Open houses are still worth the trouble – they are a great way to gain exposure for listings to potential buyers and expand your client database. Plan well for them

With digital and social media platforms becoming the new way of marketing, finding potential buyers should be easier – yet individuals looking to purchase a property still believe in a hands-on approach when making such a big investment.

“Presentation is a key factor to make your listing fly off the ‘For Sale’ shelf,” says Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. “Pictures can be misleading and so the old-school methods such as staging a show house and inviting buyers to view your home is still a fail-proof way of creating an interest in your property.”

Here’s what to consider…


To get feet through the door and increase your chances of finding the right buyer, it’s crucial that you spread the word. Make sure the ‘on show’ flag appears on all your listings and marketing collateral, including weekend newspaper listings, walk-through videos and on your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn). Also, get the seller on board and have them share your post with their social networks. You could also invite the neighbourhood with a dedicated knock-and-drop.


Top of mind for many sellers and agents is the security risk of inviting complete strangers into the house on show day. There’s safety in numbers, so run the show house with a colleague if you’re worried about sitting in a home alone. Having attendees sign in also helps you assist police in the event of damage, theft or a break-in. If you suspect someone of theft, consider taking down their licence plate. Alert the local security company in the area of the show house too, for extra eyes. But don’t ask the seller to stay with you – the buyer needs to envision themselves in the house, which is key to selling it.

Engel & Völkers Southern Africa has adapted the standard show days by hosting power hours. Screened and qualified buyers on their database, fitting the profile of the property has to offer, are invited to view the home under the supervision of the agent.


Taking down visitors’ details serves a dual purpose: it can give you peace of mind from a safety angle. They are contacts you can add to your client database with whom you can – and should – follow up with for feedback or to find out if they might be interested in any of your other listings.

This story is from the Property Professional newsletter.
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