Open houses are a great way to show off properties and generate interest in a property quickly. However, many people end up wasting time and energy by hosting unsuccessful open houses. Sometimes no one shows up. Sometimes the house is poorly represented. How do you ensure that the execution of the open house is beneficial and worth the hassle?
First, you must get people to your open house. No one will be interested in your property or want to place an offer if NO ONE SHOWS UP. To prevent this, you must advertise. A great place to advertise is online. Posting to MLS (if you have a real estate license), Craigslist, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, homefinder.com, and openhouses.com are vital to generate interest in your open house.
Of course, another great way to advertise is with signs. While it may seem a little old fashioned, placing signs is a great way to bring people into an open house—especially people from around the area. Place signs in the neighborhood, and at nearby intersections and businesses. The signs can be standard open house signs, handmade signs, or other unique ads—the more variety the better. Especially on the day of the open house, you want to purchase at least two Open House signs (which you can buy from Lowes or Home Depot). Attach helium balloons to the end and post at the end of the street or at a nearby intersection. It’s also a good idea to spread the news by word of mouth. If you know any of the town gossips, be sure to tell them first, and your event is sure to be a success!
Now that you have people walking in the door of your house on a Sunday afternoon (which we have found is the best day, especially 1-3pm or 2-4pm), what can you do to get them to stay and think about placing an offer? There are several small tips that can help:
- Before the open house, hand out flyers to all the neighbors and invite them to be a part of the event. Encourage them to bring a friend. It is super important to get the neighbors on your side. They can help prospective buyers feel more comfortable and confident with people in the neighborhood.
- If you haven’t already done so, open all the blinds and turn on all the lights to bring in as much natural light as possible.
- Make sure the temperature is set at 70 degrees. You don’t want any of your guests to be uncomfortable.
- Bake cookies or bring refreshments (Lemonade and cookies are always a safe bet.)
- Stage the property properly. Do a walk through and make sure nothing looks overly cluttered or dirty.
- Have a packet with you that includes a beautiful marketing flyer with pictures, the listing price, and basic information on the property. This packet should also have comparable properties, a sheet that includes any recent updates or renovations that have been made to the property, and a sheet that has a map and nearby points of interest (schools, malls, parks, stores, etc.). These will come in handy for serious prospective buyers who have serious questions.
- Bring a sign in sheet. Have a pen and clipboard with columns for name, email, and any other information you would like to have. That way, you can send out an email blast afterwards thanking everyone for coming and enticing them to make an offer.
- Lay business cards out on popular surfaces (if you’re an agent).
As you run the open house, remember to greet people warmly and smile. Dress professionally and stand near the front door to greet people as they walk in the door. You are the representation of your property, and you want to make a good impression on the prospective buyers. It’s a great idea to have your greeting at least somewhat thought out. Say something along the lines of the following:
“Hello! Thank you for coming to our open house. Come on in! Here’s the sign in sheet and a packet of information. Feel free to show yourselves around. There are some refreshments in the kitchen. Take your time and let me know what questions you have!”
As people explore and leave, try to gauge their interest level in the property. What do they love? What are they not crazy about? What do they want fixed?
After the open house, you should have a better grasp on the reasonability of the listing price, as well as the extent of interest on the property. Hopefully, you’ll even have an offer or two before it’s all said and done. And THAT is how to host an open house like an LST Properties agent.