Open house season is in full gear and every weekend homes in every neighborhood are open for the public to come visit. Open houses remain one if not the most important business building strategy an agent can do. Open houses are not just for weekends. We have Real Estate teams holding open houses 7 days a week at all times of the day. The goal of hosting an open house is not to sell the home. National Association of REALTORS statistics show us only 7% of homes sell as a result of an open house. So why are open houses so important? Think about… Every consumer who walks though the door is a potential buyer or seller today and all are sphere builders. With the proper tools and some tips from top agents we have assembled 37 Open House ideas sure to generate more business for you.
1. Promote Your Open House On Your Zillow Page – Free
When you claim a property listing on Zillow, you can include details about your open house for no additional cost. And when you join Zillow Premier Agent, you can crowd out the competition by making yourself the exclusive agent for your listing. You’ll also show up on OTHER agent’s listings for more exposure.
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2. Engage With Your Visitors & Put Away the Phone
“As an agent, it is extremely important to constantly be engaged with whomever comes into your Open House. The best and most treasured tip I can give is to put away your cell phone – out of view, either in your pocket or a drawer – and do not be on your computer. Think about it…when you arrive to an Open House as an agent and you see the hosting agent on their cell phone or computer, what is your first thought? Mine is that they would rather be somewhere else and are not totally interested in selling the house. I understand there are exceptions. However, I’ve seen this become more than norm. Host an Open House with the intention of engaging EVERYONE who comes in with a smile on your face, eyes up, and armed with facts on the house you want to sell. Your attendees will appreciate your full attention.”
3. Offer Your Visitors Food & Drinks
Any experienced realtor will tell you there is no better way to build your sphere of influence than circle prospecting. Inviting the neighbors to a private lunch or wine and cheese party at your open house is a great way to build your sphere. Who can resist free food?
Here’s how Agent does it.
“Reach out to 10 neighbors on each side of the house and 15 across the street. This will create a buzz between neighbors and their friends. Make sure you are acquainted with those homes. Socialize, be friendly, connect with the public but most importantly, have fun!”
Though he primarily uses Facebook marketing these days, this 37 Year Veteran Broker takes it a step further:
“One of our lenders has offered to bring a food trailer and cook hot dogs and hamburgers for the neighborhood for kids. We have brought an ice cream truck out in the past.”
You get the idea.. Go Big Or Go Home!
4. Know Your Market Data Before Even Thinking About Hosting an Open House
“Buyers are becoming increasingly savvy to current market trends and data points, so know your numbers. Before the open house, study up on competing listings, so you can speak intelligently on the competition and recent sales. Also, since not everyone that comes through the property will be “the Buyer”, make sure to have printouts of all the competing listings in the immediate area so that in the event a potential Buyer doesn’t have interest in the house that’s being held open, you can still potentially work with them on another of the homes they might be considering. “Here’s the big secret weapon… Make sure you have printouts of the records of the homes on the same street. This way when Seller’s nosey on in, you’ll be fully equipped to have an intelligent conversation about selling their home” Plus, in the end, your extra prep will help demonstrate that you are the trusted neighborhood expert that they should be working with!”
5. Go Digital With an Online Open House Sign-In
Stop trying to read people’s chicken scratch. When they walk in to visit your open house, allow them to sign in on your phone or tablet, and have their information export into your CRM. Open Home Pro, a Placester product, includes a digital sign-in sheet with customizable questions. Its lead management tool also allows you to record visitor notes and indicates which visitors don’t already have an agent. There are many different digital open house products and a simple search can yield great results.
6. Want More Contacts in Your CRM? Skip the Flyers & Show Sheets
“My favorite open house tip is NOT to provide flyers but to explain to clients / potential home buyers that “these days, digital marketing packages are so robust, along with reports and disclosures” that it’s much better to email them. This way, I have increased (in a major way) information capture. If a buyer is leery of providing the contact information, I tell them that I will either CC their Realtor or respect their privacy but that this way they have a direct line to ask questions.
