Open houses can be a dependable source for generating new buyer and seller leads, plus you may even find a buyer for the house you're holding open! Some real estate agents don't like to hold open houses, that's great! That is where a site like Agents4Opens comes in handy, allowing agents who want to hold open houses, hold open the listings of those agents who don't like open houses.
Do you want to hold a successful open house? Of course you do! Follow the below tips to learn how.
Selecting The Best House
Now, if you have one listing, this step can be easy. If you have multiple listings, or no listings, this gets a little trickier.
Neighborhood Open Houses
Some things to look for are how many open houses are scheduled in your neighborhood and where is the house located in that neighborhood. If there are several open houses in the area, that can be a great boost to your open house! Think of it this way, instead of relying solely on your marketing, you now have the marketing of multiple agents drawing in potential buyers. If one of the agents puts up a large quantity of signs all around the area, that allows you to concentrate your signage around your open house.
If your house is at the beginning of the area that is having several open houses, you will get a larger traffic "boost" from the other open houses than if you were at the end of the area.
Other Important Factors
Some other factors to consider is the price and desirability of the house. If the house is overpriced, it may not get a lot of visitors. Likewise a pool home in the 60 degree winter may not have as much draw as a pool home in the 90+ degree heat of summer. Single story homes may have more of a draw than two-story homes. These types of factors are very specific to your area and you'll need to use your judgement and experience to pick the best one.
What if I Don't Have a Listing?
Most would consider that a problem. Typically agents will cold call other agents and hope that not only they have a listing they'd like held open, but the seller is willing to have it held open. Luckily Agents4Opens makes finding a listing to hold open much, much easier. Simply create an account, search for homes in your area and apply to host one. The listing agent will then review your application and contact you if selected. You can agree that this is much better than cold calling all the agents in the local area!
Once you have a listing to hold open, the next step is to advertise that open house.
If you're holding one of your own listings open, you can mark it open in the MLS which will show make it show as open on the search portals. If you're holding someone else's listing open, they will need to do this step for you.
In addition to getting the listing to show as active on the portals, you should also market it far and wide (after-all, you want as many people in as possible, right?). Ways you should consider include:
- Marketing to your sphere of influence
- Boosted social media posts
- Social media advertisements
- Door knock the neighborhood
- Getting a lender on board to sit the open house with you and having them co-market their sphere and social networks as well.
The Day of Marketing
Marketing the open house on the day of the open house is crucial. You need enough open house signs to get people to your open house, but not so many that the city comes down on you. Always know and follow your local rules and regulations as to how many signs you can put out and where they can be placed.
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One other thing to consider is making your signs stand out. Sometimes attaching a flag or balloons to the sign may aid in catching the attention of shoppers, especially if your signs don't stand out on their own (like white signs against a white wall).
You can also consider large open house flags for the front of the property to make it extra visible from afar. Like the below flags, for example.
Preparing the House for Success
During the week leading up to the open house, you need to work with your sellers (or the listing agent will need to, if you're hosting someone else's listing) to make sure the house is "show ready."
Some simple steps to get a house show ready include:
- Cleaning and organizing all the rooms, especially those more lived in or lived in by kids.
- Make sure the landscaping is well maintained and trim any bushes or shrubs that are "unkempt."
- Wash or sweep the patios, walkways, driveways, etc.
- Fresh flowers are inexpensive and can add a much needed bit of color in or around the home.
- Avoid any strong smells, scented candles or even baking cookies! Any special smell leads the visitor to wonder what the smell is covering up.
- Take down any controversial decorations, such as political items, hunting trophies, etc.
- Put the toilet seats down.
- Avoid having any rooms that are "off limits" unless there is a good security reason to do so (such as a large safe you don't want advertised to everyone).
- Hide the pet's toys, bowls, beds, etc.
- If there are any special features, make signs to highlight them.
- Put away any valuables, medicines or sensitive papers (bank statements, etc.).
- And last but not least, make sure all people and animals leave the house for the duration of the open house.
Open House Security
Your security when hosting an open house is paramount and so is the security of the seller's home... after-all you are inviting strangers into their home. While some may be "nosey neighbors" or potential buyers, others could be casing the house.
Some basic security measures are:
- First and foremost someone you trust, whether it's a co-worker, a spouse or a friend from yoga should be your "open house buddy." They should know where the open house is, what it's hours are and you should call them when you're done and on the way home.
- Requiring all visitors to sign in (this is also how you grow your database). You can take that one step further by checking IDs.
- Don't let people use the bathroom.
- You have the right to refuse entry to anyone, if your "spidey-senses" are tingling, don't let them in.
- Don't let people walk around alone.
- Follow the visitors around, don't let them follow you.
- Don't let the visitors get between you and an exit and don't let them trap you in a secluded room.
- Have an extra person with you, or at least checking in on you regularly.
- Have multiple ways out of the house and down to the street and your car... and always keep your keys and valuables on you.
Don't Forget to Give Branded Information Out!
The visitors to the open house should be given a flyer with information on the house. You can also have additional information about local schools, HOA amenities (if applicable) and even area comps available as well. These additional items can be placed in a central location and you may only need one or two copies for interested parties to look through.
If you are holding someone else's listing open, follow your state and local laws for displaying the agent's name and office info on the flyers.
Interact With Your Visitors
This next one is key. Greet the visitors and introduce yourself as they enter and thank them for coming. Let them know a little about the house. Let them know some of the key features.
Once you've had your initial introductions, allow them to tour the house and periodically interact with them. This is the only way you'll be able to build that rapport with them and find out if they're serious shoppers or just looking for fun.
There are many scripts out there from organizations such as Mike Ferry, that will help you know what questions to ask your visitors.
Can I have a Successful Open House During a Holiday or Special Event?
There are a couple schools of thought on this and as with all things real estate related, it also depends on your area.
For example, a holiday weekend like Easter or Mother's Day is not typically a "get out of town holiday" like Labor Day or Thanksgiving typically are. So hosting an open house on Easter or Mother's Day, may have better results for you, compared to a Labor Day or Fourth of July open house. On the flip side of that argument is the school of thought that "anyone who is looking at open houses on travel holidays are most likely serious buyers." While this does have merit and my increase your chances of selling that home, if your goal is to build your database, this may not be the best weekend to hold an open house.
You'll also want to know what is going on in your neighborhood. For example, if the street is being shut down for a neighborhood block party, that's probably a bad time for an open house. It may be a good time though to fire up the grill and meet the neighbors. Who knows, maybe one of them will want your listing... I've seen people move across the street for a view or two houses down for one.
In addition, is there any special neighborhood feature, like a park or highly rated school, that is having a special event or sports game? These types of events can draw in a lot of traffic and one parent can stay at the game and another can check out the open houses.
Open houses can be a great tool for agents looking to build their database or even sell a home, if they are done smartly. Successful open houses require a good amount of preparation, advertising and intelligent execution.Need any open house supplies like signs, a guest registry, shoe covers, etc? Check out our store for everything you need or check out our store on All Things Real Estate
Do you have any tips or personal experiences you'd like to share? Leave us a comment below.