Open houses are becoming less and less important since there are so many ways to walk through or tour the house online now. That doesn't mean that open houses don't serve any purposes, in fact they serve a few, even though 88 percent of buyers search and view houses online.
Because of this the biggest benefit of an open house probably isn't even meeting potential buyers. The National Association of Realtors said in 2014, only 9% of buyers found the home they eventually purchased at an open house.
So chances are your buyers are going to have viewed and toured the home online, before you even get in contact with them.
It's still an important chance to reach buyers, and I'll go over ways to get ready later, but it's a bigger opportunity to show people the type of agent that you are.
This is where you brand yourself with any of the tools you use to make yourself stand out.
First thing to do is to make yourself an absolute expert in the neighborhood and the surrounding area, since people that are stopping by must be interested in a home in the area at the very least.
Show them that you'll be the best person to help them find a place. Do this by talking about the best schools, venues and other things around the home. Mention the fastest routes toward downtown or wherever they may work.
You want to make the open house as much as an event as you can.
Even making it a certain theme is a good idea, but don't dress the house up in that theme, because then buyers will have a tougher time imaging themselves living there.
Brand the area and neighborhood with your signs that advertise you as an agent.
These should be as visible and as memorable (without crossing the line or being unprofessional) as possible so it sticks in people's minds. If you make it a community event, offering food and free stuff to the first few people there, a good idea is to team up with a local company and advertise it with them.
This will even paint a greater connection to the community in people's eyes, if it is a local and well-liked company.
Go out to local places and high-visibility spots and hand out flyers or brochures with information about the open house. Be sure to get contact information from anyone that RSVPs or shows up to the house.
When you run an online ad, include a short video walk through, that way the viewers will be wanting more and interested in the general feel of the house. If the property has a single property website (which it should), make sure to have aerial pictures showcasing the area and the surrounding houses. Sell the entire neighborhood.
Preparing the Home
It goes without saying that it should be spotless. Baseboards, bathrooms, windows and everything else needs to be ready for viewers. Don't expect a whole lot of people, but you must gain full trust and make everyone who shows up a lead.
Go through the home with the owner and address anything that could stand out to the viewers. Make the house as neutral as possible. Take out anything that indicates what type of people lived there before, including family photos.
Use staging and decluttering techniques to get the home completely ready. Don't get discouraged when no one has serious interest in their home. If you collected leads then it was more than worth it. It also shows the owner that you really are working hard to sell their home.
How realistic should you be with the owner about the chances that this sells their home?
Don't act like there's a big chance it will sell, but sell them on getting the community and neighborhood involved. The more neighbors you tell and that can even show up, the more exposure it will get them.
If you use an open house as a tool to do all these things, it could be more than worth it.
Joe Nickelson is a real estate professional dedicated to helping home buyers and sellers achieve their dreams of owning property, and helping real estate agents stop using the sometimes-vicious tactics that weigh on their consciences. He believes that the Smart Agents books will, quite literally, change people’s lives for the better. Check out his full bio here!