I pick up more buyers to put in my drip system this way – when you “let” them take a flyer and walk out the door, they’re gone forever.”
7. Schedule an Open House the Day The Listing Hits the Market
“One strategy that has worked well for many is to put a lot of effort into marketing a home while it is still “Coming soon” and at the same time, market an open house for the same day it hits the market. In a market where homes are selling quick and for top dollar, this could be a great strategy to generate buzz and get your sellers more money. Convenience is key, as most people work till early evening and getting a showing privately is tough. Then if you cant get in, often times the home is sold.
An open house on the day you list allows those people to view the home quickly and it also shows those people that there is a lot of interest in the home and generates more ACTION vs just a bunch of lookers. This will ultimately lead to more offers, more competition, and a higher sale price for your sellers.”
8. Promote Your Open House to Your Email List
Since email marketing has an incredible 4300% ROI, it’s no wonder more and more agents are focusing their marketing efforts on people’s inboxes.
An invitation to your open house can be the perfect excuse for your audience to finally come meet you in person. It also has the added benefit of showing off your property marketing skills.
“Tucson is home to some of the best views, and quite often they can be seen in every part of Tucson and if they can natural light is key to the homebuyers process. When we first arrive at the property, we walk through the home and take inventory of rooms to highlight with natural lighting. We find that the homebuyers generally embrace it because that’s what most people want. In most cases, Tucson weather is rather stagnant, we don’t really have to worry about the rain that often unless it’s monsoon, however we still leave th blinds open. It can really transform a space even if the weather isn’t the best outside, ceiling lighting can only do so much.
10. Automate your lead process to keep up your momentum after the open house.
Everyone who visits an open house is a potential buyer, making an open house one of the best ways to build relationships in an area. Whether they’re interested in the particular property, or if they’re an active buyer seeing places, you should follow up within a couple days. We recommend using a CRM client relationship manager so you can make sure no potential buyers fall through the cracks. A good CRM will return it’s investment 100 times. Remember just buying one doesn’t make it rain. You have to use the CRM to generate business…
11. Make Minor Renovations & Repairs Before Your First Open House
“Most sellers and their brokers know the importance of cleaning and de-cluttering a home before listing it on the market, but I also stress the importance making small home improvements to my clients. If the first thing a buyer sees are outdated light fixtures, peeling paint and dirty windows, they can easily be put-off and focus on how much work the property needs. Hiring a window cleaner, painting and replacing light switches/outlets and fixtures are all relatively inexpensive ways to make a better first impression.”
12. Bundle Neighborhood Open Houses Together
Many of our offices have found greater success in getting 3-5 open houses scheduled together in the same neighborhood. This way all of the agents go to work promoting an “event” rather than a single open house. Open House Extravaganza’s are another great strategy. Focus on the entire city or county. In RE/MAX Gold’s case we have over 60 offices and in many cities multiple offices. For instance in our Sonoma and Marin Counties we have 5 different offices. Pulling all the open houses together for a weekend extravaganza and allows everyone to really maximize the rewards.
Of course, each home needs to be as welcoming at possible. Many opt for professional staging. This strategy works wonders too: faster sales mean happier clients!
13. Use Open House Signs Strategically
Since most of the neighbors probably aren’t following your listings on Zillow or your email list, the only way they’ll know you’re having an open house is to tell them. One strategy is to knock on doors or make phone calls to invite the neighbors but some find this invasive and some neighborhoods don’t even allow it.
Instead, use open house signs strategically to draw traffic to your open house. Here’s how: Use multiple types of signs that are visible and legible from a distance (at least 30 feet), and place directional signs to advertise in a five block radius to reach a wider audience. The more signs the better. It should be a parade of signs heading to the home.
14. Depersonalize the House
There are a few schools of thought here, but most professionals recommend removing as many family photos, awards, or diplomas etc from the home as possible before the open house.
“You have a lot of different types of people, from all walks of life, with different customs, cultures and religions, attending your open house. You don’t want the space to feel like it belongs to any one group of people.”
