Should you serve alcohol at an open house?

Offering drinks may be more work than it's worth
  • Serving wine or cocktails with some appetizers creates a nice atmosphere for a high-end open house. But what are your risks as an agent or broker?
  • Many agents suggest careful planning and controls, such as using a third-party vendor and imposing a drink limit.
  • Other agents said the payoff wouldn't be worth it after considering liability issues, local laws and brokerage guidelines.

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Long gone are the days of sticking a sign in the lawn with a few balloons to draw in potential homebuyers to an open house. Agents are stepping their game up and making home tours into swanky events complete with lavish decor, catered food and a great playlist. But is it going too far to offer wine or other drinks at open houses? That's the question Mechelle Reasoner posed to her fellow agents on the Agent War Room and Raise the Bar in Real Estate Facebook group pages. She wrote: I am doing a twilight open house for an upscale home with great views. I will probably be doing light finger foods. Has anyone served wine during an open house? I have mixed emotions about it, but the client asked if I would be. I worry about liability. Agents who agreed with Reasoner serving wine at her open house said she could do so, but only with impeccable planning and under highly supervised circumstances. "In our area, it's pretty common at Broker Opens to serve drinks, but not at an open...