What Is a Broker Open House & How to Host a Successful One


A strategy agents use to generate interest in their property is hosting a broker open house—so, what is a broker open house? A broker open house, also known as a broker preview, is when a real estate agent or broker invites other real estate professionals to tour their listings without their clients. The purpose is to showcase the home to other professionals who may have interested buyers before opening the home to the general public. This is an excellent way to garner interest, increase exposure, and sell a home quicker.

In this article, we discuss what a broker open house is, how it’s different than a regular open house, why it’s essential, and how to host a memorable broker event.

Broker Open House vs a Regular Open House

From the outside, a broker open house appears no different from an open house for the general public. You’ll have flyers, signs, refreshments, etc., but a broker’s open house differs from a regular open house in a few ways.

It is opened exclusively to other real estate professionals, not the general public. Additionally, the intent and strategy differ for the listing agent. A traditional open house benefits the listing agent by directly generating buyer leads through buyers themselves, whereas in a broker open house, you’re indirectly generating buyer leads through other agents.

Did you know? It is called a broker open house because “broker” is a nickname used for all real estate agents, even agents who are not officially licensed as brokers.

In a typical open house, prospective buyers and lookers tour the home, but it is uncommon for buyers to purchase it at an open house. It does happen sometimes, but statistically, only 28% of buyers purchased their home through an open house, and only 4% found their home via an open house sign.

Below we show what is a broker open house and how it differs from a regular one:

Why a Broker’s Open House Is Important

A broker’s open house allows other agents to spend time in the home for sale and ask the listing agent any questions about the property they can convey to prospective buyers. If you do the open house properly, the realtor guests should leave the event feeling more connected with the property.

This connection helps them better describe the home to their buyer clients and become ambassadors for the hosting broker and listing. It’s the difference between hearing about a superb property and experiencing it. A broker open house benefits the sellers, buyers, and agents by saving time. Instead of individual showings, multiple agents will have seen the property, expanding its potential reach to sell it faster to qualified buyers.

Pros & Cons of a Broker’s Open House

A broker open house can be a great use of your time if you can get enough guests to attend. During the workweek, agents are busy, so it can sometimes be a challenge. It also can be difficult to get people to come after hours or on the weekends because they may be busy with family. That’s why you want to make your open house enticing and memorable. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons on how to host a broker open house.

How to Host a Memorable Broker’s Open House in 11 Steps

To make something memorable, you must tap into agents’ emotions and help them feel what it would be like to live in the home, even though they’re not the buyer. You want their enthusiasm high when they tell others about your listing.

Make your event memorable.

There are many ways to make your broker open house memorable, such as ensuring the home is clean, orderly, and staged. Also, providing snacks and beverages makes the property feel more inviting. Let’s explore more ways how to host a great open house.

1. Create a Guest List

Invite all the brokers and real estate agents in your area, but also consider inviting other real estate professionals you know, like lenders, insurance and title agents, real estate attorneys, and other professionals you do business with. Schedule about two hours for the event. Some of your guests will pop in, walk through the property and leave, while others will hang out for a bit.

2. Prepare the Home

Your listing is likely already clean and staged from when you had your real estate photographer come in for the photo shoot, and your sellers probably have been diligent in keeping it ready to show on short notice. Still, enlist the seller, walk through the property, and decide what needs attention. Ensure there is no clutter or odors that detract from its visual appeal.

Pro tip: If your open house is around the holidays, decorating the home with holiday decor makes it more homey. Discuss it with the seller first. You don’t want to assume they celebrate standard holidays. Suppose they have different holidays or customs and are open to it. In that case, you can incorporate those into your open house and enjoy the opportunity to introduce different traditions, providing some background information.

3. Set a Marketing Budget

You need a real estate marketing budget that accounts for all your advertising and marketing expenses, including what you spend on open houses. Doing so will ensure you spend your money wisely. Many marketing ideas above can be leveraged for free, like email, phone, and social media posts, but expect to spend a little on invitations and paid ads.

How much you spend depends on the property type, how frequently you host open houses for all your listings, and your budget. If your target market is luxury real estate, you will spend more on high-end listings than on a two-bed, one-bath ranch on a half-acre. Since the audience for a broker’s open house is smaller than one for buyers, you can spend less. A few hundred dollars should be enough, but gauge it on the costs in your area.

Check out our free downloadable real estate marketing plan template so you can get started with your marketing plan budget.

4. Send Invitations

You can send postcards or open house invitations and a follow-up email a few days later. Require guests to RSVP so you know how many are coming. Doing so will add to the feeling of exclusivity of your event and also prepare you with how many supplies you’ll need. Some may still show up without having responded, but that’s OK. Always prepare for a few more people than expected.

You probably want this event to occur soon after listing the house, so it’s ideal to pick a date and send the invites out immediately. Having the open house shortly after listing the property could get the house under agreement immediately. Ideally, you’d want to host it within a week or two of listing. Since time is of the essence, it’s best to purchase invitations in bulk so they’re on hand when you list a new property.

