The success of your real estate open house will depend in large part on how well you market it in the real world with outdoor signage. As for your open house signs, factors like placement, quantity, and the details you display can either boost traffic by making your house easy to find or send prospective buyers on a wild goose chase.
The right signage will pull people in from busy roads and guide them to your neighborhood, where there won’t be any question which house on the block is for sale and open for viewing. A few measly signs pointing any which way won’t do.
A top local agent will have a trunk full of signs and a strategy in mind for how to market your open house. To keep you in the loop, we’ll still cover all the basics, like:
- Different types of open house signs that your agent may use
- How to direct buyers to your open house with clear signage
- When to put out your open house signs (and when to take them down)
- Options for where to get your open house signs printed
- Common open house sign mistakes to avoid
Different types of open house signs to consider
Walk around the neighborhood on a weekend and you might see a combination of smiling Realtor faces on A-frames, colorful balloons, and directional arrows. Each type of open house sign serves its own special purpose for letting people know there’s an event happening and how to find it.
Used in conjunction with traditional for sale signs, a real estate rider is a smaller sign that is displayed alongside a larger graphic. Riders can be positioned either below or above the primary image and are designed to include whatever relevant information agents or sellers are looking to display. Riders might feature text like “For Sale,” “Under Contract,” or in this case, “Open House.” They might also highlight certain appealing features of the home (such as “waterfront” or “acreage”).
“A-frame” is the official term for those sandwich-style menu boards you would see advertising what’s for lunch outside a bistro. These multi-purpose signs feature a wide-set base and are easy to set up on the sidewalk or lawn to advertise an upcoming open house no matter if you live in a rural, grassy area, or a concrete jungle. The plastic or metal frames are durable, reusable, and fit nicely in the back of a car. Ask your listing agent if they have a standard A-frame open house sign to use, and spruce it up with balloons or informational riders to attract extra attention.
Directional signs are arrow-shaped signs that point buyers in the right direction and help them find your open house. They make it easy for home shoppers to figure out where to go, and can be especially useful in busy intersections or other forks in the road.
Feather flags add visual interest to your open house signage mix. Made of polyester or nylon, they’re attached to a metal or fiberglass pole for maximum stability and wind resistance. You can stake your flag in the ground or anchor it to a base to advertise your open house with a little extra flair.
You’d think adults might tire of balloons, but a colorful display will draw in buyers like kids to a birthday party. That’s why bright balloons are a go-to for agents when it’s time to market an open house. Here are some popular options for an eye-catching balloon display.
- Grab a helium tank and inflate 4 or 5 balloons. Tie them to your open house sign with colorful ribbon to add some visual interest.
- Use a DIY balloon arch kit to draw the eye and create a happy, colorful archway at the end of the driveway for buyers to walk through as they approach the home.
- A reusable balloon stand is an easy way to create a cluster of balloons without ribbon, string, or helium. Just pop your open house balloons into the stand and set it up on the sidewalk or beside your open house sign to show buyers where to go.
- Insert a few specialized ”open house” themed balloons in your balloon display to send a clear message.
Keep potential buyers engaged after they step foot through the door with well-placed interior open house signs. Interior signs should welcome guests and provide any extra information they may need throughout the open house.
Some places to put interior signs include:
- At the registration table (“Welcome! Please sign in.”)
- Inside the front door (to instruct guests on where to leave their coats and whether to remove their shoes)
- Near the refreshments (“Please help yourself!”)
- On the table or countertop (“Falling in love? Make an offer!”)
- On the bathroom door (“Powder room”)
- To point out a home’s unique features like heated flooring or exposed brick original to the property
Tips to boost open house foot traffic
Remember these tips for getting more buyers through the door:
- Don’t forget the details!
You might be surprised how easy it is to overlook vital information in your open house signs. A directional sign should keep writing to a minimum, but still should include the time and date of the event. For a sign with more space (like an A-frame), make sure you cover all your bases and include key details like:
- The day and date of the event
- Open house hours
- Your real estate agent’s name, number and website
- Extra incentives or home highlights that buyers should know about
- Place your signs strategically.
