How To Make Your Open House Successful

Open houses offer a tried and true method to generate interest for your listing. When it comes to residential properties, no one buys a house without first checking it out. Although people can now do it online through virtual tours, many prefer actually visiting the house. An open house allows you to interact with numerous prospective buyers in a weekend.

Some of the people who come through will be looky-loo’s that just want to see what the house goes for and how it compares to their home in price and size. Yet every so often you’ll get a real prospective buyer to come in and since you can’t always tell the difference, it’s best to stay professional, friendly and build rapport with everyone. When you see a prospect come in a second or third time, then you’ll know you may have something.

So how do we get the most out of a open house? See below for six methods for bringing people into your open house and making it a success.

1. Go Online

It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, or even how beautiful the home is, if people don’t know about it. In today’s world, people look for everything on the internet. For homes, it’s usually the first place they go (especially for the younger generation of first time home buyers). According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of homebuyers rely on the internet when performing their search.

In fact, many of them are using smartphone apps to find open houses near them, and compare sale prices and competing listings. Ensure that you list your open house online. As a real estate agent or broker, you can put the open house dates in the multiple listing service and syndicate it to sites such as, Zillow and Trulia.

Make use of all your social media channels- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, maybe even Reddit. Your friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues and followers could know someone who is looking. Content also gets shared fast on these platforms. People outside your direct network may stumble on your posts and tweets, especially if a friend that follows you shares it with them. You can also use a direct mail campaign by mailing 200-300 targeted postcards to the area a week or two in advance.

2. Use Signs to Get Drive-Bys

Use banners and directional signs to direct people to your open house. Before the open house, print out a map of the area and mark the locations of all the signs. Make sure to place some on the nearby high-traffic roads. When you set them up, make sure they’re visible and easy to follow. If you don’t have many visitors, you may want to do a drive by all your signs to ensure they didn’t fall down or get blocked.

3. Bribe them

One of the earliest records of using incentives to attract buyers was in 1952. A Dallas realtor gave free soft drinks to visitors and offered the lucky buyer a Cadillac. The promotion attracted 30,000 people to the open house. How do you bribe the buyers today?

Add refreshments and snacks. Is the weather cool? Have a big tray of freshly baked cookies ready with hot chocolate and paper cups. Is it hot? A big pitcher of iced lemonade will relax and cool down each visitor as they walk through the home. If there’s a big game that day, put it on the TV.

4. Follow up

Have a sign in sheet when they walk in. Ideally you have something to offer when asking for their email address such as a special report outlining the key features that sell homes in that area or low-cost ways to improve your home’s value. After the open house, email them a copy of the listing flyer and thank them for coming in. It will help in keeping the property on their minds. You can also use this opportunity to show them similar properties in the area and any other upcoming open houses.

5. Create partnerships

Get local artists and interior designers to use the home as a platform to stage their work. Flaunt the home and their work at the same time. For new homes, having furniture makes it much easier for each prospect to imagine themselves living there.

6. Be generic

You want other people to picture the house as their home. You also don’t want them to feel like they are strangers walking through another person’s home. That’s awkward. If you are showing a home that still has a tenant, remove all personal items if possible.

Put away the family pictures framed around the house and the reminders of doctor visits that are pinned on the refrigerator. Turn off the volume on the answering machine to prevent the visitors from hearing new messages. If certain rooms are packed with furniture, see if you can move excess pieces to the garage to make more space during the open house.

Creating an open house is not a 2-hour picnic. It takes time an effort, from getting people to show up, hosting it, and following them up after the event. It requires a lot of prep work, a positive attitude, and excellent conversational skills.

You spend a lot of marketing dollars to get prospective buyers into your open house. You only need one person to be interested and make an acceptable offer. Open houses exponentially increase the chance of this happening.