Many realtors think that open houses add no value to the home selling process but this isn’t the case. According to the National Association of Realtors, 45% of homebuyers visit an open house at one point or another and 9% of them end up buying a house they toured during an open house. If you want to hold successful open houses, use these guidelines:
When it comes to open houses, timing is everything. There are areas where after-work open houses work really well and others where lunch-hour open houses are more common. Any house with a view will sell if it’s shown during the right time of day. For example, if you are selling a downtown penthouse whose surroundings look more spectacular in the evenings, don’t hold an open house on a Sunday afternoon.
Most open houses are held on Saturday and Sunday between 1-3p.m and 2-4p.m. Hold your open house at a different time. You will have less competition and also draw attention to the house. At the end of the day, buyers who haven’t found the perfect house will give your listing serious consideration.
In days gone by, agents usually advertised open houses in the local papers. Not anymore. Nowadays it’s all about social media marketing and online advertising. Make the most of adjectives when writing descriptions for your open houses. Use terms like “spectacular,” “sophisticated,” “magnificent,” “superb,” and “incredible.” Make buyers feel that they must come to your open house or they will regret it forever.
Take advantage of technology to save money. Don’t make bulky brochures with information about the house, put all the information online. Buyers are always searching for houses online so they are most likely to read the information there. This method also helps you to get serious buyers as only those who are really interested in the house will show up. However, keep a few printed brochures for those who are not internet savvy.
Buyers don‘t usually put their names on open house sign-in sheets. Many realtors also find it difficult asking them to do it. Keep the sign-in sheet by the door and tell everyone who enters to sign it for security purposes. You can also sign up visitors with the Open Home Pro app for Android and iPad. Agents who use it say that visitors are more willing to put their names on an iPad than on a paper attached to a clipboard.
Whether you serve homemade chocolate chip cookies or burgers, choose foods that will appeal to all buyers. Food has become an important feature in open houses. Some of the foods you can serve include pastries, cookies, sandwiches, and even vegetables (like celery and carrots).
You can also skip foods completely. Many agents shy away from serving foods as courts hold agents and homeowners jointly responsible for injuries on the property. Know the regional customs and your tolerance for possible litigation before serving food.
Gifts will make buyers remember you long after they leave your open house. You can give bottles of water inscribed with your brand, a CD of a virtual tour of the home or pens, calendars, and notebooks with your contact info. At the very least, make a package of property information to give to guests.
After preparing a listing for an open house, the next step is to make sure the right people show up. Only serious buyers can make your event a success. Keep the above tricks in mind and you’ll be able to hold a successful open house. Remember that you spend many dollars to reach buyers but open houses put them right in front of you. Play your cards right and you might even make a sale.
For more realty tips look to the iHouse blog for ideas!
Ronique Gibson is an Associate Architect and a LEED Accredited Professional, who has been in the design industry for over 13 years. She started her design blog in 2009 and today it has become a premier destination for helping homeowners with everyday lifestyle challenges. Her readers check in daily for help with their homes, DIY project ideas, recipes, crafts, and inspiration to beautify and enjoy their homes.