to the intown market.

Melissa's active participation in various neighborhood organizations and charitable efforts, as well as her passion for antiques, cooking, and gardening, keep her busy and in touch with the community.

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