Russel Ray has started a new series called Golden Oldies
where he promotes old, but informational blogs from the past.
This one by Susan Neal is still appropriate today. I just wonder if there's other inciteful ways of promoting open houses.
I have held countless open houses in the more than 20 years I've been a real estate broker, and I have discovered that the way an open house is promoted can make a huge difference in the number of people who attend. I do distribute a number of flyers and invitations, as I discussed in an earlier post, and that should always be done if possible, and I put out a number of directional open house signs from a nearby major intersection to direct people to the open, with red flags on top (where permitted) to call attention to them.
I have tried newspaper advertising, but I have never had anyone tell me they saw my ad. I indicate in my MLS listing and other places where I post my listing that it will be open on a certain date and time, but almost no one tells me they came because of those either (usually only if they are brought or sent by their agent).
Of those who attend my opens, I'd say that about 70-80 percent say that they saw my ad in Craigs List, and the rest are either neighbors invited by me or they just followed my signs. I won't stop doing the other things I do, even though they aren't bringing in much to open houses, because I do get calls from people who see them and tell me they missed the open but would like to see the house. Then I give them a private showing. Often, I will even say in my ad something like: "Can't make it to the open house? Call me for a personal showing at your convenience." I also develop relationships with the neighbors in the neighborhoods of every house I list. This is great for referrals.
I have heard others say that they have tried placing their open house ads on Craigs List and have gotten no results. When I have checked their ads, I can see why. Make sure your ad tells enough about the property to interest people and make use of the 4 free photo spots they give you or if you can work with HTML or want to use a free flyer maker like Postlets, you can have more photos and post it on Craigs List. Make it clear the hours you will be open, and give clear directions to the property from a major intersection (preferably the same one you will be signing from).
But the most important tip I can give you is to place your ad just a few hours before your open house. The way Craigs List works is to list all ads that meet a search criteria, with the most recently posted one on top. If you are in an area like mine that has many open houses every Saturday and every Sunday, this is critical. If I will have an open house on Sunday from 1-4 pm, I will post it at about 10 am. That way, my ad will be at or very near the top when people are searching.
Another Realtor with whom I spoke recently told me he posts his ads for his opens on Craigs List and almost never gets results. The next week I looked for his ad and I finally found it on page 3! There are many listings per page, so people had to wade through hundreds of ad listings before getting to his. How many do you think would bother? His ad was posted on Thursday. His theory was that the longer it was posted, the more chance there was for people to see it. Fair enough for a regular listing ad, but for an open house, I believe that most people check Craigs List shortly before going out to look at homes. I post a regular listing ad midweek, but my open house ads are always posted on the day of the open.
Once again, the name of the game is exposure, exposure, exposure. It doesn't help to say you advertised. People have to see it or what's the point?