Do open houses really work? Are they a waste of time & energy for the sellers and the realtors involved? Recently, I had a good discussion with a client about this topic. There are two ways your open house can be conducted.
First, let’s talk about the typical open house…
More often than not, when you stop in to your average open house on a Saturday or Sunday, it looks something like this: the realtor is sitting in a chair at the kitchen table, Starbucks or Dunkin coffee in hand. He or she is working on their laptop, getting emails out or possibly returning some phone calls. Maybe even texting with their friends about where they would rather be.
There’s a sign in sheet, a few flyers on the table, and some business cards.
When you walk in, the realtor may tell you a couple things about the house then let you tour on your own, and they’ll ask at the end “do you have any questions?” You say no, put your shoes on, then you’re off to the next one.
Folks, if you hire a realtor to sell your home, and this is a version of what they’re doing at the open house, then open houses WILL NOT work.
HOWEVER… There’s a better way open houses can be executed, and both the realtor and the seller will benefit greatly from it.
Having a successful open house not as easy as just posting online, putting a sign in the yard and showing up. There’s more to it. I’ve hosted successful open houses that have resulted in contracts and closings. I’ve also hosted open houses that have been duds.
Let’s talk more about why your realtor should host open houses, what is needed for them to be successful.
First things first, I highly recommend your home should be listed for sale in the MLS to host an open house. Trying to pull this off as a for sale by owner is dangerous, and the stats have shown for sale by owner homes sell for less money than MLS homes listed with a realtor. Contact me if you have questions on how to get your home listed for sale, because that’s what I do!
Yes, the main goal of an open house is to find a qualified buyer. BUT, what a lot of people don’t realize is that just the event of the open house creates a buzz. It gives interested buyers a sense of urgency, and also the fear of loss. As a seller, that’s what you want.
IE – IF there’s an open house Saturday, and a buyer has a showing on Thursday, there is a good chance they’ll be aware of the open house. And if they want to write an offer, there’s a good chance they’ll act on it before Saturday’s open house. Buyers don’t want anyone else to see the house, nor do they want to be in a multiple offer situation or a bidding war.
How is your realtor marketing the open house? It’s a great question to ask.
When I first got my license and started hosting open houses on my listings, I’ll be honest, I didn’t do as much to promote open houses. I would post it online, show up, get some directional signs out, open the door and wait for customers. Which, looking back, was an awful strategy!
Today when I host an open house, my goal is to make it an EVENT!
Yes, your open house should be an event! Because that’s what it is, right? YOU are spending hours cleaning your house, decluttering, storing crap away, going through all of this hassle. Why not get the full return on all of your time invested?
So how do people hear about events? MARKETING. Makes sense… And where is everyone these days? On their phones – on FACEBOOK.
When I host an open house for a client, we promote the heck out of it. I’ll first get a video/slideshow posted on my facebook page, market it to my hundreds of friends & followers. Then I’ll run an additional paid facebook advertisement to a targeted audience that might be interested (or know someone interested) in my listing! This could get thousands more views on the listing. There are millions of people on facebook in our country alone, why not leverage it?
This alone creates a ton of extra exposure, online traffic, and a better chance of finding a buyer.
The more eyes the better… Video tours are proven to have more views than just pictures. In the end, my goal is to create as much buzz as possible, to get as many people through the door as possible.
Another key element is directional signage in the neighborhood. I put up at least 6-7 signs throughout the neighborhood, letting people know where the open house is. The more the better.
How does your home present itself to customers that are walking through? Is the home clean and does it smell good? How is the staging? These are all key elements to a successful open house, and a a real estate pro, I can help in these areas.
Also, is your realtor touring buyers through the home and asking the right questions? Pointing out key features of the home that tie into the buyers interest?
No other agent knows your home better than YOUR listing agent, and they should be guiding buyers through your home to help highlight key features and answer questions.
Is your realtor doing anything extra to make the event more fun? I usually try to have at LEAST refreshments, cookies/snacks, candy, coloring books for kids, raffle giveaways, and some swag or free giveaways.
It’s one thing to just have an open house, but is your realtor gathering buyer information and following up with possible leads that might want to buy your home? The follow up is key…
If you’re interested in learning more about my open houses, I’d be happy to talk more. My company, 103 Realty, has all kinds of references and reviews online at sites like Zillow, Yelp and Google (5 stars too!). Check into references if you’re interested in working with me and my team. Or, just ask us and we can help.
I look forward to helping you in the future!
-Pat Kalamatas (Realtor/Owner 103 Realty) / 312.880.7862 / firstname.lastname@example.org