An open house is a good way to get more people in your home at one time. It can capture Realtors with their clients, independent buyers, neighbors curious and people who are driving by. To hold an open house, even with the help of your Realtor (if you have one – if not, feel free to call Mitten Realty Group, LLC at 248-294-7850 – yes, an early plug of the business!!), takes effort and planning. You do this because the first impression people get, is the impression they will keep. It is much harder to get a potential buyer to see a house twice they did not connect with.

Curb Appeal: Make sure that you have the landscaping done before the open house – yard mowed, garden raked and cleaned up (fresh flowers are nice if they are in season), look for chipping paint, unclean gutters, remove excess items from yard, porch and driveways.

Lawns can be especially important to some buyers. If you have bare spots you can throw down seed a couple weeks before home goes on market or first open house. Fill in holes where animals may have dug as well. Simple things can fix a problem before a buyer sees it.

Interior: The inside of the home should be extra clean. If you can hire a professional cleaner that can come in the morning of or day before, this will help get you to showroom perfection. If you have pets, this is even more important. People with pets tend to not smell them, but it is there, no matter how clean you normally are. Cleaning should include the appliances, cupboards and the closets. People open everything when they are looking at a house.

You will want to remove excess clutter from around the house. This distracts from the home and the buyers tend to also get distracted. Counter tops, floors, tables, dressers and closets should be free of clutter. In fact, you should try to reduce the amount of stuff in the closets to show how bog they are. A packed walk in closet can seem small if jammed with stuff.

While you are reducing the clutter, remove personal items. This includes photos on the wall – family and kids pictures included and kids’ artwork on the walls and fridge. It may have been the best Mona Lisa macaroni craft, but it should be stored away for the next home. Buyers want to see themselves in the home or their kids. By taking away the personalization you have, they can start to visualize their stuff in the home.

Valuables should be locked away as well. We all want to believe the best in people, but not all people, no matter what they seem like, are good people. People tend to get overly comfortable at open houses and open drawers and you do not want something of value to disappear.

Pets: We have discussed getting the home clean of the pet smell and hair, but pets should not be at an open house. It does not matter if it is the friendliest pet in the world, a pet can turn off some potential buyers. You also do not want the chance of something happening – a potential buyers or Realtor while in the house getting bit or scratched. People are sue happy these days. Pets in aquariums and cages that cannot be moved are fine. You may want to put a “DO NOT TOUCH” sign on them.

Promote Open House: if you are using a Realtor, ask them how they are getting out the word. The Realtor should be using the MLS to post open houses, which feeds to many thousands of sites. They also should be doing email blasts, social media posts and calling other brokers and Realtors. On the day of the open house, your Realtor should be putting directional signs from major roads to lead people to the open house.

As the homeowner, you should also use your social media, especially if you have a neighborhood or community page you are involved with. People in your neighborhood are great sources of buyers. They may know family or friends looking to move into the area.

Never be afraid to ask your Realtor how they are promoting. They do work for you, they are getting paid with your equity, so you should know. It will help you understand the process and reduce some of your stress.

Day of Open House: The day of the open house, all the windows of your homes should have their blinds raised. The Realtor (and maybe even the homeowner) should turn on all the lights in every room, along with open every door. During the times we are in, this reduces the amount of touching in your home. With the permission of the homeowner, the Realtor should have cookies and water. People like to snack!! What would even be better is if the Realtor used the oven to make the cookies to allow for that smell to fill the house. If not, there is always candles or plug-ins to do the same thing.


The homeowner should not be at the open house if possible. Let the Realtor be there to help guide the potential buyers or other Realtors. They know how to interact with them.

After the Open House: Your Realtor should have had a sign in sheet at the open house. The Realtor will follow up with everyone who signed in to get feedback and see if there is any interest. Here is where you as the homeowner must keep an open mind. The feedback is not personal, it is about the house and the needs of the potential buyers. Listen to the feedback. If there are changes that can be made to improve the home for other showings and open houses, the feedback is where these suggestions will come from.

In the end, the goal of all open houses is to get the home sold. These are some basic steps to making sure your open house is effective. We wish you luck on getting to the closing table.

If you have a question about buying or selling your home, please reach out to Joseph Walter Realty at 248-294-7849 or via email at

Thank you,

Scott Fader and Gary Brincat
Joseph Walter Realty

Joseph Walter Realty is a veteran owned company located in Michigan. Scott Fader and Gary Brincat are two of Michigan’s multi-million-dollar top producers. They have been working in real estate as brokers, Realtors, investors, property managers and real estate company owners for over 20 years. Together they would like to share their experiences, knowledge, success and failures to help buyers, sellers, Realtors, brokers and anyone else in the real estate and business, so that together we can grow as a community.