Open houses can be stressful events. How clean is clean enough? What food should you serve? Who should you invite? Where should you post signs?
We’ve asked leading real estate professionals for best open house tip, and their answers cover the basics (clean and stage the house) to the innovative (hire a drone banner to advertise your event). You’ll definitely want to take notes, and be sure to let us know your favorite open house tips in the comments below.
A huge thank you to everyone who offered their advice!
- Create a property website.
John Bodrozic, http://www.homezada.com
Most people when they visit an open house, are pulling out their mobile phone to take more photos of the house to remember / evaluate it later in the day or a day or two later. In addition, buyers usually end up visiting 3 to 5 house in the same day, so how do they remember your house versus the other ones they saw?
A good marketing strategy is to create a property website where you already have photos of every room in the house from multiple angles, as well as close up photos of all the interior and exterior features of the home. Once you have this, then provide a simple flyer with a QR code / short url link as an easy way for visitors to the open house to see all the photos, especially after the leave the house.
- Advertise your open house on Facebook.
Justin Kerby, Founder, CaveSocial.com
Open Houses: We’ve had great success promoting open houses on social media for our clients. Typically, we include 4-6 photos of the home in a boosted Facebook post, which links to a landing page where visitors can see a little bit more about the home, and fill out a contact sheet to be notified when the open house is taking place. This is a great way for real estate agents to generate leads for themselves, as well as draw attention to the open house they’re promoting.
- Paint the house in the best possible light.
Ryan Wilkerson, Realtor/Partner, SURE Group RE/MAX SAILS
Turn all lights on and open all blinds/curtains, remove everything off of countertops (not only does it look cleaner but it gives the appearance of a larger space which is very important in areas like the kitchen).
Remove all personal items if possible (family pictures on the refrigerator or framed around the house) you want all possible buyers to envision themselves in this home , by removing personal pictures you are no longer reminding them that they are walking through a strangers home.
It should go without saying BUT the home must be entirely clean, organized and tidy (beds made, junk should be organized or thrown away). A Seller’s home is their home until the day they decide to list, once that decision is made the home becomes a product. A product that is going to be consumed by the marketplace, so you always want to ensure you put your best foot forward.
- Team up with other agents.
Jay Thompson Zillow For Pros Blog
Talk to other agents with listings in the area and coordinate a “neighborhood open house weekend.” Having multiple homes in the area held open will attract more traffic, and you can all take advantage of each others’ marketing efforts. Try something fun like creating a “punch card” or “open house bingo” where visitors get a stamp at each house they visit and can turn it in at the end for a gift card or prize drawing.
- Partner up with local artists and/or interior designers.
Yvette Brown, Managing Broker, PARAMOUNT & BOND
Engage local artists and/or interior designers allow them to use your home as a staging platform for their works. Have the Open House showcasing their work and the home at the same time.
- Make sure you give attendees these 3 handouts.
Republished from Referral Exchange
Mortgage Loan Breakdown – Helps prospects understand the potential costs of financing the property.
Glossary of Home Ownership/Mortgage Terms – A single sheet of key terms and phrases can be extremely helpful to both first-time buyers and move-up buyers who haven’t purchased a home in a while.
Neighborhood Information – Note local schools, grocery stores or restaurants and the “walk score” of the home. And don’t forget today’s buyer concerns such as the best cell phone carrier/coverage for the area (very important in hilly, mountainous and coastal areas).
- Come prepared with the right information.
Zach Hammer, Marketing Director, The Snyder Group: Team Driven Real Estate
Here are some of the ideas from members of our team:
Know homes for sale, builders, and floorplans of the whole area around your open house. The people who come into your open house may have no interest in that home in particular, but you can still be valuable to them by knowing what is available and helping them to find the best home for them. For residents of that community, knowing the nearby builders and floorplans will allow you to talk to them with a degree of expertise, potentially lending more of an idea to them of what THEIR home could be worth.
- Collect email addresses to keep interested lookers informed about future open houses.
Trevor Ewen, Neosavvy Labs
Collect email addresses the moment people show up. Do not bother them with advertisement, but have photos sent to their email addresses immediately after they view the house. This will keep the property on their mind, and expose them to things they may have not seen/noticed (ideally nice things).
- List in the correct radius.
Republished from the Tom Hopkins blog
In order to have a productive open house, you have to invest time and effort–which is the same thing as money. Before you commit yourself to such an investment, make sure that the property you want to hold open has what it takes. Here are the five things you need:
Make sure it is priced right. Any neighbors who visit your open house probably have some idea of selling, or at least refinancing, in the not too distant future.
Create good traffic flow with directional signs off a main thoroughfare. It doesn’t make sense to hold an open house when no one can find it.
List within your service area. Don’t drive forty miles to hold an open house.
The sellers must be gone. Buyers only go to open houses to avoid contact with either owners or salespeople who are too pushy.
Stage the home. The sellers must know that the house must be impeccably clean for starters.
- Hold an agents only open house.
