A lot of agents have given up – some say that the open house is dead. This isn’t true! You just need to know how to do it. Here are the best open house ideas for you to use in 2020!
Run a Facebook Live Stream
People want what other people want. It’s a fact of life. With that being said, there is no better time to stream and record a video walk through of your listing than during your open house, when it’s full of people – competition for other buyers! This also allows potential buyers to view the house remotely and ask questions that the realtor can answer in real time. It’s like House Hunters – live! After the live stream is over, you can post the full video of it on social media for even more people to watch.
Use a Sign In App
In the old days, those who visited an open house would sign their name and contact information onto a paper sheet. It can be hard to read some people’s handwriting! The difference between a letter or two could also be the difference between an awesome lead and no lead at all. Thankfully, now there are apps that can take the place of these confusing and hard to read sheets. The open house visitors will simply type their information on a tablet instead. The apps will then forward the client’s information to your contact database, where you can sign them up for emails or follow up later by phone.
Virtually Stage the Home With Different Décor
Most people have a really hard time trying to visualize their style in a space. You can offer your visitors staged images that show the many different ways a room could be used with online décor websites. Virtual staging can make a difference! You can show them different uses for different rooms, too – that second bedroom could be a guest room, an office, a craft room, a nursery…
Skip the Alcohol
Some agents used to swear by offering people a glass of wine or champagne, saying it lowered their inhibitions a little and made them like the house more. People do love a free drink – but it’s not worth the extra crowd. Best practices says to avoid the libations. Social host liability laws in some areas mean that you could be sued if someone drinks too much and then gets hurt. Also, those people who only showed up for the free champagne and don’t care about the house? Well, they’re now clogging up your email prospect list.
Invite the Neighbors
Well, you don’t have time to go knocking on all their doors – but you could design and leave a door sign. At the end of the day, an open house is about your client, but you should also focus on the whole experience of the listing. Take advantage of the area. Obviously, the neighbors likely aren’t looking to buy the house across the street, but their presence could shout to random passers-by that something interesting is going on there, that house must really be nice on the inside for all those people to be there looking at it! Even those few extra folks in attendance could really draw a crowd for you.
Hold Raffles or Contests
Even if the prize is just a small gift card, everyone loves a free gift just for showing up. In exchange for their contact information, you can enter those visiting your open house into a drawing for a gift or prize. Advertise your plan to do this on social media and all of the flyers and other notifications for the open house. You never know, someone who just came to be entered in the raffle could end up loving the house – and being it’s next owner – all thanks to a small gift card or a fruit basket!
Give Out Paperwork
Floor plans, FAQ, and HOA information. Get this paperwork together, make tons of copies of it, and staple everything into packets for your open house visitors. The floor plans will allow people to start thinking of how their furniture could fit into the house. The FAQ saves you time from having to answer the same questions over and over. HOA information does the same. You can also include paperwork on the building itself, rental restrictions, what’s around the area in terms of shopping, schools, and entertainment, and more. This information helps the visitors to imagine themselves living in the home.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Market It
You want the advertisements to be up long enough for people to actually see them! Three days should be enough. The open house is not meant to sell the home, but instead as a lead source method of what you can deliver to the seller. Use those three days to properly prepare for and advertise the open house via cold calls, face to face interactions, flyers, social media, and more. It will show your seller that you are really on the ball, and willing to go above and beyond to make things work for them.
Schedule it Strategically
You don’t want to schedule your open house for 8 AM on a Monday when everyone is at work. The best days for open houses are the weekend of course, and the best time is around noon. If you absolutely must have the open house on a weekday, shoot for a Thursday, around 6 PM. If the home is in the city, try to line up the open house right before the local happy hour starts. Choose your hours wisely – it doesn’t matter if someone seriously loves the house, they won’t come if they have work when the open house is happening.
Get Someone to Check People In While You Mingle
You don’t want to be stuck at the door, reminding people to check in and handing out your FAQ packets, instead of on the floor, mingling and chatting. You don’t have to do everything on your own! If you are taking the time and making the effort to promote and host a great open house, then you owe it to yourself to be able to work the crowd. Have someone else on hand to help you out, checking people in, refilling drinks, and answering questions about the listing if you’re busy with someone else. Don’t get stuck at the front door – mingle with your guests, and hire someone else to help you!
Promote the Open House to Fellow Agents
It’s important for you to send a reminder to the local brokerage community a few days before the open house. There are various email marketing platforms today that make it easy to send flyers and information directly to brokers. They may not have time to make it themselves, but they might be able to pass the information on to one of their clients who is looking to buy. It might net you a few more folks in attendance, so it’s worth the extra work of reaching out to your fellow agents.
Don’t Allow Your Seller to Attend
When a potential buyer is touring the house, they could make comments that offend the seller, or ask tough questions that make them uncomfortable. Some sellers will want to be involved, but send them out to the movies during the open house. It’s better for everyone. You want the potential buyers to get the information they need without the rose colored glasses filter from the seller, and you certainly don’t want to risk your buyer showing deep offense to a seller because they stated that great-grandma’s quilt is ugly. To keep your seller in the loop, meet them for lunch the day after the open house and let them know how everything went.
For That Matter, Fido Isn’t Invited Either
Unless it’s a fish, pets aren’t welcome to the open house, either. You don’t want your seller’s dog protecting his property and biting a potential buyer, and you don’t want to risk the seller’s cat running out the front door in all of the commotion. Also, a lot of people have intense animal allergies and cannot be around pets. You want your prospective buyers leaving your open house with ideas of how they will decorate the rooms when they buy it, not itching their eyes and making an appointment with their allergist.
Don’t Miss Your Follow Up Window
You worked hard to promote the open house, harder to host it, and now you have to work even harder to follow up on it. Don’t miss your chance to solidify a buyer’s interest after the show is over. Within a few days, you need to reach out to every person that left their information on the sign in sheet, whether they left their email or their phone number. Remind them who you are and of the house for sale, and ask them if there is anything else you can do for them in regards to the house. For fun, ask them their favorite part of the open house – then you know what to do again next time!