Do open houses work?
Open houses continue to remain a tool that Realtors offer to sellers as part of their marketing efforts to sell homes. Do they get the job done?
Open houses, some real estate agents swear by them and some swear at the thought of having to hold a home open. The answer to the question, do they work depends largely on if the agent is doing the work to help make them a success.
Successful open houses, to some degree, are influenced by the homes location, the areas market conditions and the pricing of the home. To increase the chances of visitors stopping by and seeing the home and more importantly to increase the chances of a qualified buyer stopping by to view your home, will depend on how hard the Realtor works prior to the open house event. Agents who rely only on a Sunday advertisement and a sign in the yard have done little to increase the chances of success.
A marketing plan for open houses with the goal of attracting potential buyers and customer traffic should consist of:
- Calling on homeowners in the neighborhood by phone or personal visits the week before the open house inviting them to stop by.
- Direct mail announcing the open house to apartment complexes or other rental homes where the rental fee is in line with what the mortgage payment for the subject home would approximately be.
- Invitations and flyers for the event delivered to the many different Realtors in the area keying in on those agents who have recorded past sales in the area.
- Scheduling the open house with a garage or yard sale will increase the amount of traffic that will find the subject home.
- Picking a day other than Saturday or Sunday to hold the home open. Often times holding a home open during the weekday produces great results.
- Organizing with agents who have homes in the area for sale to have multiple homes open in the neighborhood at the same time to increase traffic.
These are just a few suggestions that if implemented by the real estate salesperson would increase the chances of holding a successful open house.
Open houses can be just like floor as a matter of fact they are better than floor as far as meeting new people to add to your contact lists. If you hold a home open house and do it correctly you are guaranteed to meet new people. How?
First if the open house is in a high traffic area, and you have well placed directional signs, you increase the chances of buyers wandering in. You might be able to add the potential for more buyer traffic by simply doing a post card/phone call blast to apartment complexes in the same area announcing the open house you are having.
If you do not want to leave meeting new people to chance then open houses are perfect because it gives you a reason to knock on a the neighbors doors either before or immediately after the open house. You might use a script like:
Hi my name is Successful Real Estate Agent and I just wanted you to know that I will be holding Mr. and Mrs. Want to Move’s home open today between 2-4. Feel free to stop on over I have some cookies and interesting stats about your neighborhood that I am sharing with my guests today. Thanks
That is it, short and sweet and now you have branded yourself in the mind of this potential buyer, seller, or referral source.
If you do not have an open house scheduled, think about having one next week and every week until your bank account is so full you have to give away money!
You can find strong opinions about holding open houses throughout the real estate community. Some will say that open houses do not sell the home you are holding open, so they are useless. I believe those agents are missing the point as well as missing opportunities to sell homes.
The fact is very little of our marketing and prospecting is geared toward selling a specific home. The for-sale sign we place in our seller’s front yard results, more often, in a buyer settling on a different home than the one they called about. However, the yard signs used that generated that lead is how homes are sold.
The same goes for open houses. The buyer I thought for sure would buy the home I have open may or may not come to my open house, and he may visit another agents open houses and one of those agents will then qualify the buyer, determine exactly what the buyer is looking for and then may show them my listing. If that agent did not feel holding open houses were worth it, the buyer and my seller may not have found each other so quickly.
Are they a waste of time? Perhaps if all you do when there is sit and stare blankly at the walls until visitors arrive, then yes your time is being wasted. A good agent however will use the time between visitors to write thank you notes, call their center of influence or draft a new blog post. There is plenty of work we can accomplish at an open house until the buyers visit.
If you want to have a “self-fulfilling prophecy”, as they say, and never sell a home from an open house, never hold one open. If you want to guarantee you do sell a home or several homes from an open house, hold them open, often and continue to improve your open house marketing plan. You will see the point soon enough by way of numbers on your commission check.