Open house invitation using a Canva template (Source: Canva)

Here is a simple example of an invitation, but you can add images of the home or any other elements you like. Be sure to add your company logo and contact information. You can save money using Canva’s free design tools with hundreds of templates. All the elements on their invitations are fully customizable, so you can change colors, fonts, and images and add your brand.

Visit Canva

Pro tip: Use invitations that align with the type of property you’re showcasing. For example, an invitation using unbleached paper with a country theme would be great for a farmhouse. A luxury listing invitation could be black or white with gold lettering. You can also have them custom-made with an image of the home on the cover.

Marketing a broker’s open house somewhat differs from marketing a regular open house. You can place a directional open house sign out front on the day of the event, but you may want a custom-designed one that says “welcome brokers” instead of “open house.” Otherwise, you may have neighbors and passersby dropping in. Invitations, follow-ups, and emails to your list in your customer relationship manager (CRM) are also part of your overall lead generation and marketing strategy.

Here are some other ways to market a broker open house:

  • Social media: You can also post the open house on your social media pages as long as it is clear this is a real estate agent event and not one for buyers. If you belong to local realtor boards, groups, or networking events, send materials to its members and guests. Perhaps there is a local online realtor bulletin board, group, or newsletter you can also share in.
  • Phone: The old methods are often overlooked in this digital era, like picking up the telephone and making calls to your peers. It’s not the fastest way, but there may be some guests you prefer to call while sending out invitations to others in bulk.
  • Email: Send targeted emails to your contact sphere by creating and personalizing the invite. Most email marketing software allows you to use a code that inserts people’s names directly into the appropriate fields. Don’t forget to invite the people in your brokerage.
  • Online sites: Some listing syndication sites, like Zillow, have entry fields for posting open house dates. While this is generally so prospective buyers can find open houses, as long as it’s clear that it is for brokers and requires an RSVP, you should be fine. Posting open house information with the listings alerts anyone looking at the property online so that you may attract buyer leads even if local agents don’t see it.

An upcoming open house listing (Source: Zillow)

Including your open house information on your Zillow listing alerts page visitors and prospective buyers. Sometimes buyers want to get ahead of the crowds, and you may get offers before your open house. With its fillable forms, Zillow makes adding your open houses to your listings easy. If you sign up to become a Zillow Premier Agent, you will receive branding and promoted advertising. Sign up to learn more.

Visit Zillow

6. Keep a Contact Database

You should also maintain a real estate database that includes local agents and real estate professionals so you’re not looking up contact information last minute. Use client relationship management (CRM) software for storage and easy access to their info, and also send out your email follow-ups with a few simple clicks. Many CRMs also let you create beautiful websites for listings where you can add a link to the property and include your broker open house.

Professional for Agents platform (Source: Market Leader)

An IDX website, robust CRM, and marketing automation are just a few of the tools Market Leader’s marketing and lead conversion software provides. You can upload your contacts and create and send targeted emails to your professional sphere of influence to invite them to your open houses. The platform also provides a mobile app to access emails and CRM contact information to receive and track RSVPs immediately.

Visit Market Leader

7. Provide Food & Beverages

Another thing you could add to your broker open house ideas is to offer tea, coffee, and baked goodies, and host a luncheon or a cocktail party. If you’re offering wine, cheese, or champagne, include non-alcoholic beverages, such as sparkling water, lemon, or lime, for guests who don’t want to imbibe.

You could also host a themed broker’s open house to elevate your event and make it fun for your guests. Don’t require it, but encourage guests to play the role. For example, guests could wear a hat to the afternoon tea or host a formal cocktail in a high-end home. Make it fun, but don’t go crazy with themes since the main purpose is to extend the listing’s visibility and reach.

Traditional British tea and crumpets

Use your imagination and come up with food combinations your guests will love. The options are endless. Here are some food ideas you could try:

  • Tea and crumpets or scones
  • Crudite platter with dips
  • Salsa and chips or quesadillas
  • Canned soft drinks or seltzers
  • Fruit plate
  • Wine and cheese
  • Champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries
  • Luncheon meat and rolls platter
  • Small desserts and cookies or baked goods
  • Soups and salads

Provide everything yourself, like plates, utensils, etc., instead of using the homeowner’s. You can use recyclable paper products, or, if you want something fancier, look for plasticware for weddings. You can purchase gold or silver plastic cutlery and white plastic gold-rimmed dishes.

Pro tip: Everything you bring to host a broker open house must also leave with you. Bring bins and trash bags, thoroughly clean the place, and take your trash home. Check every room to ensure no one left cups or other items before you go.

8. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Using technology can enhance your event. Pull a tip from the retail playbook by streaming background music during your event. Retailers play background music so shoppers will shop more leisurely and stay longer. Playing slower-paced instrumental background music slows the heart rate, and research shows it makes people linger.

You can also live stream your broker open house on social media for those who can’t attend and for prospective buyers to look inside. Another use of technology is with digital sign-in sheets. Using a digital sign-in sheet allows you to capture information and keep track of guests so you can follow up later.

