As you come up with a game plan to increase interest in your home listings, don’t downplay the importance of an open house. This is an effective way to drum up extra traffic and shorten the time it takes to find a buyer. For a successful open house, you need more than nosy neighbors stopping by. You also need qualified buyers. And once you get these people in the door, you need to hook them.
If you haven't had much luck with open houses in the past, maybe you’re reluctant to schedule one for a listing.
However, with the right strategy you can attract the right kind of interest and get the property sold.
1. Network with realtors
An open house sign can entice would-be buyers as they drive through the neighborhood. But don’t count on this traffic for a successful event. Network with other realtors and let them know about your upcoming open houses so they can bring clients who might be interested in the property. You can also update the property on the multiple-listing service with information on open house days, such as the time of the open and directions to the property.
2. Put together an information packet
You want interested buyers to leave the property with as much information as possible. When buyers check out several properties in a day, they can easily forget details about these homes within a few hours. To keep your property fresh in their minds, put together a basic information packet providing key details brought the home, such as square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms and recent updates. If you also have a working relationship with local mortgage lenders, you can include the lender’s contact information in the packet, along with basic information on mortgage financing.
3. Replace the “for sale” sign with an open house sign
A couple days before a scheduled open house, replace the “for sale” sign outside a seller’s home with an open house sign. Include the date of the open house and the time. Buyers browsing the neighborhood looking for properties will see information about the open house and adjust their schedules accordingly.
4. Decorate the neighborhood
Since you want as much traffic as possible, don’t be shy about decorating the neighborhood with banners, balloons, and any other item that will draw attention. This includes signs at the entrance of subdivisions, as well as several additional signs with arrows pointing the way to the house. The easier it is for buyers to find the property, the more people you’ll have attend. A buyer who has to drive up and down the street to find the house could become frustrated and write off the house.
5. Make the home warm, cozy and inviting
For a successful open house, make it your aim to “wow” buyers from the moment they step inside the property. First impressions matter in real estate. If the property doesn't stick in a buyer’s mind, you’ll never see these people again.
If your sellers have the budget, suggest working with a professional stager, who can arrange furniture and bring in home decor to make the house look like a model show piece. You can also recommend removing personal items, knickknacks, picture frames and clutter. During the open house, keep a fresh batch of baked cookies on the stove. The aroma from the kitchen creates an inviting, cozy atmosphere, which can help attendees envision themselves living in the property.
6. Choose appropriate times
You don't want to schedule an open house too late or too early in the day. In addition, it’s important to select the right days of the week—preferably on a weekend when most people are off from work and available to look at properties. As far as times, schedule open houses between the hours of 12 PM and 5 PM. You should plan the open house for at least two or three hours, which allows ample time for would-be buyers to stop by and see the property.
7. Create a sign in sheet
For every person that walks through the door, ask them to fill out a form and provide their name, address, telephone number or email. This way, you can follow up with them after a few days if you haven't received an offer or heard back. Even if the property wasn’t a right fit for their family, you can still be of assistance. Some people who attend open houses aren’t represented by agents. If you follow up, some of these people can become potential clients.
What you put in is what you get out–remeber these tips when hosting your next open house event.
Need more? Check out this article for more tips and tricks to a flawless open house.