Make Your Next Open House A Treat for Potential Buyers

    Free appetizers won’t sell a listing all on their own, but tasty treats in the foyer of your open house will encourage buyers to open up and explore the house more thoroughly.

    However, food can also be a huge hassle — you don’t want to leave the house a mess or serve up the wrong aromatics. That’s why we’ve prepared this list of 11 guidelines to follow when serving food at an open house.

    1. Stage a pretty food and beverage station. Cut some flowers from your yard or buy a seasonal bouquet to serve as the focal point. Use a tablecloth, but make sure it’s not too formal. Quality disposable cups and plates are ideal, especially if you can find colorful ones that match the theme of the room.
    2. Coffee is natural with house hunters. If you don’t want coffee consumed away from the station, don’t provide covers and sleeves. However, your visitors may appreciate being able to take the coffee on the road.
    3. Don’t forget about the children. If your house is a larger family home, try providing easy to enjoy foods like KRAVE’s sweet chipotle jerky or their finger-friendly meat snacks. Proteins fanatics will enjoy the spread just as much as the children.
    4. Use candles to set the right mood. Place some scented votive candles around the table to make it feel extra special. Make sure the candles are in a safe place where they won’t be bumped into and don’t forget to blow them out when the open house is over.
    5. Think small with cocktail-size plates. Smaller-size plates and napkins send the signal that you’re not serving a meal. It also helps control portion sizes, so guests don’t monopolize what you’ve prepared.
    6. Forget silverware. If a guest at your open house needs to use a spoon, fork, or knife to graze at your buffet, the food is too fussy. Finger foods are always best.
    7. Bottled water is a must. Visiting open houses can feel like a marathon for home buyers. Your guests on-the-go will appreciate the portable pick-me-up.
    8. Have enough to offer, but not too much. Gauge your food needs based on the average attendance at an open house in your area. Plan for one beverage and three hors d’oeuvres per person with some extra set aside in the refrigerator in case of an unexpected rush. Be careful not to go overboard; lavish spreads could signal desperation to savvy home buyers.
    9. Choose low-maintenance menu items. You should be able to spend your day talking to visitors and answering questions about the house, not tending to the food. Visitors should be able to easily serve themselves. If you feel the need to explain certain ingredients or identify food items, you can do so by using attractive place cards at the station.
    10. Don’t provide alcohol. Open houses are business events, not parties. If people drink, they are inclined to stay too long and lose focus on the most important thing — the house. You also want to make sure your visitors will be able to safely drive themselves home.
    11. Cut down on cleanup. Place a waste container and recycling bin in a very visible place next to the food and beverage station. If visitors can’t easily find a place to dispose of their garbage, they may leave it in other rooms of the house.


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