8 Open House Apps to Bring This Old-School Event Into the 21st Century

You’ve heard the news: The open house has gone the way of the DVD player. The fax machine. The phone booth.

In a HomeLight survey, 63% of top real estate agents across the country said they do not always recommend sellers host an open house. Agents find that open houses are not typically effective tools to sell homes; they are better for helping agents network with potential clients.

But hold your horses…before you call your agent to cancel your weekend event, know there is a time and a place for an open house. If your home has a unique charm, great curb appeal, a convenient location, and the right price, an open house may be just what you need to generate buzz about your listing.

When you need an open house—like, truly need one—you and your agent must be prepared and armed with all the tools required to make the most of your event. Trail mix and minimalist decor? Sure, but also think digital. In fact, a variety of hand apps out there can help your agent make your open house a hit.

Here we’ve researched, personally tested, and categorized the top open house apps in the following categories:

  • Best app for a more professional, polished open house
  • Best open house app for staying connected with buyers
  • Best open house app to brag about your home’s top qualities
  • Best app for driving community engagement around your open house
  • Best open house app for marketing your event
  • Best app for staging your home before an open house
  • Best open house app for buyers who are new to the neighborhood
  • Best app for finding open houses in your area

Because open houses are not extinct. Just slightly endangered, and with a little boost from new technology, you may reap the benefits of a digitally savvy open house.

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An open house success story… and how apps can take these events to a new level

Doug James, a top agent in Castle Rock, Colorado, who to date has nearly 40 years of real estate experience, loves an open house.

He puts out tons of signs—adorned with balloons to give the signage movement and attract buyers’ attention—and posts his open houses on the MLS and his local RE/MAX app. Rarely does he sell a home during its open house, with some notable exceptions.

“In May, I was doing an open house, and a couple walked in and took a look. They said, ‘Well, we’re just looking,’” James said. “I had two or three sets of couples in this luxury townhome at the time, and as soon as everybody left I ran across the street to my car to get another bottle of water. I came back in the house, and lo and behold, the guy was in there by himself. His wife wasn’t with him. And at first, I thought it was a little strange, but then he said, ‘I’m a cash buyer and I want to make an offer on this house.’”

James continued, “So I proceeded to sell the house, closed on it in three weeks and made my seller very happy.”

So, yes, open houses can work. An open house might be right for your situation and your home, and if your Uncle Phil taught you one thing, if you are gonna do something, do it right.

“Open house apps allow agents to stay organized and efficient,” says Dave Frank, who developed the Open House Wizard app. “They don’t have to decipher people’s handwriting or transcribe the list into their customer relationship management program. It’s all automatic, and it takes a lot of grunt work out of the process, which means agents can spend more time marketing and showing your home.”

Frank, an IT consultant by profession, started Open House Wizard when he was chatting with some real estate agent clients about their frustrations with open house sign-in forms. He decided to develop an app

“It’s not only more efficient, but it’s more impressive to potential buyers,” he says.

“They use technology all day long, so it’s natural for them to use it during an open house. The benefits to the agent are staggering. Why wouldn’t you use one?”

Let’s make the most of a slightly archaic practice, and go modern. Drum roll please: here are the 8 tried and true apps to bring your open house into the 21st century.

open-house-apps

What are the best open house apps out there?

No need to download these babies as you read. Most of the below apps are tools your agents will use to make your open house the best it can be.

Some open house apps, such as Open Home Pro and Open House Wizard, fall into the category of a “sign-in app,” but they have additional features that make them more than just a pen-and-paper substitute.

Then there are apps that can help your agent market and spice up your open house, but weren’t developed with the open house in mind.

It will make total sense when you read on. Let’s dive in!

Best app for a more professional, polished open house: Open Home Pro

Why we recommend it:  
At its core, Open Home Pro is a sign-in app, but it has plenty of bells and whistles that set it apart from the rest of the app pack.

It maximizes data collection opportunities by allowing for custom questions and branded pages. Plus, Open Home Pro is the snazziest-looking open house app on the market, making it so your agent’s tech doesn’t bring down the quality of your open house.

How it works:
Agents can visit openhomepro.com to create listings for their open house properties. Both the free and premium versions offer a sign-in feature with customizable questions for your visitors, and your agent will walk potential buyers through the questions.

As they tour the house, your agent can take notes on the app (For example: “This family of four loved the floor plan and storage space, but they mentioned wanting a fence for the yard”).

The premium version allows for agents to automatically send out follow-up emails with contact information and details on your home, and it will send notifications to open house visitors about changes to your home’s listing, which helps buyers stay connected.

