How To Hold An Effective Open House
Real estate agents all have very different methods on how to hold an effective open house, but when talking about conducting an open house very few deviate from the traditional ways of doing it. Today I will discuss how to hold an effective open house. But before we start let’s talk about the things real estate agents shouldn’t do when holding an open house…
Want To Know How To Hold An Effective Open House? Don’t Do This!
1) Do not schedule your open house when there is a major event happening like Super Bowl Sunday unless you’re going to give it a super bowl theme and that in itself requires a lot of planning, and a little bit of money. Guess what most people want to do on Superbowl Sunday? Well watch the Superbowl. Try and stay away from events like this as they will hurt your attendance unless of course you have no other choice and your sellers are insisting. (Can’t get away from that last one)
2) Don’t hold an open house for more then 3 hours. Most of the time I like to stick to 2 hours but for remote areas where people may have trouble finding it, 3 hours is plenty. I have seen open houses go as long as 4-5 hours… (12 – 4 or 5) That’s crazy. An open house that goes too long screams of desperation to potential buyers especially experienced home buyers… The only way an open house should go that long is if you have created some sort of event around it like a Super open house on Superbowl Sunday and even then the timing will need to be perfect.
3) Never leave your signs on someone else’s property because one of two things will happen. Either they will remove your sign and no one will see it, or they might show up to the open house and cause a scene. A couple of years ago when I was showing some clients some homes we stopped into a open house around the corner. I will never forget what happened to that open house when a neighbor stopped by freaking out because the agent had left their sign on their property. The place was pretty busy and then all of a sudden it was empty. The neighbor sucked the life right out of the open house and they had every reason to be mad. If you really want to leave your sign on that perfect corner just knock on their door and ask. Also you need to follow your local city bylaws on where you can leave your signs otherwise you may even have your signed removed by the city. And if this happens you should expect a fine to arrive in the mail.
4) The last thing is for the lack of a better term SHUT UP and listen. I can’t tell you how many open houses I attend where the Realtor is the one doing all the talking. Well guess what? That means those people you’re talking to are actually qualifying you even if they don’t know it yet. Your job is to ask as many questions as you can to learn about these prospects in order to qualify if in fact they’re a good prospect, or just window shoppers. The window of opportunity to speak with good prospects is so small at an open house so don’t waste it. My motto has always been qualify, qualify qualify.
I ask questions while showing people the property to qualify if there is a fit for that property, or maybe another property. But by the time they leave I will know what I have if anything at all.
How To Hold An Effective Open House
Below are the steps you need to follow in order to hold an effective open house. Follow these to a tee, master it and I guarantee it will help you sell more homes, and get more prospects.
1) Planning will be huge. A properly planned and executed open house will allow you to do the best job possible with the least amount of work. Most agents wake up that morning and just wing it, top agents plan it all week or already have a system in place that works for all open houses.
2) Promotion of the open house is key. Simply showing up that day and putting some signs out is the rookie way of doing it. Send out at least 500-1000 postcards or flyers 2 days before the open house telling people when and where the open house will be. Include all your contact info, and you can even set up a registration form on your website for it. If you use Aweber this is extremely easy. Now when the day comes and people see your signs there’s a much better chance of them stopping in. Email your entire database of prospects and Realtors with details of the open house. Take out some ads in local papers or real estate magazines. The more you do promote it the better. This is a big part of how to hold an effective open house.
3) Come prepared with listing sheets, feature sheets, title information, history on home, etc… You can write down some questions you think people may have a few days before the open house, and then get those answers if you don’t know them. This way prospects will say to themselves man that Realtor knows their stuff. Agents that go that extra mile easily separate themselves from the herd.
4) Arrive early and prep. At the front door make sure there is adequate space for people to leave their shoes and make sure you have a remove shoes sign. I don’t know about you but if I was selling a home and my realtor allowed people to walk through it in their shoes I wouldn’t be too happy. Place your sign in sheet immediately at the front door along with business cards, your sign in sheet, and listing and feature sheets. Once people sign in immediately give them your listing and feature sheets with your business card stapled to it. Your listing sheet should be the client version not the full broker version depending on your local MLS rules.
5 More Tips For An Effective Open House
5) You really want to know how to hold an effective open house? Everyone and I mean everyone signs in except if they arrive with their own Realtor. (If that happens step off and give them their space). Have a sign in sheet that requests their name, email, phone number and if they’re under contract with a brokerage. This last one is key because if they are under contract then you shouldn’t spend too much time with them other then answer their questions, and be extremely professional. Plus you don’t want to get into any trouble by soliciting clients already under contract. Remember qualify, qualify, qualify! If you collect their email you can then add them to your real estate crm system to follow up. The best one available is Aweber and that’s what I use.
6) Make sure all the lights are on, if there is a fireplace have that going, and have some soft music playing in the background. All of that adds to the ambiance of the home and makes it an inviting environment. You want people to remember that home when they leave. If there are any minor repairs that are needed plan accordingly. Try to get those done ASAP so that people don’t waste any time looking at that instead of the good features of the home.
7) Here’s something that will really set you apart. Have a mortgage broker on site during the open house. Yes a mortgage broker. This way if anyone has any questions regarding a possible mortgage on that home, you have a professional there to answer them. The mortgage broker should come prepared with details on the home including mortgage payments, amortization schedules, applications, and a laptop or Ipad. This will help your open houses tremendously. If you’re not already working with a mortgage broker or agent what are you waiting for? You should advise your sellers of this though in case they have a problem with it before hand, this way you can explain the benefits to them. And believe me they are huge!
8) A great idea is to provide refreshments like water and juice. NO LIQUOR unless you are holding an event for high end brokers and need to schmooze them. This only applies to high end luxury homes where a brokers open house is being held. If you’ve ever watched Million Dollar Listing you know what I mean. Those open houses are a little different. You don’t want to be giving prospects liquor. If you can get the home sellers to bake some cookies a couple of hours before the open house, that also helps. Everyone loves the smell of baked cookies. Make sure the grass is cut, or driveway and sidewalks are shoveled depending on the season.
9) Do not let it get too crowded and this will be a little tough to do especially if you’re holding the open house on your own. If you have a mortgage broker on site they can help you control it a little more. The idea is you want to speak with everyone that comes to your open house, and that will be impossible if it’s crowded. Your next big listing can be standing right there and if you ignore them, you didn’t deserve that listing to begin with.
10) Last but not least is make sure the sellers are not home. Most sellers already won’t want to be, but for those that do it’s imperative you explain the disadvantages if they are. Buyers want to feel relaxed going through the house opening doors, cabinets, and such and if the home sellers are there that can make for an uncomfortable situation. The second reason is you don’t want your sellers telling you how to do your job. If you’re good at it, they shouldn’t need to. And the last reason is because if sellers are home, they will often ask you questions and that will take away from speaking with potential buyers who you’re trying to sell their home too. So SELLERS pack up, enjoy a couple of hours away, and let the experts do what they do.
Final Words On Holding An Effective Open House
There are other things you can do but just the 10 things I mentioned above in how to hold an effective open house will help immensely. Not doing it will hurt your chances of actually selling that listing with an open house, but really hurt your ability to pick up more clients. And that’s the point. Open houses are designed for agents to use as a way to get more business by simply showcasing there listings. DO THEM RIGHT AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN!
TIP: If you want to try out something new and different on an open house, don’t do it on your own listing. I’m sure agent’s in your office need someone to hold an open house and this is where you test. Because if it doesn’t work, you won’t have the sellers yelling in your ears why no one showed up. In order to master a great open house strategy, you will need to go through a few no shows.
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