By Denise Lones M.I.R.M., CSP
Open houses are still at the top of my list of activities agents should be doing right now. An open house is the perfect venue for educating buyers on the amazing opportunities they’ll see in the market right now. And there is no better place to find buyers than at an open house.
But of course you need people at an open house for it to be successful. Here’s what I always hear from agents, “But Denise, I have open houses all the time. No one ever comes.”
The key is to take the right steps long before the open house. Here are some hot tips to make this summer’s open houses the most profitable you’ve ever held:
1. Advertise, advertise, advertise!
You need to advertise online. You need to advertise offline. You need to advertise to your database. You need to advertise to neighbors. You need to advertise to nearby “move-up” neighborhoods. You need to advertise to nearby neighborhoods from which sellers might want to downsize.
That’s a lot of advertising. But trust me—it works!
2. Hold a “Neighborhood Preview”.
There is nothing like a nosy neighbor. The open house allows neighbors to finally see what’s inside the house across the street.
Why not make it comfortable for neighbors to visit the open house? Advertise the open house from 1:00-4:00, but send a flyer to neighbors that reads “12:00-1:00 Neighborhood Preview Only”.
This sounds too simple to work, I know. But neighbors love it, especially when it’s “sanctioned” (and promoted) by the sellers. It’s a golden ticket to snoop.
3. Signage, signage, and more signage!
The average agent puts up two directional signs or A-boards leading to the house. Successful open houses require six or seven directional signs.
Make sure you are too. Take the time to map out the route of the open house all the way around the winding drive past the lake, three lefts, and a right. Don’t leave anything to chance.
Place two open house signs at the entrance to the development from the main road—one facing each direction. This makes it easier to see when driving.
Of course, make sure you are in compliance with any regulations the city may have regarding signage.
4. Offer something people won’t find at any other open house.
Like an “Open House Book”. This is a book that includes a complete analysis of all homes that are for sale in higher and lower price ranges in similar locations to this property.
The reason to have an “Open House Book” stems from the fact that most people who come to your open house will not buy the property. But chances are that they’re going to buy in that particular neighborhood – or near that particular price, or why would they be there?
It’s not just about the house you’re in. When you have additional “inventory” to show, you increase your chances of a sale.
It is critically important to serve a little “pick-me-up” for weary travelers who have been walking around looking at properties all day. I’m not talking about home-cooked meals—you don’t want that liability!
I am talking about a small cooler with some drinks and a small basket with some packaged crackers, cheese, nuts, or sweets. Make it easy for them to be there and make sure you offer them something as soon as they walk in the door.
6. Have a “takeaway” of value.
This could be an article or report about current market conditions in the neighborhood. Make it detailed, and go deep into what’s going on in the area.
When they have something to take with them, they’re much more likely to remember you. Plus, they have some conversation fodder for their next lunch with their friends. That might go like this:
“Did you see how much Jeanie’s house is going for? She’ll never sell it at that price.”
“Yes, but according to this report I got from the agent selling the house, Dan Smith’s house sold for more than that and so did Ann Jones’ house. So, maybe the market isn’t as bad as everyone says.”
Now, that’s a conversation you want neighbors to be having because YOU are the source of the information—meaning YOU are the one they will turn to if they decide to sell.
7. Time your Open House correctly.
Don’t just stay for an hour. Stick around for a while. Some of the most successful open houses last up to four hours. And don’t discount the possibility of an evening open house. Often buyers will drop by on their way home from work.
Use these hot tips to have a glorious summer full of successful open houses. They’re a great tool that too many agents overlook—one that can set you on the path to more sales.