Planning a For Sale by Owner Open House


When planning a for sale by owner open house, one thing you have no control over is the weather.


Let's say while preparing for your big day, the weather looked good and you have your open house scheduled for Saturday from 2:00 – 4:00. Thunderheads are building all morning and about 1:45 the skies open up.


Rats! Our hard work is ruined! This selling a house myself stuff isn't so much fun. Not so fast my friend. Not so fast. Sure you will have perhaps less people through. But here is the good news.


You will get rid of the tire kickers and most real estate agents. The “we'll buy another home sometime in the next 2 years", and the “we are going to sell our house also, so let's see what our competition is like” folks, will also postpone their trip over.



For other for sale by owner open house ideas, you can select any of the photo links below now, or return here when you finish this page.

Young couple being invited into open house

What to have and not have at your

for sale by owner open house

Open house directional sandwich sign

What to say and not to say to buyers at a

for sale by owner open house

Red and white open house directional sign pointing at house for sale

Should I have a for sale by owner open house?

Gold house logo with red sold sign

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Pay real close attention to the ones that do show up. These are almost guaranteed to be motivated serious buyers! Hey, we just made lemonade out of lemons! Also, don't forget to have some For Sale By Owner Contracts on hand.



When Planning a

For Sale by Owner Open House,

Make it Inviting!

Here are a few simple but helpful ideas, when planning a for sale by owner open house.


  • If the weather permits, open the inside door to make coming inside more appealing and inviting.



  • If you have younger children, please try to have a family member or a friend babysit them during your open house. You need as little distractions as possible.


  • The family pet(s) also need to be out of the house unless it's a hamster, or in a fishbowl. You get the idea. You don't need “Rover” barking up a storm while people are touring your well-prepared house.

Emotions and Feelings are what you are trying to create.


  • While planning a for sale by owner open house, remember to have ALL the lights on, fresh smells, and perhaps some soft music in the background.

  • If you have a garage and/or garden shed, have the doors unlocked for viewing.


Open Houses vs Private Showings


Showing your home during an open house is different than showing your property on an individual basis. Here are a few of the differences.


  • When you are planning a for sale by owner open house, keep in mind there may be several people viewing your home at the same time.

  • You may have prepared some treats and/or beverages in your preparation of several people showing up.

  • You can't just pay attention to individuals. On that note, if you have 2 of you doing your open house, you can, at least, pay attention to two couples, or individuals, at a time.

Let your guest explore – Don't be overbearing.


It's all about Body Language. Observe, observe and observe.


Sit back and relax. The number of people that attend your open house could be zero to hundreds, and all points in between.


For Sale by Owner Open Houses
Let Them Explore - You Observe


You have taken lots of time planning a for sale by owner open house. When guests arrive, you should greet them at the door when they first arrive if possible, and welcome them.

A Visitor's Comment

I found your website just two days ago, and I'm still reading and following your instructions on selling my own house.


Tell them to take their time and if they have any questions, you will be more than happy to answer them.


Here is the hard part for some people. Don't be overbearing. Keep a comfortable distance from your visitors, and don't start “selling”.


If the guests are talkative sure, join in the conversation. If you start ceaseless chatter at this point, you are doing yourself a big disservice.


This will turn people off and make them uncomfortable. I will repeat again. People Don't Sell Houses, Houses Sell Houses!


You see, there is nothing you can say that will make someone buy your house if they don't want it. All the planning a for sale by owner open house in the world, won't change that. There are things you might say that will scare them away, so when planning a for sale by owner open house, keep this in mind.



Some Things NOT to Say and Why


A Comment: "We love it here because there are so many children for our little ones to play with."

Why? These people may be looking to get away from a neighborhood with a lot of children.


A Comment: "We find it so convenient here. The bus stops right out front."

Why? People thinking, Oh, oh, we'll have people hanging around at the bus stop making noise and throwing their trash around.


