1. Know the Home
It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the home you will be holding open. Often times, REALTORS hold other agent’s listings open in order to find new clients to work with. It’s important to know the house you will be holding open before the open house. First, do your due-diligence on the property online. Get copies of all of the important disclosures, surveys, documents etc. and review these. Then, go preview the home. Make sure it’s in good show-worthy condition, and make mental note of the pros and cons of this property. Think of common buyer questions, “How many sqft is this home?”, “Is this property in the floodplain?” and know the answers by heart. It’s also a good idea to pull up recent sales in the area, and know of other available homes that may be a good fit.
2. Market The Open House
If you skip this step, your open house may be a complete bust. Most importantly, make sure that the open house date is entered in the MLS. This data is syndicated to a number of other sites, and is how 90% of buyers attending open houses are finding them these days. I also encourage doing a low-budget targeted Facebook ad advertising the open house to prospective buyers in the area. You can run a $20 dollar ad for a few days prior to the open house targeting people who Facebook has identified as likely to move. Also, post the open house on your own Facebook wall, and Facebook business page. Put up signs, and add balloons if you would like. Balloons can be tricky, a plastic bag to put them in usually eliminates a few lost balloons.
3. Walk the Neighborhood
The day before, or the day of the open house, walk the neighborhood. I make flyers for this, and knock on neighbor’s doors. I tell them about the open house, and tell them to send over anyone they know who may want to move to the area, or just stop by if they’re curious about the home. This is a great way to identify home owners in the neighborhood who may want to sell soon too.
4. Build Relationships
When someone enters the open house, greet them warmly, and ask them to please sign in. You want to get their contact information. If they have any hesitations about this just state that the homeowners require it. Give them some space as they explore the home, but be close enough to answer questions. For example, when a couple is looking around a room, I stay in the door way. Answer questions and try to form a bond with this person. Latch on to common interests, and look for opportunities to provide value. I never have flyers at the open house. This is tactical, I want their contact info so I can email them relevant information, and stay in touch.
5. Follow Up
This is where 90% of agents fail with open houses. You have to follow up with attendees. The day of the open house, send out an email thanking them for stopping by and attach an e-flyer on the home. Send any other relevant information or answers to questions you couldn’t answer in person as quickly as possible. The following day, call and ask them if they received the info, and if they have any other questions. If they don’t answer, you can text them. Continue to follow up and send other properties you think may interest them. Keep in contact in order to secure a new client.