Getting Started

If you have any problems or questions, please check out or make a new post on our Support Forum.

Installing this theme

You should be able to install the theme directly inside of WordPress. Go to the Themes menu on the left of wp-admin, select “Add New Themes”, and then click “upload”. Select the supplied OpenHouse theme zip file and you’re done.

However, in my personal experience, this rarely works. So I just install it manually. To install manually, you’ll need an FTP program. The Firefox (web browser) plugin FireFTP works perfectly and it’s what I use. Unzip the supplied OpenHouse theme (it should be zipped). On the server, navigate to your /wp-content/themes folder. Create a subfolder called “OpenHouse” (or something else if you wish), and then upload all the theme files to that folder.

Once uploaded, you can go to the Themes section of WordPress wp-admin and then activate the new theme.

Ok, it should be installed. Now on to the steps to get your new site functional!


You can skip steps 1 and 2 below by doing this, and also have some sample Property Listings and Posts to get you started. You can import the demo OpenHouse WordPress database to get started extra quickly. If you do this then your site will have all the same Posts, Pages, Property Listings, comments, etc. as the demo site. Some people have requested this, so here you go! In wp-admin, simply go to the Tools tab and click Import. Choose the WordPress option, and then select the file above that you downloaded.

If you do this then you can safely skip steps 1 and 2 below.

Step 1: Create your Blog or News categories

Assuming you want to post articles to your site, you will need to create Categories for them. You can create a category called “News” (to hold news related posts), “Blog” (for general blog type posts), or any other category name. The live demo has 2 categories called “News” and “Blog”. Feel free to have only one or the other; both are not required. You can also create sub-categories under the main categories if your posts benefit from them.

Note: DO NOT create a category for your property listings. The listings don’t use categories at all.

Step 2: Featured Listings Page

The homepage slideshow contains your featured listings, which you post manually. There is a link on there that goes to a page that contains ALL the featured listings on one page.

Create a new “Page”, using the Page Template called “Featured Listings”. Enter a “Title” for the post… for example “Featured Listings”. You can leave the content blank, or add optional text. Publish it.

Step 3: Non-MLS Listings Page

You may want to post manual listings that are NOT contained in the MLS. The Search box area contains a link to a page that lists ALL the “non-MLS” Listings that you may have posted, all on one page. This is very similar to Step 2 (Featured Listings page).

Create a new “Page”, using the Page Template called “Not Listed in MLS”. Enter a “Title” for the post… for example “Listings Not in MLS”. You can leave the content blank or add optional text. Publish it.

Step 4: Basic Theme Options settings

In Theme Options (located at the bottom left of the wp-admin dashboard), in the General section, set the “Featured Listings Page” to the Page that you created in Step 2. Also set the “Non-MLS Page” to the page you set in Step 3.

Step 5: Create the Menus

Before doing this, please watch this nice video tutorial (will open in a new window) that explains this feature. This is not my own video.

This theme has a main menu in the header and a smaller menu in the footer. The menus are generated using WordPress’ new “Menus” feature. In the wp-admin, under the Appearance tab, click on “Menus” to access the Menus page.

Click the “+” tab to add a menu called “Main”. This will be the main menu in the header. Click the “Save Menu” button. Click the “+” tab again to create another menu called “Footer”. Click the “Save Menu” button again.

In the Theme Locations section, set the Main Navigation Menu to be “Main”, and the Footer Navigation Menu to be “Footer”. Click the “Save” button.

Click on the “Main” tab to activate the Main menu. In the Pages and Categories sections, check all the boxes for the pages and categories that you want to add to this Main menu. You can click/drag the results to be in the exact order that you want.

Click on the “Footer” tab, and do the same thing that you did in the previous step.

Note: Whenever you add a Page or a Category, then you will need to come into this “Menus” page and add it to your Header and Footer menus. Sorry, this is not my fault… it’s a quirk from WP 3.0.

Also note: In Step 2 you added a “Search Results” page. You will not want that page in your menus. To exclude it from the menus, simply don’t add it to the menus!

Step 6: dsIDXpress Plugin

This theme is retrofitted to work with the dsIDXpress Plugin from Diverse Solutions. It does require a monthly fee for the service. Install the plugin and activate it with the Activation Key that Diverse Solutions sent you. The demo site is using a demo of dsIDXpress and it contains about 100 fake listings.

The idea is to fill in the various Widgetized areas with dsIDXpress widgets. There are 6 widgetized areas. I will explain them and tell you what widgets the demo site is using in each.

Smallsearch (next to slideshow on homepage)

The demo has the “IDX Search widget” here, and is using the least amount of options possible so that it fits in the Slideshow on the homepage.

largesearch (in the left sidebar)

The demo uses the “IDX Search widget” again, this time using many more options.

widgetarea1 (under slideshow)

The demo is using the “IDX Listings” widget, and under it the standard “Text” widget.

widgetarea2 (under slideshow)

The demo is not using any widgets in this area.

widgetarea3 (in left sidebar, under the search)

The demo is using the “IDX Areas” widget.

widgetarea4 (in the right sidebar)

The demo is using the “IDX Areas” widget.

Step 7

This theme relies on the Timthumb.php script for taking your original large image, and repurposing it in other sizes throughout the site (like in the slideshow, thumbnails, etc.) That way you don’t need to upload more than one Portfolio or Blog image.

The /scripts folder, and scripts/cache folder must be set to a permission setting of 0777. That allows it to read and write. If it is not 0777, then the images on the site will not show up. You will need to access your site folders to change the folder permissions.

I recommend the free FireFTP plugin for Firefox. Simply log in to your server. Right-click on the folders, choose Properties, and change the number to 0777.

Step 8: Set up the Contact Form for the non-MLS Listing pages

Each non-MLS property detail page (Listing page) contains a contact form at the bottom, next to the Google Map. If you DON’T have an Agent associated with the listing, then this contact form will be a general one that won’t go to any specific Agent. This step in the setup process is to show you how to set this general contact form up.

Note: If you associate an Agent with a non-MLS listing post, then the contact form on the listing page will go directly to the Agent. See the Agents documentation for details. (This will take you to the documentation for the “standard” Openhouse theme)

Ok, back to setting up the general contact form for the listing detail page. The contact form requires the Contact Form 7 plugin. Click here to get it. (You can also search, download, and install it from wp-admin -> Plugins -> Add New.) Once installed, go the the “Contact” section in the wp-admin (bottom left of the screen). Set up the form to your requirements, or leave it at the default. (The demo uses the default form) Next, copy the “shortcode” found at the top of the page, and put it in the correct section in Theme Options -> Miscellaneous. <strong>(Note: you must replace both double-quotes with single quotes)</strong>

Step 9

Enjoy your new theme! You are now ready to post a property Listing, or blog/news post. Please continue to read the other documentation pages that follow this. I ordered them to what I feel is most important first.

Step 10

It’s not critical at this point, but you will notice that your site does not have a logo. Go to Theme Options, and in the “General” section, under Logo URL, give the full URL to your image. Also set the width and height of the image. If the logo isn’t positioned exactly right, you can enter values in “Logo position X” and “Logo position Y” to fine tune it’s position.

Every other setting in Theme Options isn’t critical at this point. The theme should be working… you now just need to add some content!

This theme has many great features and options. To get the most of the theme, please read the rest of the online help which is accessible directly from the “Documentation” menu above.