Fred Griffin: Are You Marketing You Yourself The Agent at your Open House?

Are You Marketing You Yourself The Agent at your Open House?

     Open House Visitors are not just previewing the House.  They are also previewing You, the Real Estate Agent!  What will people think about YOU when they arrive at your Open House?

     Will you stand out in the crowd of Agents that they meet that afternoon?  Will they look forward to seeing YOU again?  What are the chances that your Open House Visitors will become your Clients or Customers?



Open House Sign




     A few weeks ago I visited several Open Houses.  I made mental notes of how the Agents received people.  I considered the cleanliness of the House.  I looked to see what kinds of Flyers or Handouts were available.  I observed whether or not any Refreshments were served. 


     Here are my Observations:


Open House For Sale in Tallahassee Florida



     The Attitude of the Open House Agent:

     Most Agents were happy to see people coming in the door, they were cordial and lively.  But one Agent chatted on his cell phone, ignoring the Buyers walking into the house.  Another Real Estate Agent appeared bored; she looked like she would rather be somewhere else.  Why bother to even show up, if you don't want to be there?

     People stayed longer at the Open Houses where the Agents were friendly, chatty, and personable.

     What about you?  Are you pleasant, positive, and alert at your Open House?  Do you reach out to people and make them feel at Home?  


      The Condition of the Open House:

    Most of the Open Houses I saw were clean and tidy and set up for Showing.  But I saw one house with dirty dishes in the sink!  The Agent said, "Can you believe that?  The Seller left those... surely she doesn't think that I am going to clean up that mess!"  I thought, "At least throw them in the dishwasher - because YOU the Agent look bad showing a house with a dirty kitchen!"

    Another Open House was worn-out and beat, very dirty.  But the Price was at the top of the Comps, and it was advertised as "Shangri-La".  Once again, a poor reflection on the Real Estate Agent.  Why didn't they promote it as the Fixer-Upper that it is?

     To whom are you marketing this Open House?  If you gave the impression that it would make a great personal residence, but in reality it is going to be a low-end rental at best, what will the Visitors think about you, the Agent, when they see the house?


    Flyers and Handouts:


      People often want something in their hand when they walk through the house.  Or, they want a Flyer as a reminder or "souvenir" to take home. 

     I asked one Agent if he used Flyers (there were none in sight).  He replied, "Flyers?  I can't waste money on Paper - besides, people just throw those things away."  No, not everyone throws them away.  Even if they only hold your Flyer for a moment, your Photo and your Name and your Company Info will be in front of them! 

          What can your Guests take away when they leave?  Yes, we live in the Digital Age, but is there something Tangible that they can hold on to as a remembrance?


     Food and Drink:

       People will stop and linger if you have cookies or light snacks.  If you serve drinks in Cups as opposed to bottled water, they will be more apt to stay in the house and drink, and not just walk out to the car with the unopened water bottle and drive away. 

     * Remember to print your Name, Phone Number, Company Info, etc. on the Paper Napkins and on the Plastic Cups! 

     If you are holding a Luxury or High-End Open House, consider hiring a Caterer.  Serve drinks in real glasses, offer hors d'oeuvres.  If you cannot budget for a Caterer, have an Assistant oversee the refreshments.  That will free you up to show the House! 



Tallahassee House For Sale




    YOU the Real Estate Agent are "On Stage" as much as the house that you are holding Open!  Your Attitude, your Personal Appearance, the accuracy of the advertisement or Internet promo - they will affect what people think about YOU!   Did you give them a "Memory Jogger" like a Flyer or MLS Printout?  Did you give them Food and Drink, and take time to chat with them?   


Open House Signs Fred Griffin Real Estate Tallahassee, Florida


     Open House Visitors are grading You, the Real Estate Agent! 

     Will you stand out in the crowd of Agents they meet that afternoon?  Will they look forward to seeing YOU again?  What are the chances that your Open House Visitors will become your Clients or Customers?



Market Yourself - Market the House!





Frederick Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker    850-545-1901


Tallahassee Florida Metropolitan Area

Exclusive Representation for Buyers and Sellers 

Call Fred  850-545-1901


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Frederick Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker    850-545-1901


Disclaimer:  Nothing in the above blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.


Comment balloon 52 commentsFred Griffin • July 26 2013 08:09PM


Hi Fred, what a great post!  I hold open houses every Sunday and I do everything that you have on your list except provide beverages.  I think I will stop at the store before my open house snd get some small water bottles.  I already have labels made to put on them.  Thanks for the tipa and suggestions!

Posted by Karen Johnson, Realtor, ABR, "Bucks County PA Homes" (Addison Wolfe Real Estate ) almost 5 years ago

Hi, Karen.   Have a great Open House this Sunday!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

It's been seven years since I held an Open House and I don't go to them either.  So I don't have much to add to your excellent post except SUGGESTED for those who do hold Open Houses.

Posted by John McCormack,, Albuquerque Homes Realty (Albuquerque Homes Realty * almost 5 years ago

Great point.. dirty dishes at an open house becomes your responsibility if you are the agent. . and it reflects on your company .


Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) almost 5 years ago

I'm shocked that there are agents holding open houses without flyers. Would-be buyers come through, in some cases, dozens of homes in one day. Giving them a flyer with photos and key points, plus your name and contact info, is the only way to make your home stand out!

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) almost 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing your tips for a successful open house.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 5 years ago

We don't do many open houses, but when we do, we really show up.  

As far as those agents that looked bored and were chatting on their cell phone...  my guess is that that HAD to be there.  Not good.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) almost 5 years ago

Isn't this Dale Carnegie Sales Training 101 ? 

Posted by James S. almost 5 years ago

Every market is so so different in real estate. Open houses not done at all in small rural markets far from urban centers and videos for round the clock, open houses on demand for out of state buyers happen. Available on the buyer's time in whatever solar system, no matter what the weather or time or day or night. Hit thousands not a handful volume thinking for more exposure, larger reach market with a twist of frequency works best in our corner of the world.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) almost 5 years ago


These are all great points. As real estate agents, we are on public view far more than most of the general public. Those first impressions count for a lot.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 5 years ago

Fred, a very good recipe for insuring a successful open house. The agent is always the first impression when walking into an open house.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 5 years ago

Thanks, John!


Fernando, Good Morning. Well Said!


Thank you, Wayne and Jean - a Flyer is critical to market the house - and the Agent.


Good morning, Gita!


Amanda and Jared - I like your saying: "We really show up!"


James - my Dad gave me Dale Carnegie's book when I was 16 years old. It should be mandatory reading for everyone!


Andrew - our Listings are indeed Open Houses to the World, 24/7, if we properly market them on the Internet. Thanks for stopping by!


Richard, one of my early Mentors stressed to me that "We Agents are always in the Public View". Thanks for your comment. Michael, Good Morning!


Michael - first impressions are everything.

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Good Morning!! This is some great Info for all doing open houses,  keep up the good work and good luck with your business,  E

Posted by Ed & Tracy Oliva, The Oliva Team Arizona Agents (West USA Realty - Arizona) almost 5 years ago

A great reminder to all agents that in reality whenever we are "in public" we are marketing ourselves and we need to make sure we are sending the right message.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) almost 5 years ago

I do hold open houses.  We know most don't sell the house that is being marketed but it's an excellent way to show potential buyers and sellers that you know how to market a home and show off you as well as the house.

Having said that, if the house is not clean and neat, you have a bigger problem because that's how it will look for showings.  That conversation with the sellers should have happened at listing.  Next, handouts must be neat and professional looking.  Give out area information and buyer tips, too!  Food is good but be sure it's not stainable food.  It keeps people talking to you and looking at the home. 

I never hesitate to do open houses, when needed.

Posted by Dee Toohey, Broker, ABR, AHWD, CIPS, FMS, ePro (Innovative Realty Solutions Group) almost 5 years ago

Excellent post. There are a lot of points for me to ponder here. Excellent feature.

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) almost 5 years ago
Fred, you are spot-on with this topic and constructive blog. Dirty dishes in the sink. Come on now; it's time or that agent to take ownership of his listing, or find another occupation.
Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) almost 5 years ago

Fred:  Congrats on the Feature!!  And wise words and great suggestions.  For those agents that find that Open Houses are still a viable part of their marketing plan ... why would you decide to host one then do it poorly?  That says more about the agent then it does the house ...  


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) almost 5 years ago

Great points. Why do an open house if you're not going to do it well?  Not putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher is just wrong.

Posted by Debra Hight, Debra Hight (Coldwell Banker United, Realtors) almost 5 years ago

Fred, I don't think some times Agents/Realtors realize that when a house is not ready for showing, that it is a reflection on them as much as the home owner.  Maybe even more so.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 5 years ago

All real estate agents need to properly handles an Open House. Great points!

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) almost 5 years ago

We very rarely hold Open Houses anymore. But, it's true, we have been to some where the agent is chatting on the phone the whole time potential buyers are walking around!

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) almost 5 years ago

garaughty, abstract art, graphic design, WordPress consultant

Posted by marti garaughty, a highly caffeinated creative type... ( almost 5 years ago


    Thanks, Marti!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Fred --  I have been 'interviewed' by prospective sellers --- not buyers---- at open houses and have booked listings because they like the way I handled the open house.  It's not just buyers who are taking notice as to how an open house is run. 

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) almost 5 years ago
Engage with open house visitors. Time flies quickly, you're bound to find someone for a follow-up contact.'s more fun than just putting in time.
Posted by Lottie Kendall, Serving San Francisco and the Silicon Valley (Pacific Union International) almost 5 years ago

Fred, there are some great suggestions here. I've never had much luck with snacks. People here just don't seem to eat them. I have even prepared delicious home-made chocolate cookies one time. Busy open house but not one person took a cookie. Except for me, when no one was around.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 5 years ago

Great stuff here.  I've seen disengaged agents (talking on their cell phone, studying for a nursing exam and did look up from her book).  I am a big fan of open houses, and love to harvest buyers from them.

