Published by Kartik Subramaniam
For most real estate agents, a cornerstone of their business is conducting successful open houses. Because of this, I wanted to write a quick article about how to have a successful one.
Open houses are a good way to get business because it's a marketing tool that is completely free. An open house is akin to a popup retail store without actually having to pay rent. Think about it - You’re able to set up shop and have potential buyers and sellers meet you, give you their information and walk through a property that you or your company are representing. It's a great way to get business without spending any money.
There are a few things that we can do to maximize our efforts conducting open houses and making sure that we have a positive return on our time.
This means the property should be easy to find as well as be priced properly. When I say easy to find, I mean that a great listing at the top of a mountain might be a good listing to have, but it might not be such a great listing to do an open house on. If it takes two GPS systems and a satellite to find the open houses, it's probably not the one that's going to get a lot of traffic.
Having the property priced right is also important. The more fairly a property is priced, the more interest it will garner and the more traffic you're likely to have at your open house.
It's pretty likely that on a sunny weekend your house is going to have a ton of competition from other agents looking to attract buyers. For this reason, it's important to understand what the competition is. If a buyer comes into your open house and asks you about the house around the corner, an easy way to establish your credibility as a real estate agent is to be familiar with all the homes in the area. For example, it would be nice to say something like, "Yes. I've seen that property. It's a four bedroom, three bathroom for $800,000. Ours is also a four bedroom, three bathroom for $780,000 and has an upgraded kitchen." This is a great way to show a buyer that you know the market well and that your product offering is superior to any alternative.
This means lots of signs, lots of exposure on social media, inputting it in the MLS and advertising it on other websites. You may even want to consider dropping flyers on the doorsteps of some of the neighbors, inviting them to an open house. Consider sending mail to downstream markets that might have buyers for the house you're holding open. For example, if you're holding a house open for $800,000, it would be great to send a postcard a couple of weeks before your open house to a $600,000 neighborhood. The marketing piece will inquire whether those $600,000 owners might want to list their house and upgrade to your listing.
Remember that the more traffic you have, the more lead opportunities you are going to get to pick up other buyers and listings for the open house and even other homes.
The last step to a productive open house comes after the open house is completed. You'll want to follow up strong on all the leads that walk through your open house that day. This does not mean calling them two days later or even the next day. As an agent, if I hold an open house from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, at 4:00 PM I'll go take down all my signs, come back in the home, make sure it's clean and presentable. Next, I'll leave a handwritten note to the seller of the house I just held open.
It might say something like, "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Seller, thank you for sneaking away for a few hours so I could conduct the open house. We had 22 people come through and I'm going to follow up with them aggressively. Thank you again for sneaking away for a few hours." Put yourself in the shoes of the seller - I would want to know how much traffic walked through my home and an update from the agent will help accomplish that.
Before I leave the open house and lock up, I’ll make phone calls to all 22 of those people, thanking them for coming and asking them for any feedback they might have on the property. The reason I don't want to wait until the next day is that I know that my competitors are making those same calls later. I want to be top of mind and I want to be the first person those buyers think of when considering buying or selling a home. Following up quickly and aggressively is something that will help achieve that desired outcome.
Remember that holding open house is still a great way to meet potential buyers and sellers while exposing your listing to potential clients. Open houses also please the seller of the home because it indicates marketing activity. The internet will never replace face-to-face contact and holding open house is a great way to capitalize on a time honored tradition.
Best of all, it's free.
Good luck with your open houses.
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