A Comment: "It's so peaceful and quiet here, with hardly any kids around for blocks."

Why? They may have children and want other kids around.


A Comment: "We are so close to the industrial park, that when the weather is nice, Tom just walks to work."

Why? Oh, oh, I bet there is all kinds of noise and smells coming from that industrial park.


I could go on and on but you get the point. Don't volunteer information about the area, unless asked. Everybody has a different lifestyle and what may be important to you, might be a big deterrent to them.

Vine covered house with several open doors


Observe, Observe, Observe


Look for the buying signals. Are they touching and feelings things? Are they placing furniture in rooms? Are they talking about planning what to use various rooms for?


Sometimes even a negative comment can be a buying signal. Let's look at a couple of examples, shall we?


Example #1


Husband: “ Well dear, this home has almost everything we want but I need a garage with 220 wiring for my welder and the garage only has 110.”


Wife: “ Do you really need 220 right away?”


Husband: “Absolutely”


You: “I can't make any promise but if we had the garage wired for 220, would that help you make a decision?”


They talked, you listened, they came up with a problem, and you offered a possible solution and did a “soft close” on top of it all. Well done!


You: I have a couple ideas that might help you out."


Off to the kitchen you go and .....well that is a whole different page.


Example #2


Wife: “This is exactly what we are looking for Bob but it is a bit higher than we can afford, and we have to buy all our appliances as well. I can't see how we can do both.”


Husband: “I know what you mean Judy. If only we could find a way. That room off the main floor family room would be perfect for my office.”


You: “I'm sorry to interrupt, but perhaps I can help you. Are the appliances really important to you?”


Wife: “The problem is, if we purchase this house and then have to buy new appliances as well, I don't know if we can swing the whole deal”


You: “Why don't we go to the kitchen and see if we might be able to figure something out. I have a couple ideas that might help you out."


Off to the kitchen you go.


Observe and Detect


Part of the planning a for sale by owner open house involves watching the people as they view your property. Watch what they do. Take a mental note of the questions they ask. Do they show a genuine interest? Are they just making small talk?


One of the bonuses of doing open houses is sharpening up your people skills, and your powers of observation.


When you find a hot one stick with them. Ask if they have a real estate agent. Ask if they would like a private viewing later that day. Bring them to the kitchen if possible after their tour and answer their questions.


Ask if they have a house to sell first. Don't be pushy or overbearing so space your questions out and if you detect any resistance, back off and observe some more.



Easiest Sales Job Ever 


Selling a house is the easiest tangible or intangible product to sell that I'm aware of. Why? Here's why. People don't sell houses, Houses sell houses.


Think about when you bought the home you are in now. Did you buy it because some salesperson pushed you into buying? I'm guessing no.


You bought your present house probably because:


  • It had most of the features you were looking for.

  • It was in an area you thought you would like to live.

  • The price was in a range that you felt was affordable and the mortgage payments were comfortable for you.

Every house and property will be different. This is to your advantage. Remember, when planning a for sale by owner open house, if someone loves your house and just has to have it, you can't stop them from buying it! How much easier can it get?

New bungalow with open house banner

New Construction


There is one exception to the rule above when planning a for sale by owner open house and that would be new construction. If you are a builder and are selling new construction homes, some sales skills may be needed.


This is mainly due to a lot of competition that may be very similar in nature. When you are selling new homes, it helps sometimes to have a “hook”. Examples could be:


  • A one of a kind financing package.

  • New appliances included, especially if the market is first time buyers.

  • Perhaps a hot tub in the deal or,

  • “We make your first 3 month payments”.

Pre-Owned Houses


If your house is not new, in most cases when planning a for sale by owner open house, you don't need “hooks”. Why? Because you have a one of a kind house and property!


There is a time you may have to have some creative planning. This is during a 'soft" or "down" market. You can find out more by going to the Seller Concessions part of this website.


Got it? Great! I knew you would. It's great to have superstar students.



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