My favorite time of the year is here – Open House Season!
I love it because agents are charged up. They are polishing their open house tools and putting a shine on everything. Open house season says, “We are open for business!”
With the market picking up in many areas, this spring’s open house season promises to be one of the most robust in years. In fact, a Seattle agent recently reported they had over 100 people through their open house!
There are many agents who don’t see the value in open houses. There are some areas that are not set up for open houses, such as very rural areas, but in most populated places around the country open houses are effective. They are effective when the agents in the community bind together and create a culture that supports them.
The National Association of REALTORS® Nationwide Open House Weekend does just that. By creating real estate community enthusiasm, support, and awareness, NAR is hoping this year’s Open House Weekend is the largest yet. Nationwide Open House Weekend is coming up on April 20th and 21st and I challenge each and every reader to participate!
According to NAR, 45% of recent buyers used open houses to narrow down their home choices and make buying decisions. That in itself is a compelling reason to get involved! If you’re unused to holding open houses your mind may be filling with concerns and questions – where do I even begin? Well, we’re here to help!
What if I don’t have a listing to hold open?
If you don’t have a listing to hold open, find an agent in your office who does. Make sure it is in a highly-trafficked area, is not overpriced, and ideally hasn’t been on the market for too long.
How should I advertise?
Your local REALTOR® Association should have resources available to you. Examples include special advertising for those participating, flyers, balloons, etc. And the REALTOR.org website has plenty of available tools as well, including press releases and logos. Send press releases to the newspaper, post on your blog or social media websites – do everything you can to spread the word!
In terms of direct advertising, consider sending postcards to the neighbors, or possibly target a nearby neighborhood with move-up potential. Generally move-up buyers buy half again as much of the selling value of their home. So, if the home you are holding open is $300,000, target neighborhoods with homes valued at $200,000. And remember – these invitations may get potential buyers to the home – who may then in turn be potential sellers. If you live in an area that is lacking inventory, those listings are highly-coveted.
Should I invite the neighbors?
Absolutely! Connecting with the neighbors is essential. Remember, if the home you are holding open sells quickly, this is an indication that their home may also quickly sell. And you want to be the one they call if they are heading in that direction.
We have a stock letter that you may use to let the neighbors know about the upcoming open house. Visit this Club Zebra Page and log in with your free Club Zebra Basic membership to download the letter located in Part 2: Before the Open House.
What materials should I have at my open house?
A well-done open house will wow attendees and leave them wanting more. Even for those who may be “lookie-loos”, a clean and sparkling open house coupled with compelling information about the benefits of buying now might just turn a visitor with no intention of buying into someone opening up to the idea.
For this group, I would have information on interest rates and comparable monthly payments. From 3.25% all the way up to 7% (representative of the likely range of interest rates they may be paying). Show what the monthly payment on the property you are holding open might be at today’s interest rate (make sure if you reflect a 20% down payment that it is clearly indicated along with all appropriate disclaimers). If you are a Club Zebra PRO member, you may download an article to distribute as well.
Other market information that I would have available includes:
- Change in median home sales price over the last five years (both for your area and locally around the open house)
- Change in inventory and homes under contract
- Change in days on market
- Sold Homes per month over the last several years
People love historical data. And much of it is available through your MLS. Create a few graphs and put them on a market information board and you will find people taking a closer look and hopefully asking questions. This is a great opportunity to offer to send them the report, so they can look at it more in-depth at their leisure (and there you have their contact information!).
If you are in a lower-priced home, keep in mind that you may have first-time homebuyers coming through your open house. Make sure you have information on the buying process, getting pre-qualified, the impact of changing interest rates, and even a piece on how to build wealth through appreciation, and home ownership versus paying rent. If you are a Club Zebra PRO member, you can download that tool here.
In terms of property marketing, you should have the following:
- Welcome sign at the front door indicating visitors should come in
- Special feature cards highlighting the not-so apparent benefits of the property (such as heating system, built-in vacuum, on-demand hot water, etc).
- House flyer with feature sheet – take all the special features and list them on one sheet
- Amenities map – showing the location of nearby amenities such as shopping, parks, schools, etc.
- Aerial map – show what the property looks like from above!
And finally, I would have a Tour of Homes book (also known as the Open House Book). This book shows other homes for sale in the area which are priced just a little higher and a little lower than the home you held open.
How am I going to get all of this together by the open house weekend?
Don’t panic! If you are starting from scratch, I have a few solutions for you:
- You may not be able to get all of it done in the next two weeks. Just choose a few things to get done now but make a plan for implementing the rest throughout the open house season.
- Order the Unforgettable Open House Lead Generation system. It is chock-full of ready-to-use templates for you to customize with your own information. And right now it is sale-priced at $397 ($297 for Club Zebra PRO members) AND you will receive a month of Club Zebra PRO membership absolutely FREE!
- OR Get the Unforgettable Open House Lead Generation System … for FREE! Yes, you heard correctly! Now through April 20th, I am giving away my Open House Lead Generation system for free to agents who order a branding package. If branding and getting your business systems in order is on your spring-cleaning “To Do” list, there has never been a better time to get started! And with our customizable packages and financing options, there is no excuse not to get your branding done! Click here for our branding packages or send us an email to [email protected] to get started. Or give us a call at our office at 360-527-8904! To read more about this exciting offer please click here.
Agents, I know I have given you a lot of information today, but this season is going to be the best one yet and I want you to be prepared and to SHINE! Let’s get some energy around open houses in our communities in a big way and throw those doors wide open!!!