Can a Homeowner Host an Open House?

A FSBO sign that says open house

by Homepie | Published Feb 1, 2021 | } 7 Minutes

You’ve made the decision to sell your home by owner. Saving thousands by doing it yourself is a smart move.

But now you’re probably thinking—is an open house necessary?

If so, how do I plan for one? Keep reading to find out the answers to all of these questions and more.

The Industry Secret

Before tackling whether or not you need to host an open house, we need to let you in on an industry secret: Open houses generally serve real estate agents more than their clients.

For the typical listing agent, an open house is more about lead generation than it is about showcasing the house.

Think about it. When an agent hosts an open house there is a giant sign in front of the house with their face on it, they hand out flyers and business cards to everyone that comes in, and they talk to everyone and get to know what they are looking for.

For instance, Jim and Kathy hire Chris to be their agent and host an open house in hopes of selling their house. Unbeknown to them, they are paying Chris to promote his own service for 3-4 hours. Sure, a sale might result from an open house. However, this would be a double win for Chris. Not only was he able to make a sale, but he was also able to generate several leads for other potential sales.

Should You Have an Open House as a FSBO Seller?

So, does this mean that if you are listing as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) that you should skip the open house? Not necessarily.

An open house is simply another way to gain exposure. So why not try?

Recently, a couple listed their California home on and decided to host an open house. To draw traffic, they purchased an a-frame sign and placed it at the nearest, busiest intersection. The arrows guided people to their street and the yard sign marked the house. They generated a decent amount of interest, which ultimately led to an offer.

ZTip: For an open house, it’s essential to have a professional For Sale sign displayed in the front yard. You can easily rent one when you list your home on, which includes both the installation and removal service.

An open house just might be the promotion you need to sell your house. Just like an agent, you can also print flyers and distribute them locally to get the word out.

Another benefit of hosting an open house as a FSBO is that you can schedule showings for one day of the week. This not only maximizes your time but is also super convenient as you likely don’t have time to show your house every day of the week.

It also creates a sense of urgency, and people can be motivated to make an offer quickly if they see others viewing your property and are afraid of missing the opportunity.

5 Ways to Prepare for an Open House

Now that you have decided to have an open house, what now? Aside from making sure your house is spotless and tidy, here are five ways to prep for an open house.

A woman opening the curtains getting ready to sell her home

1. Open Blinds and Curtains

You want as much light as possible in the home during a showing. Nobody wants to live in a dark and drab house. By opening all of the blinds and curtains and turning on every light, you make the space bright and cheerful.

2. Add Some Color With Fresh Flowers

Adding flowers to your open house brings life to the space and makes it more appealing. Flowers also make spaces warm and intimate, allowing people to imagine how they would feel living in the home. Keep flowers simple, don’t go overboard. Small bunches or single flowers are a good way to go. You don’t want the flowers to steal the show, but rather enhance the surroundings. The kitchen and family rooms are great places to add flowers.

Stick with flowers that are in season to get the most out of your money. Hyacinths and peonies are in season during the spring months. Gladiolas are a great summer choice. Mums are abundant in the fall, and amaryllis are an excellent winter option. Your local flower shop can give you insights on seasonal flowers and help point you to the most affordable options.

3. Air Out Your Home

You want to make sure the air in the home is refreshing and not stuffy. If you have a pet, this is likely, even more, a necessity. Fragrant candles not only help eliminate bad odors but also offer a sense of warmth and peace, making your home feel more inviting. Choose candles with natural scents and place them in open areas. (Make sure the candles aren’t overpowering, you’re going for a subtle scent.) By airing out your home and adding some air fresheners, you create a fresh and comfortable environment for all your open house guests.

4. Depersonalize

To make it so people viewing your home can imagine themselves living there, it is best to remove all personal items like family photos (look no further than your refrigerator) and monogrammed front doormat. These things can be distracting because people can’t help but look at these things. You want them to focus on the house, not your family and personal interests.

5. Offer Refreshments

Offering cookies and beverages helps get visitors to stop and interact with you and adds a personal touch to the open house. This is an excellent opportunity for you to tell them about the house and its main attractions. Just note, offering refreshments is not currently recommended due to COVID-19 and should also be avoided during flu season.

Schedule & Make It Happen

Having an open house as a FSBO seller can be a helpful promotional strategy. Print some flyers, spread the word, get a sign, clean up your house and yard, and enjoy benefits that an open house can bring you. You can find great resources and tools from Homepie that will aid you in your journey of selling your home yourself.


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