Let’s be honest, holding an open house is more for the benefit of a real estate broker than it is for a home owner. The 2009 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that only 46% of home buyers used open houses as a means of searching for homes. Most articles that I have read tell me that only 1-2% of home buyers actually purchase a home they visited during an open house. I encourage you to share these stats with your seller and be completely honest with them about the probability of an open house leading to a sale of their home. If they still request an open house or allow you to hold one for your own benefit, than consider these eight tips for holding a successful open house.
- Walk the neighborhood before the day of the open house inviting other home owners and renters to attend the open house. Make sure you stop by all non-owner occupied homes (rentals) to invite the potential buyers to the event. This is a great opportunity to meet potential future clients.
- Send an open house postcard to various move-up neighborhoods. You should consider walking this neighborhood as well. These home owners or renters may be looking to move-up in this type of market and your listing may be the right home for them. Again, it is a great opportunity to meet future clients.
- Advertise a give-away in your Open House ad. Make sure you use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out about your Open House. I recommend giving away a nice bottle of wine, dinner for two, or movie tickets to a lucky visitor. Try to create a “buzz” around your open house and draw as many people in as you can to provide you with feedback.
- Arrive early to prepare the house for visitors. Turn on lights and prepare the home to have guests. Make sure the counters are clear, the rooms are tidy, and the house smells good. Many brokers arrive late, scramble to get things setup before someone arrives, and come across flustered to guests that arrive early. Make sure the home is inviting and that its best features are “showcased” to visitors.
- Have some type of light food and drink for your guests to enjoy. Place a label with your contact information on a water bottle and tell your guests to take a few for the road.
- Bring relevant materials for potential buyers. I encourage you to have comparable homes, including active, pending, and sold homes for buyers to review in comparison to your listing. If you are priced ahead of the market then highlight this as a strong selling point for your listing. Provide market stats on the city you are in and information on the general real estate market. The helps you to demonstrate your knowledge of the area and market.
- Be able to articulate your value and offer solutions to prospective buyers. Prepare for your open house by going over common objections and questions from buyers. Review the features, benefits, and data on your listing so you are prepared to answer your visitors’ questions. Be able to demonstrate why not all Realtors are the same and that working with you is in a buyer’s best interest.
- Engage your visitors and ask for feedback. While the likelihood of an open house leading to the sale of a home is very small, it is a great opportunity to get feedback on the price and condition of the home from visitors. Ask the guests what they are looking for in a home. If they say your listing is not the right fit, ask them why and give this candid feedback to your seller. Don’t just sit on the couch while people walk-through the home. Remember you are in sales and you have something to offer them no one else does, YOU. Engage them so that you can learn about their needs and wants and potentially deliver a solution for them.
What techniques have you found to be helpful in holding a successful open house?
Make it a great day!