As I’ve been working primarily as a buyer’s agent, I have brought my clients to countless open houses. The offerings range from stunning to boring — and even, I would venture to say, tragic.
So when it comes time for my very own open houses on the Lower East Side in New York City, I have some pretty objectively crucial pointers to share that will help you host a brilliant open house that will reel in the offers.
1. Avoid overlap of open house times
This can come across as controversial, but crucial in hosting your open house.
When picking the time to host your open house, you might think it would be a good idea to look around the neighborhood and see if others are also having open houses so that you can pick the same time in hopes people will bounce from place to place. But this could actually be kind of detrimental to your own open house.
There’s a chance that these potential buyers don’t have the time to see all of the open houses in the area. And even if they do make it, you are one of many buffet-style properties.
You are better off hosting at your own time so that people make the property a priority.
Be an a-la-carte entree they actually get to savor and enjoy.
2. Stage the entryway
First impressions count! Invest in sprucing up the entrance. Because when people are walking in, it will be the first thing that they see. It could ultimately influence whether they step into the space or even consider it.
I have quite a few experiences in which my buyer clients refused to step into the property. So even if you don’t have the budget to stage the entire space, do so for the entry — even if you have to just limit it to a fresh layer of paint on the front door and a small table somewhere with a few plants.
First impressions are everything, and in this case, the first impression of the space is going to be determined off of the entryway.
3. Pay attention to ambiance
Make sure that you are creating a relaxing and comfortable environment so that potential buyers can imagine themselves eventually living in that space. One of the factors that play into this would be music.
When picking tunes, make sure that it’s generic enough to be enjoyable for all, and make sure that it’s not too loud.
The aroma of the space should also be a very muted smell and comes across as natural. And always, air out the space before introducing a new fragrance to it. Fresh air is best!
4. Use Open House Pro for sign in
Invest in a digital sign-in program. It is sloppy to have a paper sign-in. Welcome to the 21st century!
In addition, a lot of times when entering a house, people will walk right past the pen and paper that is sitting there for the sign-in sheet, but when using a device at the entrance for signing in, people might be more obliged to sign in.
Digital sign-ins also eliminate the issue of messy — and oftentimes illegible — handwriting.
5. Create a video tour (Facebook Live/Instagram)
Hint: You don’t have to be in the video. Actually, having agents talking through the property usually distracts from the unit itself. So unless you are Anderson Cooper, I would say stay out of it.
But invest in a video tour as there might be people who are interested in the property you are selling but are not able to make it to the open house. Technology is evolving, and you need to take advantage of it.
Facebook Live is a great tool. IGTV is also a great way to showcase homes. You can show each room and go into detail about the specifics within the place. And think about all the time you could save from showing potential buyers (and buyer’s agent) who are not good fits for those particular spaces.
6. Have a good comp report at the ready
Be a neighborhood expert. On the buyer side, I really appreciate a knowledgeable listing agent who knows what he or she is talking about when comparing the property to like-kind in the area and can even point us to new possibilities. It expedites the process for my buyers and helps them to decide if they want to move forward or not.
On the listing side, I would absolutely be prepared with a killer comp report so I can convert unrepresented buyers into my own buyer clients. It almost sounds too obvious, but I am always surprised when listing agents don’t know the inventory the building over.
7. Send out postcards, and advertise in the neighborhood newspaper
I hate waste. Absolutely hate it. And I think traditional media is a thing of the past like landline phones.
However, time and time again, I am surprised when my buyers reach out to me regarding a property their mom, aunt or third cousin twice-removed saw a property on the local daily/postcard that they should see.
So while I don’t personally read traditional media anymore, I am going to invest in any solution that brings my listed property eyeballs and sales.
As a primarily buyer’s agent, I enjoy the flexibility and client-focused perspective. But I know I will pigeonhole myself by being one kind of agent.
So while I dip my toes in the listing side, I will do my research and hopefully bring interesting viewpoints and effective practices that make us all better at our jobs.
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