Troy Balakhan, Licensed Real Estate Sales Associate, Keller Williams Jupiter
Open house specific tips:
If you’re holding a broker’s open (an open house for agents only), build a list of every agent that has sold a house in the neighborhood in the past year, as well as all the active buyer’s agents in the area, and call them to personally invite them to the event. Have refreshments and hors d’oeuvres ready for your guests. This leaves a lasting positive impression.
At the open house event, make sure you know all relevant information from the neighborhood, such as the average (closed) price per square foot, how many homes are currently listed for sale and their prices, and what homes have closed in the past 90 days and their prices (if you have access to that information). Know the homeowner’s association dues and what they cover.
Source: fitsmallbusiness.com by By Jaqueline Thomas
Your Loan in the Valley
Meeting new clients, showing properties, holding open houses, letting strangers get into your car, and even your marketing may be jeopardizing your personal safety.
Here’s how you can stay on guard and protect yourself.
The Risk:You’re inviting the public to a property, which is an invitation to anyone, from thieves to those who might want to harm you.
- Promote security in your advertisements. When you advertise the open house, note that identification will be required at the front door and video surveillance will be in use.
- Partner up. When would-be assailants see two people at the front door, they’ll be less likely to go in.
- Introduce yourself to neighbors. Let them know you’ll be showing the house so others know that you are there.
- Watch for patterns. At an open house, note any patterns in arrivals, particularly near the end of the open house. One common scam: Thieves come near the end of the open house, working as a team. They have “buyers” distract the agent as others steal valuables in the home.
- Stow away your valuables. Never leave your purse, laptop, or wallet unattended on the counter in plain view. Keep them in the trunk of your car. However, always keep your cell phone on you so you can call for help if you need to. Also, before the open house, tell your clients to put away all of their valuables, prescription drugs, and mail. Source: realtor.com
Your Loan in the Valley
Here’s a collection of actions you can take during an open house and immediately after to increase the payoff:
- Don’t be a chatterbox. Greet your visitors, give them your card and a property brochure, and allow them peace and quiet while they tour the home.
- Be honest about the home’s features and improvements. A seven-year-old roof isn’t “new,” although the owner may describe it as such. Many owners think any improvement they paid for themselves is “new,” even if it was made more than a decade ago.
- Don’t drop vague hints about offers having been received for the home if that’s not the case. When the truth later comes out, the buyers may feel manipulated and back out of the whole transaction.
- Make copies of presale home and termite inspection reports available to prospective buyers along with estimates of the costs for any needed repairs or fumigation.
- If your state requires a disclosure form, have it completed ahead of time, and make copies available to prospective buyers.
- Display photographs of popular neighborhood amenities (e.g., local parks and recreation center).
- Have comparable sales data available.
- Give visitors property information sheets with important facts about the home and the community. Examples include a flyer highlighting the home’s features, summaries of room size, lot size, taxes, and assessments; and a map showing the location of schools, hospitals, public transportation, libraries, supermarkets and other services and retailers.
- Ask visitors for immediate feedback about the home. Also, use a guest book to collect visitors’ names, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses. Follow-up with a telephone call or e-mail after the event.
- Don’t forget to turn off the lights, close the drapes, remove the guest book and brochures, and lock up before you leave.
- Provide visitors with a CD that includes information about the property, floorplans, views and anything else pertinent or unique about the home. This way they can review what they’ve seen and not just rely on memory. Source: realtormag.realtor.org
Your Loan in the Valley
Here are tips to improve the odds your house will sell at an open:
- Map Your Open House Signs.
- Attach strings of balloons to each open house sign.
- Find the busiest intersection closest to your home and put an open house sign at that corner.
- The arrows should point buyers in the right direction.
- Place a sign every few blocks until you end up at your house.
- Remove all vehicles from the driveway. Ask your neighbors to help out by not parking in front of your house.
- Open all the drapes, blinds and window coverings –– let in that light.
- Do not put spices on the stove to simmer without offering cookies, and do not, under any circumstances, use an air freshener because many people are allergic to synthetic odors.
- Turn on every light in the house, except lights that produce noise such as exhaust fans without separate on / off switches.
- Turn on soft music on each floor to help set a mood.
- Have available four-color flyers filled with quality photos and reasons for a buyer to purchase your home.
- Put out flyers that contain financing options so buyers can readily determine their monthly mortgage payment.
- Serve refreshments and snacks or, depending on your budget, maybe a catered lunch.
- Create a bulletin board of seasonal house photographs so buyers can see what the home would look like at another time of the year. This is especially helpful to showcase gardens during the winter.
- Set out all documents pertaining to the house:
- Inspection reports
- Appraisal or comps
- Major repairs & warranties
- Blueprints for additions or future possible improvements
Be upbeat, cheery and greet each buyer who enters the home. Find out what the buyers are looking for and, if possible, show them why your home fits those requirements.
And finally, ask for feedback. Ask each buyer what they thought of your home and would they consider buying it. Agents and sellers are hesitant to ask for a buyer’s opinion, so just grit your teeth and ask. It’s the only way you’re going to get a direct answer, and the answer just might astonish you. They might decide to sit at the kitchen table and write an offer. It happens more often than you would think! Source: about.com
Your Loan in the Valley