Before the question of whether or not open houses actually “work” is answered we should probably define what the word “work” actually means.
If you are a real estate agent and believe that a successful open house is one where the agent found a buyer for that property on the day of that open house then very few open houses actually “work”.
However, if you define a successful open house as a chance to network with neighbors in a particular farm area, an opportunity to show the owners that you are doing something that is almost expected, and a way to find buyer clients for other homes, then nearly every open house has the potential to be a success.
Like many things in business, a substantial amount of time and effort is necessary to ensure that an open house will attract the right kind of traffic and result in at least a few interested and qualified potential buyers. Sometimes, sadly, even with a high traffic count, the net result might be less than satisfying.
While it’s also true that on occasion, “the buyer” will walk into an open house and make it all seem easy, if not preordained – but this can sometimes be attributed to pure chance.
Folks who are not quite ready to buy immediately frequently visit open houses as a way to solidify their preferences and explore the market. An open house can be the best way for an agent to meet people “up close and personal,” demonstrate market knowledge, hand out cards, and take names. You never know when you’re going to meet a buyer. It’s best to always be prepared.
How to Do a Successful Open House
Use all the tools available to you to stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to spend big bucks on advertising, or on refreshments. Use technology to your advantage.
Here are some ideas:
• Livestream the Open House on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube:
Give quick snippets of information as you walk through the rooms. Talk about the neighborhood, the easy commute to downtown, the community pool, the schools or a nearby shopping mall. Show the house at the same time.
• Invite the neighbors:
Count them as your allies to “sell” the good points about the area, rather than as “tire-kickers.”
• Consider Unconventional Hours:
If the home has spectacular sunset views, schedule the open house for late afternoon. Or, alternatively, be slightly ahead of the normal 1-3 or 2-4 schedule, and offer coffee or fresh-squeezed orange juice. If you are going to serve alcohol at an open house, other rules can apply. Proceed with caution. I did a video and an article on this as indicated by the prior link.
• Creativity Counts:
Employ an iPad as a digital sign-in sheet and encourage visitors to ask questions. Get back to them via email with specific answers. You’ll boost your chances of developing new relationships.
Perhaps most importantly, be there for everyone who walks through the front door. Meet and greet every visitor with a smile and a card. Never simply sit behind a desk or on a kitchen stool. But, be sure to give visitors a chance to walk through the house at their own speed and in their own way.
View an open house as an opportunity to sell yourself as well as the property and then every open house is, indeed, totally worth it!