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Even though this year’s spring housing market has seen a major interruption to the normal way of doing business, there will still be a need for open houses once things return to normal. Certainly, one topic of conversation that has taken place during all this downtime is how to make open houses even more worthwhile. Here are a few ideas for how to not only get more people in the door, but also make it a branding event for your brokerage.

Bring Experts to the Open House
If you have team members with certain types of expertise that would appeal to people in that community (or people who would be interested in that type of property) you can advertise the event as one where experts will be on hand to answer any questions. For example if the neighborhood has strict planning or zoning laws, you can list the agents who have navigated the system for their clients (and, if appropriate, show a picture of the home’s exterior) and say they’ll be at the open house for anyone who is thinking of doing a remodel.

In a similar vein of having agent experts, you can also create interest by bringing in local design and remodeling experts and let the neighborhood know that they will be on hand to give advice. Make sure your advertising makes it clear everyone should bring their plans, mood boards and design ideas so they can ask detailed questions.

If the house is in a high-density area, you could even go so far as to have the expert host a workshop—whether it is on choosing the right colors or gardening tips if the property has a great yard. This obviously has the potential to become more work for the expert (and possibly the agents) so it may not make sense in the majority of cases. While it does help brand your brokerage, it is only worth it if it will bring in more visitors and generate buzz for both you and whomever you are bringing in to host the event.

Partner With the Owners to Make It a Party
I’ve even seen one agent have a cooking demo and tasting event with a cook from a local popular restaurant. This was for a very high-end property, which was designed for entertaining large crowds, so it made sense to host an event that showed off the entertaining spaces. Plus, it gave the sellers a chance to bring the neighbors together to thank them for being such a great community and for potential buyers to get a feel for the neighborhood.

Even with all the online resources that can give potential buyers a feel for a property, I’m still finding value in hosting open houses so you meet people in person. By turning the afternoon into an event that provides a service, it helps demonstrate the breadth of knowledge your brokerage has access to and gets more people in the door. A win/win for everyone.

 Allen Alishahi is president of ShelterZoom. For more information, please visit