It also allows agents to send out open house dates and details through Facebook, Twitter, or to email lists.

Special features: Curious how the open house went? Open Home Pro creates an automated report of each open house, which includes your agent’s notes. If you see trends (yes, everyone thinks you need a fence), you can consider making improvements based on the feedback.

Cost: There is a free version with limited features. The premium version features will cost you $20 per month when you pay annually or $25 a month for monthly payments.

Where you can get it? Available on Apple iOS for iPads and on Android tablets.

Best open house app for staying connected with buyers: Open House Wizard

Why we recommend it:
Open House Wizard’s first iteration was pretty basic, but in recent years, continuous improvements have made Open House Wizard a solid option for agents.

Like Open Home Pro, it’s basically a sign-in sheet on digital steroids. The app allows the agent to play a video or slideshow of your home’s features whenever no one is signing in, and it allows your agent to brand the sign-in page with their own details and with your home’s information.

How it works:
The app prides itself on its “live” capabilities. That means when a potential buyer signs in to an open house through Open House Wizard, their information is directly uploaded to the agent’s customer relationship management service.

A CRM helps agents stay connected with their leads (Think Constant Contact or MailChimp). As visitors sign in, your agent can use their CRM app to see all the guest’s information and their answers to the customized questions from the Open House Wizard app.

Visitors also receive an instant welcome email from the app, giving them information and photos of your house.

Special features:
One of the coolest features is the instant email verification. That means if open house visitors misspell their email (in the excitement of entering your glorious abode) or if they simply put in a fake email address, the app will let your agent know immediately.

Another nice feature? While some apps are restricted to tablet use, this app runs on any device, including laptops.

Cost: There is a basic version that’s free, or you can pay $10 a month for the CRM or email upgrades.

Where you can get it? Windows, Apple iOS, Android and others. Sign up to receive details on downloading.

Best open house app for bragging about your home’s top qualities: My House Has

Why we recommend it:
You thought we were gonna keep listing sign-in apps, didn’t ya? My House Has is a handy little app on which you and your agent can compile a list of all your home’s features, amenities, and details.

It’s a perfect takeaway for open house visitors as they tour your place and head home to ponder whether they want a new armoire to complement the wood accents of your sitting room.

How it works:
Your agent will walk you through your house and use the app to take note of all its best features and qualities.

That includes size and details of all your rooms—from your mudroom to your library to your reading nook.

Then your agent can email you a PDF of all your home’s details, and you can approve it.

You can also feel confident that your agent gets your home, like really gets it, and you know when it comes time for an open house or even a showing, buyers will get it, too.

Special features: There are plenty of opportunities to add in extra information about your home, including new floors, updated systems or renovations.

Cost: Free!

Where you can get it? My House Has is available on iOS.

Best app for driving community engagement around your open house: Facebook Live

open-house-apps
Source: live.fb.com

Why we recommend it:
Facebook seems like an obvious choice here. Maybe too obvious. But there is a method to our madness.

Using Facebook Live to bring attention to your open house is just the sort of innovative thinking that is going to sell your home for heaps and heaps of cold hard cash.

Why Facebook Live? A Facebook Live video generates on average six times more interactions as a regular Facebook video. More interactions mean the video will appear in more people’s newsfeeds.

Plus, about 1.47 billion people worldwide use Facebook daily, and there’s a good chance your future home buyer is one of them.

How it works:
Your agent can launch a Facebook Live video prior to the start of your open house to plug the event and let people know the event details.

They can also offer a quick tour of the home and include your home’s features, or ask for questions from viewers and answer them right then and there.

You (and anyone else) can share the feed to help amplify the message. Basically, going live with Facebook helps your agent show your home to a multitude of people and potentially attract interested buyers to your open house.

Special features: Agents can schedule in advance a Facebook Live video, which will help promote your Facebook Live session, which will promote your open house, which promotes the sale of your home (are you still following?)

Once the Facebook Live video is over, your agent can post the video on his or her page, even pinning it to the top of the page to get extra engagement.

Cost: Free!

Where you can get it? Facebook is available everywhere. More specifically, you’ll find the app on iOS and Android devices.

Best app for marketing your open house: Instagram Stories

open-house-app
Source: kim-panozzo

Why we recommend it:
Ask anyone in the social media sector, and they will tell you that Instagram is where it’s at. It’s what the kids call “cool” (but don’t quote us on that).

Instagram’s growth has dwarfed that of Facebook and Snapchat, reaching 1 billion monthly users this summer. Instagram Stories is also officially more popular than SnapChat.