Even if your home isn’t right in the middle of town, you can get the word out by marketing in areas where people will see your materials. Pay special attention to intersections when you place your signs before the big event; directional signs will be your best bet in these high-traffic areas.“If (your signs are) on a busy street or close to a busy street, that’s much better than a location which is deep within a subdivision where people have to go through a maze to find it,” says Mike Montpetit, one of the top-selling agents in Cary, North Carolina. “Closer to a busy street is better.”
- Post a picture of your sign on social media.
“A sign is not only a physical sign; it’s also an online notification,” says Montpetit. Snap a photo of your sign (bonus points if your home is in the background!) and tease it on your social media accounts alongside the website for your listing prior to your open house. Even if your signs contain all the info your open house visitors will need, make sure the text of your post includes keywords and phrases so it will show up in search results.
- Color coordinate.
Consistent branding builds customer trust and creates a sense of cohesion. You want your open house visitors to know which agent website they should visit for more information on your event, so pick balloons, flyers and signage that match your listing agency’s brand colors for immediate association with a respected company.
Put out your open house signs at the right time
Get the word out about your upcoming event in advance, but don’t annoy your neighbors or litter the neighborhood with cardboard.
A week before your open house, put out a sign or a rider alongside your “for sale” sign to tease the time and date of your event. (Keep it to a single sign with the details clearly displayed, though; you don’t want to pull out all the stops too early just to have strangers walking in when you’re not ready!)
Then, put out 10 to 15 signs (or as many as local regulations allow) the night before the open house. Make sure you have coverage for nearby intersections and all of the possible entrances to the neighborhood.
Be sure to clean up your signs right after your open house is wrapped up and you want people to stop coming through. That reduces the risk of losing any of your marketing materials and can help you stay in your neighbors’ good graces.
Avoid these open house sign mistakes
Don’t let a sign mishap put a damper on your open house. Here are some mistakes to avoid when marketing your event.
- Local rules violation.
Some cities and neighborhoods have strict restrictions surrounding the placement of open house signs. Montpetit recalls a time when he lost all of his signs prior to hosting an open house after they were unexpectedly cleaned up by an unhappy homeowners’ association. Don’t let a similar setback happen to you!
- Poor sign placement
Take a breather after you put out your signs. Then get back in your car and do a drive-through of your neighborhood. Try to imagine you don’t know the area. See if you could find your house based on the trail of open house signs alone. When in doubt, add another sign to connect the dots. Also check to make sure your signs aren’t blocked from clear view by any obstructions like fire hydrants, telephone poles, or landscaping.
- Small fonts and unclear details
Buyers aren’t going to want to pull over and get out of the car, so make sure your signs are attention-grabbing and easy to read from the road. Big letters and crisp, clear graphics trump artistry or fancy design work.
Here’s where to get your signs printed
Your listing agent will be the one to get your open house signs printed, but if you need to make a quick run in a pinch, know your options:
The big box office giant offers plenty of options for sellers looking for high-quality open house signs. Upload your own image for a custom sign, or choose one of their templates to create your own. Plus, it’s a one-stop shop for frames, riders, and anything else you’ll need to market your open house.
Vistaprint is one of the internet’s go-to websites for customizable merchandise. The site has plenty of design options to choose from, especially if you purchase your marketing materials in bulk. Prices start at $15.74 per sign and may feature a reduced price tag for larger orders.
- Super Cheap Signs:
This company uses UV-resistant ink, which means that your sign will have a longer lifespan and can be passed along to friends when you’re finished using them. Plus, at $1.99 per sign, the price is right.
- Your local printing shop:
For sellers who want to keep their dollars local, a local printing business should be able to handle your open house marketing needs. Check your local business directories or call your chamber of commerce for suggestions if you’re not sure where to go.
Will your open house be a success? All signs point to yes.
As with the rest of your home sale, follow your agent’s lead as you put together an open house strategy. As a seller, if you’d like to be involved because the inner party planner in you can’t resist, simply know your options, volunteer to help put out signs to lighten the load, and chime in with any tidbits about the area. If you’d recommend placing signs on the corner of Franklin Ave and 19th, right next to the park, well then speak up!
Header Image Source: (sirtravelalot/ Shutterstock)