BY DENISE LONES
Open houses still remain on my list of top things agents should be doing right now. The market is ripe for buyers that you can educate on the current state of the market. And there is no better place to find them than at an open house. However, of course you need people at an open house for it to be successful. The key is to take the right steps before you put that open house sign in their yard.
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 of the open house. You need to advertise to higher-price point people in the neighborhood. You need to advertise to lower-price point people in the neighborhood. That’s a lot of advertising, but trust me, it works!
2. Hold a “Neighborhood Preview” – There is nothing like a nosy neighbor. What an opportunity an open house is for one to finally see what’s inside the house across the street that they’ve seen every day for the past 10 years! Why not make it easier for neighbors to visit the open house? Advertise the open house from 1-3, but for the neighbors use flyers that read “12-1 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 signage – The average agent puts up two directional signs leading to the house. Successful open houses take 6-7 directional signs – I’m serious. 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. Also, 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.
4. Make sure you have something people won’t find at any other open house – One example is 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 the neighborhood (or else why would they be there?) Or they’re going to buy near the advertised price range (or else 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.
5. Food! – 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 something to give them – 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. Something 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 real estate 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 neighborhood friends to be having because you are the source of the information — meaning you are the one they will run 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.
Use these hot tips to have a glorious summer full of successful open houses. They’re a great marketing tool that too many agents overlook, one that can set you on the path to more sales.
The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development and agent/broker training, Lones is nationally recognized as the go-to for all things “real estate.” Lones can be reached at 369.527.8904 or at thelonesgroup.com.