And now that Instagram has developed IGTV for longer-form content, its reach may become even bigger and more powerful. So let’s take advantage of the app’s reach and engagement by using it to promote your open house.

How it works:
Your agent can post videos or photos of your home along with all your open house details.

They can even sponsor the post and target people based on geography, homeownership, estimated income and interests. They can even use Instagram Stories to feature some video highlights of your home.

Special features: Facebook owns Instagram, so there is a lot of potential for cross promotion on both apps. If your agent advertises on Facebook, they can click a box to ensure the ads are also reaching an Instagram audience.

Cost: Free!

Where you can get it? If you don’t already have it, you can find Instagram on Apple iOS and Android.

Best app for staging your home before an open house: Home Design 3D and Home Design 3D Gold

Why we recommend it:
You know you are selling your house, and you know it is, well, funky. It’s eclectic, you tell yourself as you scan the odd assortment of hand-me-down furniture and displayed elementary school art projects.

It’s a reflection of your inner child and your old soul at the same time. But when your agent announces an open house and gives you orders to redecorate, you realize you have no idea where to start. That’s where Home Design 3D can save the day (or at least the day of your open house). The app allows you to redesign your home before you even break a sweat moving furniture.

How it works:
Using Home Design 3D, you can pull together your home’s floor plan and current layout, giving yourself a bird’s eye view of any inefficient use of space. You can then design and decorate as you please, trying different layouts and different places for furniture before you do the heavy lifting.

Once you have things as you like them, print out your blueprints and use them as you make improvements in your home.

Special features: Not sure your layout will work for your open house guests? Use the tour feature to move through your house during a virtual visit.

Cost: Home Design 3D is free, but the gold edition costs $11.99 and will get you expanded functions and features.

Where you can get it? You can find the free app on iOS or Android. The gold edition is on iOS and Microsoft.

Bonus! Apps to Help Buyers Visiting Open Houses

We didn’t want to leave buyers hanging, so here are two bonus apps to make the most of your open house visits.

Best open house app for buyers who are new to the neighborhood: Walk Score

open-house-app
Source: walkscore.com

Why we recommend it:
The old real estate mantra still rings true today: Location, location, location. But what’s a buyer to do if they are new to the area or don’t know the features of a home’s location?

Well, they can download the Walk Score app and learn about a community’s walker, transit and bike accessibility.

How it works:
Buyers simply open the app and start exploring. They can check out their current location’s walk score, transit score and bike score, and then start looking at other neighborhood’s scores (maybe they’ll see something they like).

When they’re out visiting open houses, buyers can pull up their Walk Score app to see how a home ranks in these categories.

Special features: The app’s map feature shows buyers nearby libraries, restaurants, schools and more, allowing you to get a feel for the hood.

Cost: Free!

Where you can get it? Walk Score is available on iOS and Android.

Best app for finding open houses in your area: HomeSnap

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Source: homesnap.com

Why we recommend it:
There are countless apps developed specifically to satisfy the wants and needs of home buyers, and they will all guide you during your search for open houses.

However, HomeSnap has some especially unique features that will help you better educate yourself about homes and neighborhoods. With a click of a button, you can discover a home’s value estimate, number of rooms, taxes, school ratings and more.

How it works:
Take a photo of any home, and HomeSnap goes to work. It offers up property history, listing summary and details, commute times, property lines and beyond.

Looking for a home in a particular school district? HomeSnap allows you to search by school zone. If a home doesn’t meet your standards, no need to get out of the car. If it does, you can feel confident and informed as you enter the open house with open arms.

Special features: Have a free Sunday afternoon and want to check out some houses? HomeSnap allows you to search for open houses by date.

Cost: Free!

Where you can get it? HomeSnap is available on iOS and Android.

Don’t forget that some of the best open house resources might be local. Your agent may be using his or her agency’s app to market your event and accept open house appointments.

“We’ve spent over $2.5 million in the last six years developing our own app for real estate,” James said. “And the beauty of our app is it updates every 15 minutes, unlike some of the other big aggregate sites. Ours actually only has houses that are available for sale or are under contract. There’s nothing on there that have been sold for four years, and they are still advertising it.”

James says one of the best parts about open houses is that he can interact with potential buyers — people who are maybe, sort of, possibly looking to buy a home soon or not-so-soon—and show them his own agency’s app.

He encourages all sellers to check with their agent to see if they use an in-house app to market your open house.

Whether it’s a local option or a global one, know that your agent can make the most of your open house with a little help from the high-tech relm. Now, go forth and help your open house go paperless.

It’s time to take the “pen” out of open house.

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