Open houses have been getting a bad rap of late. But I, for one, still believe in them and still do them as much as possible. And, there are best practices for everyone involved! That's right, everyone! And so, I feel compelled to outline everyone's responsibilities.
If you are the agent hosting the open house, the last thing you want to do is be running in at the last minute with MLS printouts in hand. After all, the next three or four hours is your opportunity to shine and showcase the house. A great deal of preparation is involved if you want it to be a success. Here is how I prepare:
- If you are not the listing agent and have not seen the house, for the love of God, make sure you preview it!! The only exception would be if you are filling in for someone the last minute.
- While you are previewing, put a rider on top of the sign indicating the day you will be holding the home open. This will alert anyone who drives by that week well in advance.
- Create flyers that showcase the home and clearly contains your contact information and picture.
- Invite the neighbors. The best way to do this is doorknock. This gives you the opportunity to meet them, but if they are not home, leave an invitation on their doorknob. After all, they may have friends or family who have expressed interest in their neighborhood, AND this gives them the opportuity to choose their neighbor! Some agents have a separate open house for neighbors only, where they serve refreshments. This is a wonderful opportunity to present yourself as the neighborhood expert.
- On the day of the open house, place signs strategically (8 or more is best). The idea is to direct people in. A few weeks ago I put out 9 signs and got 30 groups in, each and every one of them from the signs.
- Have a sign in sheet that requires contact information. It would behoove you to have everyone sign in. After all, for the three or four hours you are there, you are responsible to know who's been in the house!
- Take any flyers out of the flyer box....you want people to come in, right?
- Have comps and other actives ready and available. I can guarantee someone will ask, and the more you know, the better you can help them.
- Be ready to answer questions. If you don't know the answer, tell them you will find out and ask what the best way to reach them with your answer will be.
- Be engaging, PLEASE! (This is not a good time for Eeyore syndrome).
- Once the open house is over, contact the listing agent immediately to give them feedback. If it's your listing, contact the sellers.
- FOLLOW UP! It's best to do this within 24 hours. If you don't do this, you've wasted everyone's time, especially yours!
- If the hosting agent asks you to sign in, please sign in. If you do not wish to be contacted, let the agent know and he/she will make a note of it.
- If you bring small children with you, please keep them with you! Kids will be kids, and chances are you will find them handling the sellers' belongings or jumping on their furniture.
- Make sure anything of value is out of sight, preferably locked up in a safe place. The agent will do everything in their power to escort potential buyers through your home, but there will be times when several people will show up at the same time, making this difficult.
- Take the opportunity to enjoy the afternoon out. Do not stay for the open house. Nothing says "desperate" to a potential buyer more than the seller ready to pounce with every detail of the house. You hired professionals, now let them do their work!
- Make sure beds are made, dishes are done and house is ready to receive guests. Clean the house as if your mother-in-law were coming over!
Ok, now that everyone knows what they are doing, it's time to hold the open house! And if someone tries to whisper in your ear that they don't work, don't listen...I had 2 of my listings sell from open houses in the last year, as well as my personal property in another state and market.
If you are a homeowner who is thinking of selling in Santa Clara County, I would love to sit down with you to discuss your options. I must warn you, though, I will ask to do open houses!