Quite a few real estate agents have given up on the open house concept and categorized it as an archaic selling method. On the other hand, those that still use this strategy say they’ve had great success with it. So which example should you follow? Well, in our opinion, an open house is not to be underestimated - if it’s done right. But simply letting people in the door isn’t going to do much. That’s why, today, we’re going to give you all the necessary tips and tricks on how to do an open house and do it well.
Before we go into more detail, we’d like to clarify what exactly an open house is, to avoid any mix-ups. An open house is a period during which a property may be shown to any potential buyers or tenants, but it can also refer to the property itself.
There are also broker’s open houses, which, unlike their traditional counterparts, aren’t available to the general public. Instead, their goal is to enable real estate professionals to examine a property and assess if it would be of interest to their clients.
There’s a lot you can learn from your competition, so take the time to visit open houses in the area where the property you're selling is located. If you have the time, you should go to the surrounding areas as well. While attending these open houses, pay attention to how the homes are staged, what features the real estate agent in charge is focusing on, and, most importantly, try to assess the buyers’ reactions.
The second step of preparing for an open house involves creating a property description sheet. This sheet should contain information such as the property’s address, asking price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, total square footage, photos of the interior and exterior, as well as anything else that could be relevant to potential buyers. Make sure all the information you list is correct, because errors could make you look unprofessional; as someone new to the world of real estate, you can’t afford to make a bad first impression.
You’ve most likely heard of this term, but if you haven’t, know that staging is the process of preparing a property for sale. Before hosting an open house, you need to make it look as appealing as possible to the majority of your prospective buyers. You should focus on cleaning and decluttering the space, as well as removing any personal items such as photos, monogrammed towels, and personal knickknacks. You may also need to replace some of your old appliances.
We’ve reached what’s perhaps the crucial part of this entire process: Getting people informed and interested in your open house. If you’re well-connected, this shouldn’t pose much of a problem. There are numerous excellent text marketing apps you can use to send out a text blast and notify all your prospects. However, you’ll have to resort to more elaborate open house ad ideas if you’re short on contacts.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 93% of all home buyers use the internet as their primary source of information regarding real estate. Therefore, your advertising efforts need to be aimed at:
In addition to the internet-related advertising methods, you can also print open house flyers and distribute them at gyms, grocery stores, and large workplaces, and put up a “For sale” sign in front of the property.
You’ll need to be both friendly and professional. Keep in mind that your goal isn’t to make the property seem perfect - there’s no such thing - but to point out the features that make it stand out from the competition.
After you’ve shown the buyers around the home, be prepared to answer any questions they may have about it and leave them enough time to explore it independently. In addition to that, try to find out about other open house listings they are looking at.
You should remember to put out some refreshments as well – cookies and bottled water are the safest options. Some agents serve alcohol to get a better turnout, but we'd advise against that, since your focus should be on attracting serious customers, not anyone who just wants to take advantage of the free drinks.
Lastly, make sure that every visitor fills out the sign-in sheet. Their contact information is vital for the next step in this “How to Do an Open House” guide.
You should never forget to send a “thank you” email or text to the people that visited your open house. Not only is it polite, but it will also enable people who may not have picked up one of your flyers or descriptions to get in touch with you. The message should include a link to your web page or ad.
During the following week, you should call every one of your visitors and ask them if they are interested in the home and have any additional questions about it. If they are disinterested, thank them for stopping by your open house showing and use the opportunity to hear their opinions on how you could make the property more attractive to future potential buyers.
Those serious about a career in real estate can benefit from getting a good piece of customer relationship management software. In the beginning, you probably won’t need it as much, but as you gain more contacts, you’ll see that developing a relationship with them will get increasingly harder if you don’t enlist some help to keep track of all the information.
Scheduling your open house at the right time can make the difference between two visitors and twenty. People tend to have more free time on weekends, but the best time for an open house depends on the area in which the showing is being held.
In metro areas, you don’t want to organize an open house too late in the day, since the heavy afternoon traffic will most likely discourage many from coming. You should be fine if you choose any time slot between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Setting a time in the suburbs is less tricky. Our suggestion would be to let people enjoy their mornings and host your open house between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Although it may seem like a fun idea, avoid the temptation of holding an open house on a public holiday. Few will want to go through the effort of finding the time to drop by. Another thing that you should remember is that you will almost certainly need to organize several open houses to get the best possible offers. When planning several showings, sticking to a schedule will help you keep track of everything you need to do and make things less confusing for your potential customers.
Note that, unlike standard open houses, broker’s open houses are typically held midweek, since agents are more available during those days.
Now that we’ve explained how to host an open house, let’s discuss whether you should actually do it.
An open house is an opportunity to examine a property you may be interested in purchasing. During this event, a real estate agent or the homeowner will tell you about the home, and you can also ask them for any additional information you’d like to know. You can also use this time to mingle and listen to the experiences of the other open house guests.
Real estate agents, realtors (active members of the National Association of Realtors), real estate brokers (real estate agents with additional training), and even homeowners themselves can host open houses.
Unless there is a visible note instructing you to do so, there is no need for you to knock upon arriving at an open house. When you enter the home, you should try to introduce yourself to the agent, but if they are busy, just fill out the open house sign-in sheet, pick up a property description flyer, and start your own tour.
Yes, people make offers at open houses, especially when the property is in high demand. If you plan on doing this, you should make sure to get as much information as you possibly can during the showing. However, if you’re not in a rush and it doesn’t seem like the home will get snatched away, consider simply expressing your interest to the real estate agent during the event and sending your offer after you’ve thought it through at home.
The “do open houses work” question is among the most debated topics among real estate agents. Some will tell you that they don’t, while others will tell you the opposite. In our opinion, the answer depends greatly on what you wish to accomplish by hosting one. If you want exposure and wish to make new professional contacts, you could probably benefit from holding such an event.
Saturdays and Sundays are undeniably the best days for organizing an open house. People typically aren’t as busy with work and their kids’ activities during the weekend as they are on weekdays. You can read our “How to Do an Open House” guide if you’d like to know more about holding one and the perfect times to do it.
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