The Art of the Open House

The Art of The Open House

* Please note that Covid protocols have changed the way homes are shown to potential buyers for the time being. The information on this blog assumes that open houses will someday function in the same way they have in the past.


Approximately half of buyers (47%) and sellers (53%) said that during the current pandemic, relying upon a real estate professional when searching for or selling a home is much more important than before.” (National Association of Realtors)


The history of the open house

The first recorded open house was held In the 1910s. Back then, an open house lasted days, and sometimes weeks, allowing potential buyers the opportunity to see a home’s technology (ie, electricity) and conveniences. Sunday became the standard day to hold an open house in the 1950s, and agents even began including incentives. “In 1952, a Dallas Realtor® selling a model home in a new subdivision offered free soft drinks to visitors and a Cadillac to the lucky buyer. A whopping 30,000 people visited the open house.” (  


How successful are open houses?

Not much has changed in the past 70 years; open houses are a superb opportunity to make your home available for easy viewing by prospective buyers, buyers’ agents, and neighbors who might know buyers—and to present it in its best possible light. Though the majority of potential home buyers do their research online, an open house can show features and the layout of a property to people in person, and without an appointment. That means you can visit several homes and compare multiple properties in just one day. Buyers are able to ask questions directly to the listing agent or agent hosting the open house. They may also feel they can gauge interest level on the property based on the traffic at the open house. Open houses also allow buyers to view homes casually, and often this is a good way for buyers to start to understand the market and what they like. 


How to prepare for an open house

There is a skill to the preparation and marketing of open houses, and an art in the way to engage with the people who come in your front door. This first impression is vitally important to achieving the best price and terms of sale. It’s also not as simple as cleaning up the house and opening the door; a lot of work goes on behind the scenes and in preparation. Knowing the local inventory is key so you know what else buyers are looking at; you can talk about those homes intelligently and how they compare. In non-covid times, we tour at least 30 properties every Tuesday so that we can understand our competition and make sure we are pricing homes correctly to begin with.

Here is The Krishnan Team’s to-do list to prepare for a successful open house:


  1. Email announcement to all San Francisco agents. (This is twice a week—once as a reminder for the weekend and once as a reminder for our brokers tour).
  2. Email our client list and sphere of influence. (2500+ people)
  3. Run social media ads on Facebook and Instagram. Part of good marketing starts with the images you have to market; we recommend top stagers to prep the home so we can capture beautiful images that we can use in advertising. Remember, the first time someone steps into your home it is often virtually. If you don’t make a strong enough impression, you won’t get them there to begin with.
  4. Post open house date and time to MLS and Compass, which feed the information to hundreds of other real estate websites.
  5. Geotargeting around the location of the home so that any buyers visiting other similar properties in the area receive an online advertisement for this listing.
  6. Update the dedicated property-showcase website.
  7. Order color property statements and brochures if needed.
  8. Order financing-options outlines from the mortgage broker.
  9. Pull updates on competitive listings and comparable sold homes.
  10. Prepare and make copies of the comprehensive property-disclosure package.
  11. Create a package of informational materials for home buyers.
  12. Purchase light snacks, beverages, fresh flowers, as appropriate.
  13. Post directional A-frames around the neighborhood to direct traffic to the house; leave driveway open for visitor parking. We typically put out 10 signs and have found these signs do drive traffic.
  14. Arrive early to make sure home is clean and leaves or trash are swept up out front.   Turn on lights, open drapes, turn on music, ensure valuables are out of view and the home is ready to be shown in its best possible light.
  15. Greet and welcome visitors at the door, get their names, qualify them as much as possible, and provide information on the home and neighborhood.
  16. Circulate to maintain security and answer questions.
  17. Ensure the house is securely locked upon leaving.
  18. Follow-up calls to buyers, and agents of buyers who expressed interest; solicit feedback from agents.
  19. Call the client with an update regarding market response.


The value of a good listing agent

The open house is typically the first time a prospective buyer sees your home; it’s vital that your listing agent markets it comprehensively and presents it impeccably. You can read more about the value of a good listing agent on our blog. And, head over to How to Hire the Best Real Estate agent in San Francisco to learn more about what makes a great agent. At the Krishnan Team, we are experts at helping people buy and sell homes in San Francisco, and we are always ready to help. Have questions? Reach out to us! Call us at 415-735-5867 for a no-obligation consultation. You can also email us at

February 23, 2021
Selling a Home
previous next