Open house sign-in sheet (Source: Spacio)

For all your real estate open house needs, Spacio offers a digital sign-in sheet and listing marketing tool. It enables you to track attendance and gather information for follow-up. It is accessible on any device with the Apple or Google Play application. You can also add customizable questions on the open house registration form.

Visit Spacio

Pro tip: If you have a virtual tour or digital storybook of your listing, you can also screencast from your device and have this streaming on the large-screen television or play it on your laptop. If you’re limited to your laptop screen, place it near an entryway where your guests may stop and look before touring the home. You can also put your virtual tour on branded thumb drives and give them as gifts.

9. Bring Printed Materials & Swag

Make sure to bring your colorful listing data sheets, real estate brochures, and other information about the property you want to include. Create listing packets, and don’t forget to include your business cards so agents can follow up to schedule showings. Use branded materials and folders for your packets. Strategically place the packets where guests can pick them up when they arrive.

Drinkware party swag options (Source: VistaPrint)

Also, you could offer swag bags and include a mix of branded materials like pens, T-shirts, or mugs and fun items like scented candles, bath bombs, candy, or earbuds. If you’ve hosted a themed broker open house, you could include small related items, like tea bags or a kit to make dipped fruit.

Again, the choices are only limited by your budget and imagination. VistaPrint has everything you need to create branded listing packets and folders, plus promotional products like drinkware, candy, candles, and technology. You can also get your branded swag bags from them, ranging from canvas totes, backpacks, drawstring bags, and heavy-duty paper bags, starting at $1.04 per unit.

Visit VistaPrint

10. Show the Property

While all of these ideas are fun and memorable, the primary purpose of the open house is to have your guests tour the home to familiarize themselves and bring the information back to their network and clients. Some agents will want to go through the property and leave quickly, so you must ensure all guests know about unique amenities and home features.

Use a scavenger hunt to showcase the home’s features.

You could turn the tour into a scavenger hunt for the guests who want to stay for the full event. Give guests a checklist of special features in the rooms and exterior of the home to look for. Have them check off the features they find and write next to them which room they found them in. You can offer small prizes for guests who find them all.

Social media publishing and scheduling tools (Source: Sprout Social)

A leading provider of social media marketing services, Sprout Social also provides powerful capabilities for social CRM, review management, and post-scheduling. The publishing and scheduling features of Sprout Social make it easier to write and post social media content based on your audience’s schedule. You can also use the tool to produce social media posts and receive content improvement recommendations. A great use of the platform for a broker’s open is to schedule posts after the event, showing your social media followers pictures or videos of all the real estate professionals together, and also posting video tours.

Visit Sprout Social

11. Send Thank-you Notes & Follow Up

You hosted a memorable open house. Your guests had a lot of fun and have all the information they need to help sell your listing. Now it’s time to follow up and send out thank-you notes. Like with your invitations, use stationery and handwrite the notes to make them more personalized.

Include your business card and let them know you’re available. Send these out within two or three days of the event. Agents are busy, and if you wait longer, they may have moved on to the next thing. A week later, send a brief follow-up email, and again, thank your guests for attending. Following up will also remind the agent if they forgot to send the information to their prospective buyer.

Directory of event planners (Source: Fiverr)

As a busy real estate agent, sometimes it’s best to outsource what you can. At Fiverr, you can use their search tool to find an event planner or manager to set up and market your broker open house. Then you’ll have one less thing to do. Thousands of professionals list their services on the site, with prices starting at $5. Save some time in planning your event today. Read our article Fiverr Review: Is It Best for Your Business? to decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Visit Fiverr

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The best time for a broker’s open house is during the work week, ideally in the afternoon. The workday is often winding down, so agents are more likely to attend. It’s also important to consider the seller’s schedule and what type of broker open house you plan to host. The seller may just be leaving work and kids are coming home from school in the afternoon, so you must consider this. If you host a brunch open house, this will occur mid-morning or a luncheon in the middle of the afternoon, so be flexible in your approach.

A broker preview is another name for a broker open house. The broker preview, or open house, is when a real estate agent or broker invites other real estate agents to tour their listing. The event is not open to the public, and its purpose is so other agents can see if the home meets buyer-client criteria. It helps sell the home faster when more real estate agents have toured the property.

Homeowners are not required to leave during an open house. However, it is highly recommended that they do. When brokers attend an open house, they plan to thoroughly go through the home. Brokers attend because they want to assess if the property will meet their client’s needs. If a seller is lurking nearby, it can make attendees feel uneasy and could potentially harm the sale.

Bottom Line

A broker open house is when a broker or agent hosts an open house for other real estate professionals. To have a memorable open house, you want to entice guests to attend by sending out invitations, turning it into an event, and making it fun. Since the event is directed toward a target market of other real estate professionals, your marketing strategy will differ from a typical open house. Hold the open house within a few days of listing, invite the people in your brokerage, and follow up with guests after the event.

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