Posted by Gary Frimann, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) almost 5 years ago

I make a point at our open houses to not be as they say "cheesy."  I clearly introduce myself, have them sign in, grab a candy and info on the house and comps and let them make their way through the home at their pace.  I will shadow them slightly to be there for questions and point out anything fantastic they may have missed.  But, the main thing I find, is that people want to primarily be left alone to imagine themselves in the house.  Not to imagine themselves in the house with an agent following them around.

Posted by Jay & Michelle Lieberman, Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos (Keller Williams World Class) almost 5 years ago

Smile, welcome and show the home.  That's what the agent is there for, to sell the home they're holding open. 

Open house selling can work if the agent is there to sell the home and not prowl for buyers.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Field research data is always down to earth and very valuable too..Well done here and thank you

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 5 years ago

I built my business on doing open houses every weekend! Not only did I pick up many buyers, (I see nothing wrong with that as long as the seller is ok with it!) but I actually sold one here and there, in addition to picking up many listings in that neighborhood and area!

Posted by Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate, Certified Residential Specialist (ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS CDPE almost 5 years ago

Love this reminder!  All good points to remember and execute. Thank you

Posted by Jeff Fisher, RE/MAX Fine Properties (RE/MAX Fine Properties) almost 5 years ago

HA HA HA Lenn thinks listing agents are there to market and sell their clients' home during an Open House . . . {insert sarcasm here}

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 5 years ago

I focus on preparation, and providing those that take the time to visit with information, fliers, health dept files, plat, etc about that house. No sign in books asking for names, #, or emails. My contact info is with the info package, and they can contat me later if they think of any questions. I usually also give them a pen, and ask them to write down any questions they have while they are touring the house, then I can answer their questions before they leave if they want me to. ( of course they are welcome to keep the pen with my name and contact info on it).

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) almost 5 years ago

Thank you, Everyone !

Lenn - and Carla - tomorrow I have an Open House.  Granted, selling that House is my Number One Objective!   However, I am always happy to meet Buyers, even if they choose another Property.  Any Sellers who stop by to preview the house will also get my full Attention. 

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Fred, This was a great post, with some very good suggestions.  In particular, it is very important to give "something" to the visitors to walk away with.

Posted by Bette Gottwald, "Bet"on Central PA Real Estate! (UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA) almost 5 years ago

Hey Fred,

Thank you for the pointers abou a great Open House!  After reading your post, I will do a better job with my Open House appointments.  Best of GREAT success to you always!

Posted by Jordon Wheeler, J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service (The Jordon Wheeler Group) almost 5 years ago

Selling the house is what I am there to do. Hoping to sell one tomorrow!

I have sent messages to the other agents to send their buyers.


Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) almost 5 years ago

The open house should be all about "them", the visitors and not about "you" , the agent.  You're more likely to secure those visitors as clients by focusing on them and giving them your time and attention.  If they can't succeed in getting your attention for just that short visit to your open, then they don't beleive they'll have your attention during their home buying process.

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) almost 5 years ago

Good Evening Fred,

Thanks for your comment on my post...I appreciate it.  This is definitely an excellent post that All Serious realtors should be paying attention.  I'll definitely bookmark it

Posted by C. Lloyd McKenzie, Living Albuquerque almost 5 years ago

In one of my condo open house events a couple showed up from a neighboring building.  We had a great time talking about the unit and the marketing materials I had available for visitors. Turns out that they were out for the afternoon, just passing the time, while their agent held their unit open.  Little did the agent know that they were watching what was going at their open house from the windows of my open house unit. 

Posted by Karen Winters, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff, Chicago, IL (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Koenig Rubloff Realty Group - Chicago, IL) almost 5 years ago

Great, great post, Fred (again)! My favorite line is "you the Real Estate Agent are "on stage" as much as the house you are holding open!" Perfect answer to why we need to do some of the things we don't really WANT to do when holding an open house.


Posted by Emcee M. Arah, Realtor w/Architectural Dimension, CRS, CDPE, CIAS (Remax Excellence - Silver Spring, MD) almost 5 years ago

Thanks Fred for the great idea that will lead to business for sure, best of luck and have a great weekend. 

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) about 4 years ago

Fred, this is a terrific post, and right on point.  We as agents should stage ourselves and our props as carefully as we advise out clients to stage the homes we are selling. 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Hey, Fred!  I included this post in today's edition of Last Week's Favorites on ActiveRain.  And Happy New Year!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Absolutely excellent advice, Fred Griffin - ALL agents who do open houses should be REQUIRED to read this!   HAPPY NEW YEAR, Fred!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 1 year ago

Happy New Year to you!  I Hope you have a wonderful, happy one!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) over 1 year ago

Patricia Kennedy 

   Thanks for featuring my blog post, Pat.

     *** Happy New Year 2017 to you!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 1 year ago

 Debe Maxwell 

  Thank you, Debe.

   Have a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Kristin Johnston - REALTOR® 

  Hi, Kristin.

   Thank you, and the same to you... have a great NEW YEAR in 2017!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 1 year ago


This is a terrific post, and despite being a few years old I don't think anything you had to say has changed. It's all about the basics of running an effective Open House and being someone buyers will be impressed with versus being turned off. And what about that client you are representing?!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 1 year ago