How to Create an Open House Bidding War

Image created by Stuart Miles, provided by

Image created by Stuart Miles, provided by

Your home’s first open house is critical. It’s the first time both buyers and Realtors get a real opportunity to see everything the property has to offer. It is also the first chance someone has to vet the legitimacy of the listing price relative to others like it on the market. If you have a gem on your hands then your first open house becomes the battleground for potential buyers.  With any luck, you can create an open house bidding war.

As quality inventory continues to be sparse, bidding wars are not just becoming the norm, they are the norm. Bidding wars are created when numerous offers are made on the same property. Depending on the popularity of the property and participating Realtors’ gambling acts, bidding wars can and often lead to sellers requiring “best and final” offers by certain dates and times. Drumming up the bidding war itself is a delicate balancing act that seasoned agents know how to leverage for making their buyers happy. When it comes to knowing the ins and outs of generating buzz and bids for your home, your real estate agent should be your best resource.

Get the right audience in the door first

A great way to get the word out about your property and make a bidding war happen is to first open your home to Realtors. The more agents know about your listing the more potential offers you will draw in and the more you draw in the more likely you are to indirectly pit them against one another. Your Realtor will be in charge of getting the word out, hosting and getting visiting brokers interested in your home.

A key piece to holding a broker’s open is that often your guests come to your property with a buyer (or two!) in mind. If your property checks off the boxes on their buyer’s wish list you’re infinitely more likely to have an offer on the table before you even open the house up to the general public. The success of open houses, especially broker’s opens, are heavily dependent on the success of your Realtor so it is important to work with someone who has demonstrated success in your neighborhood and a strong network. Your real estate agent should know who to draw to the broker’s open (and later your public open house) and who the key guests are. Additionally, the more brokers you can get through the door in the first week of listing your property the better. The early bird does get the worm in this case.

Open it up to the public ASAP

Open houses are no-brainers when it comes to marketing your property. Whether your Realtor has done their job and done it well, your open house will be telling. A house full of potential buyers and their agents will signal success. More on that in just a minute.

If the broker’s open did not generate a bevvy of offers, you can still generate a bidding war with a follow up open house–the first to the public. Your Realtor should be leading the charge of socializing early interest following the broker’s open so that visiting potential buyers start thinking that they need to get their bid on top of the pile. Should they take the bait you should see bids coming in after the open house and, if necessary, following some private showings to truly get them over the fence. Even in a situation where few offers come in, your seasoned Realtor should be able to navigate the way and perhaps create a bidding war by demanding a “best and final” offer.

On the other hand, if your property is swarming with potential buyers at the open house this is when you have the best chance for drumming up a bidding war. If you are lucky, offers will come in fast and furiously as potential buyers and their agents can sense–and give into–the urgency simply being around one another in the property. The sheer power of seeing someone else want, and speak in hushed tones about, the same home you are really considering buying is a strong motivator.

Realtors can also precipitate bidding wars right after busy open houses by scheduling private appointments with serious, potential buyers back-to-back. A smart, experience Realtor knows that this is a great tactic for driving offers. Again, as buyers see that they have legitimate competition they will be pressed to put their offers in, driving the asking price up, up, up!

Remember that appearances matter

The most important aspect of any open house, for brokers or potential buyers, is to ensure that your property is in tip-top shape and ready to impress. You can never re-do a first impression so make sure you your property says and shows what you want it to in order to sell. Keep living spaces neat and tidy with any potentially distracting personal items or furniture out of plain sight. Do what you must to freshen up your home’s curb appeal whether it is a new coat of paint, fresh-cut lawn, or plant blossoming flowers to brighten the landscape. The more inviting your home looks upon first inspection the more likely potential buyers will be to envision themselves living there.

Do it the smart way

Open houses–while seemingly simple in theory–are actually a tricky, but effective way to sell one’s home. The prowess to get it done in one fell swoop of your first couple showings is a mix of having a hot commodity and real estate know-how. Working with a successful, knowledgeable Realtor puts you at a greater chance to make your open house a bidding war breeding ground, and ultimately your ticket to an offer you are happy to accept!

If you are buying or selling a house and are looking to hire a successful real estate agent to help you through the process, take a look at AgentHarvest's list of top-ranking local Realtors in your area. We found these agents by examining their sales track records, awards, rankings, client testimonials and by conducting personal interviews.