Let’s get real: open houses are challenging. Designing a plan and adding actual design elements into your event planning will improve your marketing and your success rate with planning open houses. Clients crave them, but depending on your market, budget and skill set, it’s easy to plan and have a flop, and the experience can leave bitterness all around.
If all you are going to do is pick up cheap cookies and put a handwritten sign from Lowe’s in the yard, you aren’t setting the bar very high, so do not expect miracles.
Every open house is an opportunity for you to create a marketing campaign and collect data to present to future clients during listing presentations.
There are many tools that have professional design elements that will bring your marketing strategy to the next level. This series will showcase how to use many of these low-cost tools together to create a polished professional presence.
This will benefit your brand, your marketing presentation for future listings — and most of all, it will show consumers that having an agent on their side is valuable.
Design a plan to get people there
Pick a date: The more time you have to plan for an open house, the better. If you update the open house option in your MLS, that information will need some time to filter out to the sites that consumers spend the most time on, such as Zillow and realtor.com.
Remember how you become frustrated that things are showing up active when they have been under contract for a few days? Most real estate consumer search sites update information at different times. The more notice you give, the better chance consumers will have to see it.
Partner up: If there are other listings in the neighborhood, ask if they want to join in the fun. If there are more open houses going on in a central location, there will be a better chance of capturing traffic.
Market like you mean it
Let the neighbors know: Treat it like a party. Design a quick invite; use a luxe template and complete a quick mailing. I’m a big fan of moo.com for well-designed and affordable business stationary options.
For those of you that are supposed to be door-knocking (you know who you are), try hand-delivering and talking to the neighbors in person.
Let the top buyer agents in your market know it’s going on: They have the buyers — invite them to bring them out. When is the last time you networked with buyer’s agents? A nice phone call to talk about your listing can go a long way.
When I was actively working with buyers, I would check to see what open houses were going on. Buyers loved it, and they could get a quick snack between houses they were touring.
Create a digital marketing strategy that is connected to any direct mail efforts you are implementing. Check out Homesnap’s featured Facebook and Instagram marketing options if its services are available in your MLS market.
It has created several templates of pre-designed digital ads that are ready to go with just a few clicks. Minimal knowledge of social media marketing required. It does all the heavy lifting. The ads look great, and it has a package for every budget.
Assemble your gear — atmosphere is everything
Pinterest is a great place to turn to for design inspiration, but if you are feeling like that is a little too much work, check out the All Things Real Estate online store.
The people at All Things Real Estate were kind enough to send a box full of samples of their most popular items. These are not your standard “everyone else has that” signs and staples. This is a perfect example of how great design can take your tool set from boring to “wow.”
The materials are cleverly designed to be simple and eye-catching. This company first caught my attention with its Instagram account.
Make sure to follow its Instagram for plenty of open house and staging ideas. It does a great job showing how agents use its products and find success.
Including open house supplies and custom journals for homeowners, this little business is packed with creative ways to help you connect with your clients.
The store’s founder Tracey Hicks has been an agent for 10 years and is the owner of Dwell Realty. The physical shop is located in Portland, Oregon. Hicks designed the store’s signature homebuyer’s journal in 2011 for clients, and its success prompted Hicks to seek out and develop other design-inspired products for agents to use.
Writer’s note: I have successfully “agent tested” these products. I have used the materials at a broker’s open, and agents loved the colorful touches — especially the colorful booties during a recent rainy open house.
Design is about thinking about the big picture. Thoughtful touches let open house attendees know that you made the event a priority and that their experience mattered. Think about it.
When is the last time you went to any event, and you felt like a welcomed guest? You don’t have to be a design expert to pull together a finished look.
Do you have any great tips and tricks for designing a successful open house? Please share in the comments section below.
By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting for listingdepot.com.