Starting as a new real estate agent at 22 years old was a unique experience—especially as a solo agent. There was no team funneling leads my way, and the majority of my network wasn’t in the buying or selling mindset. So, I decided to commit my weekends to growing my business through open houses. 

As a new agent with no listings and no team, I faced an immediate hurdle: where to host open houses? 

I reached out to experienced agents who were not utilizing open houses on their own listings, offering to do videos of their properties on my social media and perform other marketing tasks to draw attention to their listings. Flash forward one year, and now I have to turn down open house opportunities because there are so many. I still host lots of open houses for other agents, but I also host mega open houses on my own listings that bring in 20+ groups per open house. 

I’m always surprised when I hear agents dismiss open houses because of the time commitment. As a new agent in a difficult market, this was a lead goldmine for me in 2023, providing opportunities for pre-marketing, connecting with neighbors, and social media content, not to mention months’ worth of follow up opportunities. 

And it was worth the effort. In 2023, I earned $75,000 GCI from open houses alone. Here are five things I did to make it happen.

Pre-Marketing Strategy

Circle Dialing 

In the days leading up to the open house, I’d call neighbors to extend an invite to the open house, and I used Remine to pull their contact details. Check what your local MLS offers, but platforms such as Mojo, RedX, and other dialer/CRM systems have the ability to pull neighborhood phone numbers and emails. This wasn’t just about the invitation to the open house; it was an opportunity to ask if they knew anyone interested in moving to the area, followed by a text introduction and property info.

Email blast to the neighborhood

By Friday, I’d send a comprehensive email to the neighborhood featuring the open house details, photos, and descriptions, with a link back to the listing on my personal website. 

Send these emails using your CRM, MailChimp, Constant Contact, Flodesk, or any other email system. With these platforms, you can create a template to use over and over. Here is an example of an open house email from me.

Open House Directional Signs

Directional signs suck, but they are invaluable. I used to complain about putting up these signs—until one open house directional sign got me a $600,000 listing. Placing 5-10 signs, especially along busy roads, significantly increases visitor numbers and potential leads.

Private Listing Network Access

After a visitor has made their way through the house, I find out if they are planning on attending any other properties that day. I also ask the best question for collecting an email or phone number. 

The simple question I ask: “Are you being notified of properties that are in the private network?” 

They usually say no. This is when I offer them a list of properties in the private listing network similar to the open house. It takes a little time to memorize these properties and have them top of mind, but it pays off to show them how caught up you are with the local inventory. 

When they express interest in seeing homes in the private listing network, I ask if they entered their email when they signed into the open house. If they did, I confirm it with them, but if they did not, I get their email and find out the location they are interested in and their criteria.

Value Items = Future Appointments

No one leaves my open house empty-handed. I provide that weekend’s list of local open houses and properties within a similar price range, ensuring my contact details are front and center. It’s a stapled packet with a cover page, and the following pages are directly from the MLS. 

Additionally, I provide a “goodie bag” as they are leaving. I keep it very simple. A white gift bag with my business card tied on it, and inside I include a snack, candy, a personal branded item, and a $5 Starbucks gift card (this is optional). 

Guests are always surprised by these items, and it shocks me that more Realtors don’t offer them. The “Open House List” is an amazing value add item, and my information is on the cover so they will continue to remember me as they go to other open houses that weekend.

Follow Up Strategy—Text, Email and Call

Conversion happens in the follow up. Immediately after the open house, I send a follow up text or video. Video messages work for some people, but I have found that text has the highest response rate for me. Speed is the most important part of this follow up. If I only have their email, I send a follow-up message the same day. Here is what I say in the text, video, or email message:

Hi ___, 

This is Katie Kenny from the open house today at 123 Main St. Thanks for stopping by, I really enjoyed meeting you. If there are any other homes you might be interested in, either on the market or in the Private Network, let me know, and we can schedule a time to see them. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about this house or want to talk about any others! 

Have a great rest of your weekend, 

Katie Kenny 

Real Broker 

On Monday, I call attendees (unless they asked me not to) to gather feedback on the home. I also ask for feedback on the other open houses they saw that weekend. This call is when I continue to build a relationship with them, picking up from our last conversation during the open house. Most people I meet at open houses don’t transact for at least a month, usually more. When I call, I always offer a home equity report if they currently have a home too. I turn those home equity reports into CMAs when people express interest in selling within the next two years. 

Whether or not I receive a response from the open house guests via phone, text, or email, I send an email or text early in the week with two or three other homes in the MLS or private network that match their criteria. Persistence is key, but it’s always about adding value, not being pushy. 

If neighbors stopped by the open house, I reach out to them as the listing status changes. (I also do this via circle dialing for neighbors who did not attend the open house.) This is a great way to stay in contact with neighbors and leverage a single open house to generate seller leads around the neighborhood. 

Ultimately, my open house objective is not to convert a consumer into a client during the 10 minutes they are in the house. My goal is to have genuine conversations with people, knowing that in order to sell more homes, I have to get in front of more homeowners and talk about real estate. Open houses are a foundational element in my business to create these new conversations.