An open house is a powerful tool to sell a home, yet some agents dismiss it as an old method that’s used only to satisfy the seller. They feel that the full day of work that’s required, which includes marketing, creating pamphlets, preparing the home and showing it, may not be worth their time.
However, many agents feel just the opposite and continue using this method as a means to help their clients sell their homes.
If you’re a real estate agent who is currently working with a client who wants to host an open house, do you know where to get started? Even seasoned agents can learn some extra tips to help make every open house more rewarding for both the seller and the agent hosting it.
If you’re looking for some useful information, the tips below can certainly help.
Why host an open house?
For any homeowner and the agent they’re working with, the main goal of hosting an open house is to sell their home!
By opening it up to all visitors for a dedicated amount of time, more people are likely to walk through. One of these people could be the future buyer, who may not have otherwise made an appointment to look at the property.
Another reason homeowners utilize open houses is that it offers a chance to become familiar with a real estate agent before committing to work with them. This is why, as the agent, you should be prepared and ready for anything to show the client you’re the right one to sell their property.
How to prepare the home
It’s crucial to properly prepare a home to create an atmosphere that is conducive to it being purchased. Agents can begin the preparation by going outside and looking at the curb appeal that’s presented when you first drive up.
Does the lawn need to be mowed? Is there garbage that needs to be cleaned up? Take note of anything that needs to be cleaned, and then tackle it first. The exterior is the first thing that potential buyers see, which makes it one of the most important parts of an open house.
When you move to the interior, deep clean by scrubbing the bathrooms, floors, countertops and bedrooms. Any area that’s not detailed may turn away guests, so it’s important to dedicate as much time as possible to cleaning.
Make it look the way you’d want a home to look if you were walking through it. Once finished, think about any ways you could make the experience extra special for visitors. Some ideas include:
Drinks and snacks
When guests arrive at the open house you’re hosting, make them feel welcome by offering refreshments. Cookies, a veggie tray and assorted drinks can make a huge difference with their first impression of your property.
If you want to make an even more memorable experience, then host a party! A cookout, pool party or even cookie decorating for the holidays can easily pull people in.
If you’re hosting at a high-end home, then wine tasting with cheese and tapas may be a great idea for the visitors that will be coming by.
If a party isn’t ideal for your schedule or agreed on by the client, then connect with visitors by making the home smell inviting with fresh baked cookies or apple cider simmering on the stove.
Appeal to families
Families with kids will most certainly be making their way to the open house, so it’s important to make sure the children have a good impression of it.
One great way to do this is by playing a kid-friendly movie in the living room or having coloring books and crayons available to use.
An added benefit of providing entertainment for kids is the fact that it can temper their behavior so the parents can have a better experience and more time to ask you questions about the property.
Attracting buyers with advertising
At least a week before you host an open house you must market it to potential buyers. If you don’t do this, you won’t draw in nearly as many visitors as you would otherwise.
Although having the homeowner spread the word is an excellent way to get started, you shouldn’t stop there. Other ways you can advertise and increase exposure include:
- Newspaper ad
- Your real estate site
- Personal blog/website
- Flier in community
Local community site posting
Personally, I think that every real estate agent should be displaying upcoming open houses on their personal websites.
Even if it’s not your own listing, most real estate boards will allow advertising of others’ open house, the same way as you can display listings of other brokerages to attract visitors to register on your website.
Sandwich boards and balloons outside of an open house will point visitors in the neighborhood to the front door. However, it’s important not to forget about advertising outside of the immediate area.
Signs on the main roads nearby can draw in many more people, though it’s essential to use directional signs to make sure drivers can get to the property easily.
There are many different types of signs you can choose from, so select based on what you think is best for the type of property that is being sold.
The price point for the home is also important to consider, as high-end properties should have more elegant looking signs than a budget-friendly home. You may even want to use a handwritten sign if you have a bargain property that needs to be sold quickly.
Preparing with the right materials
- Tablet for registering clients
- Information sheets about the neighborhood
- Home fliers
- Facts and statistics
- Guide for buying
- Comparisons on nearby listings
- Sign-in sheet
- Business cards
Additionally, you may want to bring a mortgage broker on board to have present at the open house. Although this certainly isn’t required, it’s a great way to ensure you can lock down a buyer if he or she wants to purchase the property.
The mortgage broker walk buyers through the loan process and can even run their credit to give them an idea of their buying power. If you don’t have this professional present, the buyers might end up changing their mind and walking away.
Treating every visitor with care
Creating an inviting atmosphere means being friendly and welcoming in addition to preparing the home.
Treat everyone as if they could be a buyer, including real estate agents who are helping their clients. This will ensure every single person has a positive experience despite whether they are motivated to purchase.
Word-of-mouth goes a long way and being friendly could make all the difference with someone giving a referral to a friend or family member who would be interested in buying.
Following up when finished
Even the best agents don’t receive offers on the day they host an open house. This is why keeping in contact is so important rather than simply hoping that a buyer will call.
Use the sign-in sheet to touch base with guests after they come by to gauge their interest. Although some may not respond, others may be interested and email, call or text you back.
Alternatively, you could use visitor contact information to alert them of a price reduction or change in terms that may entice them to buy.
By using the tips above, you’ll increase your odds of making your event a success and may even see an offer sooner because of it!
Joe Samson is a Realtor in Calgary, Alberta, as well as a blogger and social media marketer. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.