The post by Pacita Dimacali on Active Rain Still Holding Open Houses? That's Old Fashioned makes great points about why this real estate marketing tactic still works and why agents should do open houses.
Unfortunately, sometimes real estate agents make mistakes that scare away potential clients!
As a home buyer who has lived in 4 different cities, I've added many a real estate agent to my "Don't Deal With Them" list based on their open house behavior. This means:
- I won't hire them when I'm ready to buy or sell my next property.
- I'm less likely to go to any of their open houses in the future.
- I won't recommend them when a home staging client asks me who they should list with.
Hosting an open house can be tedious (especially on a sunny weekend) and expensive when you consider the value of your time, advertising, signage, feature sheets or other materials you give away, etc. So it's important to get the maximum marketing/sales value out of your investment of time and money.
If open houses aren't working for you, it may be because you're doing it wrong! I'm not a real estate agent, I'm sharing my views based on visiting thousands of homes over the years and the really unprofessional behaviors I've personally experienced that put someone on my own "Don't Deal With This Real Estate Agent" list.
5 Ways to Scare Real Estate Clients Away At Your Next Open House:
- You're too busy reading the paper or talking on your cell phone to show interest in anyone else.
- You've thrown your coat over the furniture, left your shoes in the middle of the hall, and haven't bothered to turn on the lights. This communicates that you don't really care about this listing or doing right by your client.
- When a visitor comments on the lower-than-expected asking price you immediately list all the problems with the property, it's location and/or the neighborhood. (I know, hard to believe, but it's shockingly common!)
- When asked about the comparable listing that's down the street or around the corner, all you can say is, "I haven't seen it." This sends a pretty clear message that you're unknowledgeable, lazy, or you simply don't care. It might also suggest that the other house is better/better value and that's why you don't want to comment. If you haven't seen the other listing (which you should have!), at least be willing/able to look it up online and comment on how it compares to this property. If the open house is particularly crowded and you can't do it on the spot, be prepared to suggest getting back to them that evening with answers. After all, wouldn't you like to become their trusted real estate advisor?
- You jump to immediate conclusions about a person's ability to buy this, or any, property based on race and/or sex and then condescend to them accordingly. Enough said.
I've hired several real estate agents over the years based on how they handled their open houses. I also bought my last property the day after discovering it at an open house, even though I had to outbid 8 other potential buyers. I have also met many agents during their open houses who I've subsequently recommended as a home stager. These were very hot leads because they were serious sellers who had already gone to the time and expense of decorating their homes to sell quickly and for more money.
So my list of warning signs is based on my personal experience as a house buyer, seller and home stager.
By the way, if you're a real estate agent who lets others host an open house at one of your listings, make sure they aren't raising these red flags, after all it's your name on the For Sale sign!
Are there any warning signs that you would add to this list? If you're a real estate agent and you have an explanation for why any of my 5 observations shouldn't be seen as red flags, let me know!
Debra Gould's mission is helping people realize the many possibilities that lie around the next corner when they build a business around their passions. Frequently profiled in the media and author of the popular blog, Home Staging Business Report, Debra has trained 7,000 home stagers in 21 countries and has published 5 guides for home stagers.