15. Remember to Clean and Organize the Closets
No matter how hard you try to stop them, buyers (sometimes even buyer’s agents) will open the closets. Instead of letting them drown in an avalanche of boxes when they open that closet door, make sure all closets (this includes hall closets, bedroom closets, kids closets, linen closets ALL CLOSETS) are clean and organized.
16. Use this Handy Checklist for Your Open House
Did you make sure all valuables are put away? Is the thermostat set to a comfortable temperature? Did you check the house for burnt out light bulbs? Are ALL the windows clean? Instead of pulling your hair out the day of your open house, use this handy checklist.
17. Spruce Up the Front Door to Make a Great First Impression
Simple updates to your front door can make a huge difference. It’s the first thing buyers see – an inviting door calls people in and sets the tone for the rest of the home. Good first impressions go a long way and can result in a relatively large return on investment.
18. Use a Virtual Tour to Attract Buyers Who Can’t Attend Your Open House
An open house is not only free publicity to potential buyers who visit the listing, but also to potential buyers who aren’t able to make it. Give those buyers an open house experience by creating a virtual tour of the listing with Matterport 3D technology. A virtual tour will also give those who visited another chance to revisit the house, solidifying the deal.
19. Rent a Drone to Hover an Open House Banner
Drone service providers do drone advertising. They attach professional banners to drones and fly them in public places for businesses and real estate agents. They can hover a banner stating that a particular house has an open house and the real estate agents that have used these services saw a tremendous increase in traffic to the properties.
20. The 3 Handouts Every Realtor Needs For An Open House
- Mortgage Loan Breakdown – Helps prospects understand the potential costs of financing the property.
- Glossary of Home Ownership/Mortgage Terms – A single sheet of key terms and phrases can be extremely helpful to both first-time buyers and move-up buyers who haven’t purchased a home in a while.
- Neighborhood Information – Note local schools, grocery stores or restaurants and the “walk score” of the home. And don’t forget today’s buyer concerns such as the best cell phone carrier/coverage for the area (very important in hilly, mountainous and coastal areas).
22. Don’t Forget About Security
In nearly all the cases, preparing a property for showing happens in a big rush. You need to clean, declutter, wash and polish things up to make your home look as appealing to prospects as possible. Under the circumstances, it’s easy to forget about safety and security. Keep in mind that holding an open house means letting complete strangers in. This mere fact should be enough reason to tighten up on security. Make sure to hide from sight all checkbooks, private documents, jewelry, expensive gadgets, and other valuables. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
22. Go With a Themed Open House.
These days hosting an open house is about an experience even though the prospective home buyer may not have the opportunity to spend too much time at any given open house. They’d like to maximum their Sundays and preview as many as possible.
For example–if the home is Spanish Hacienda style–why not present delicious tapas? Playing light music–bossa nova also cheers up the preview time too.
23. Keep the Scent Neutral
Did you know 1 out of 3 people don’t like scented products? That includes air fresheners, candles, incense, and potpourri. Instead of masking odors with plugging in, warming oils, or burning candles, invest in carpet shampoo and be sure to air out the home for a few hours before your open house. Here are
24. Get Advice From Those You Trust
If money’s a bit short, then some sage advice is to invite three of your closest friends/family to your home to tell you what they really think. Get them to pretend they are a potential buyer and walk around the property, speaking aloud their thoughts and asking questions potential buyers might ask. Follow them around with a notepad and jot down anything they say (or give them a dicataphone).
Make sure that you have a chat with them beforehand, encouraging them to be completely honest in their thoughts – from what your house smells like, to removing a hideous picture from a wall. It helps if they walk round independently of each other; if they all mention the same things, you know you definitely need to take action.
Though they’re a lot of work, open houses are still one of the best ways to generate leads and expand your sphere of influence in your farm area. Taking the time to market, advertise, clean and style your listing properly before the big day will lead to bigger crowds and more closed deals on the horizon. Let me know in the comments if there are any open house ideas you have.