Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

800 Open Home is a text-based listing information service.

Platform(s): browser-agnostic; SMS-capable devices
Ideal for: any agent or team looking to start a mobile marketing effort

Top selling points

  • Free
  • Text response pushes recipient to listing website
  • Text code naming structure is easy for agents, buyers to share with others

Things to consider

Listing details have to be input manually, as there is no IDX (Internet data exchange) link. This could lead to data inconsistencies if standards are not created for teams or multiple users.

Full review

Text-based property sign responders have been around for a few years now. So, 800 Open Home isn’t novel.

There is some value to the use of a 1-800 number, even though just about every mobile phone service plan in existence includes unlimited texting to any number.

800OpenHome_textresponse

The return text nicely summarizes the property with the agent’s name and number, price, size, lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and a URL for the listing.

I can envision some buyers feeling more comfortable with the “arm’s length” appeal of a toll-free number.

I highly recommend that agents include the URL to their listing page as opposed to a portal listing. Because why risk distracting the potential prospect with other agents’ information?

Agents would be smart to link a passive information capture to their listing page as an attempt to capture a person’s name and email.

800 Open Home’s dashboard offers a breakdown of numbers that have requested information. It’s up to the agent to push the conversation beyond the window shopping phase.

The backend of this software is where I grow somewhat indifferent.

Agents need to manually input the listing data for each application of the service and the interface presents in a text-heavy spreadsheet. It’s all very administrative.

Still, that might not be a deal-breaker for most agents, as many remain dedicated to Excel and more traditional database formats.

While so many other text-based yard sign services use a short code, 1-800 Open Home is easy to remember.

But, an inherent problem is that most text messaging interfaces don’t include a standard alphanumeric dialing keypad, meaning you need to know the actual number.

This means the actual number needs to also be printed on the sign rider. Thus, a person will often need to approach the sign to get the number.

I believe this takes away from the service’s inherent convenience of curbside information requests.

A listing’s street name and ZIP code is used as the identifier, making that part of the process easy. Agents can share it on other marketing outlets, and buyers can do so with friends and family or mortgage brokers.

Agents need to have a sign rider created for any property to be marketed with 800 Open Home.

I would think most sign providers can offer a way to repurpose it for each new listing using the service.

Texting has become one of the easiest ways for consumers to communicate with sales professionals while controlling the degree of sales pitch received. It should be considered a component of any listing’s marketing plan.

800 Open Home is a viable option for those wanting to slowly wade into mobile marketing, but it needs to further address its user design and maybe build in some enhanced lead tracking tools.

I’d like to see it again after a couple of updates.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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