Marketing

Attract millennial homebuyers with a ‘unique’ open house

Homebrew, pingpong and 'shelfies' could be part of a stand-alone experience

Let’s be honest with each other: Many 30-somethings don’t need buyer’s agents in the same way they did 10 years ago. They’ll already have in mind the places they want to see, the amenities they like and the area where they’re drawn to live.

Nor do they want an agent pretending to “get them.” Remember that scene from “Austin Powers” where Doctor Evil tries to connect with his son by proving how cool he was? (“I’m hip … I’m with it … See?”) Don’t be that guy.

There has been a lot in the news about the incentives for millennials to start purchasing homes over the next few years, and the agents who understand the millennial mindset are going to benefit most. Getting their attention and keeping it long enough to commit to a substantial purchase will take finesse, though.

Using your own and other agents’ listings in the first-time homebuyer range (with everyone’s permission, of course) is one way to get millennial buyers through the proverbial (and literal) door. And you can put a spin on this tactic to make it appealing to an age group who cares less about an open house and more about finding home.

1. Host more of an event and less of an open house.

If you ask most millennials if the thought of going out to an open house excites them … you can probably guess the answer. But what about an exclusive “reveal party” where they’re invited to sample beer from a local brewer, play pingpong and see a new listing come on the market before everyone else? Now, that sounds more like it!

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Create materials to hand out about the trendy places near the home to dine, and also include cool nightspots, hip places to shop and information about why this house is so unique. Build up the excitement with a couple weeks of posting and advertising on social media, send invitations to the surrounding area and then wait until the event to open the house for everyone to see.

Hiring a DJ (depending on your budget) adds a real flavor, as does the idea of being invited to an event versus running across an open house with cookies.

And seriously, have a pingpong table.

2. Get crafty.

Craft beer has been on the rise and is quite popular among millennials, who wish to have more of a connection to a place, an experience and a story. Skip the wine and see if a local brewery can send a representative to hand out samples. If at all possible, pick a brewery in your state and have information available about its backstory, alcohol by volume and pairings.

If you don’t know what any of that means, get educated. Millennials love locally made food, beer and art, so learn the lingo. There’s nothing appealing about a traditional open house to a millennial potential client. Rev it up a bit to appeal to what that client likes. Mmmm, beer!

3. Set up a “shelfie” station.

You may not understand them, do them or share them, but taking “selfies” is kind of a thing. If you’re less exposed to the design angle of this craze, you may not know about “shelfies,” or in other words, a beautiful display of items on a shelf that’s worthy of sharing.

Set up an area in the house that is staged specifically for this reason. It should be beautiful and “share-worthy,” inspiring attendees to take a shelfie, selfie or to ask someone to take a picture of them in front of your shelf. (So offer to take some pictures!)

You may even want to add an incentive it by letting attendees know about your selfie, or even posting a tasteful sign that explains anyone who takes a selfie and shares it on a social media platform will be entered to win a $10 gift card to Target (for example). Encourage them to share with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and hopefully they will mention you, too!

There is a new dawn of homeowners ready to emerge, and what they need from us has evolved — but you still need to be there for guidance, support and advice. Just like any other clientele, though, you have to understand how they think, where they communicate and what their needs are.

If you’re ready to embrace new-school methods, you just may become more popular. Now that’s a trend everyone likes.

What do you think about jazzing up your open house? Please leave your comments below, and if you host an event like this, please share pictures and tell us how it went!

Tracy Royce is an Arizona short-sale Realtor, investor, rehabber and foreclosure expert.

Email Tracy Royce.