Open Houses - What makes them work?

Real Estate Agent with Real Estate Central

Ok, so I place the ad on Tuesday to be in the Real Estate Guide section of Sunday's paper-the one with all the open houses, the map to them all, etc.  Put a "Open Sunday" sign in the yard on Tuesday or Wednesday  before the open house so everyone can see it and plan for it.  I put pointers out that day to directing every to it. 

Day of open house, I put helium balloons on all the signs to be sure to catch everyone's eye.  It's Sunday, 2pm, and guess what, only the neighbors come.  They just want to "check out property value in their neighborhood" or "I'm building and want to get some ideas". 

Any ideas on how to draw the "serious buyer" instead of the "I need something to do on Sunday afternoon lookers"? 

Too, what ideas can you give me to hand out for potential buyers to remember me and not just let me blend in with all the other Realtors they have met that day?

Thanks again, and you guys are right.  I'm TOTALLY obsessed with this site!

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Mitzi White 304-421-4554

Phyllis Carpenter 304-546-1691



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Cindy Marchant
Keller Williams Indy NE 317-290-7775 - Carmel, IN
"Cindy in Indy" , Realtor, Fishers Real Estate

Hi Mitzi, I wrote a post on Open Houses if you want to pop over to my blog and read about it; I have also seen a few others posted as well.  Maybe if you search Open Houses, you'll see the posts as well.

It's always a hit or miss; but I think you can definitely sell a house at one and certainly get a buyer or two over time.  I know when I started in the business, that is how I built my transactions.

Sep 22, 2008 03:46 AM #1
Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes

 glass half empty....

I think that you did everything right... and guess what it was a waste of time and energy.

glass half full

maybe a neighbor will tell another neighbor  etc, etc, and your home will sell. 

I used to bake cookies during my opens- of course with permission.  This made the house sell good and let the potential buyers remember me...


Sep 22, 2008 12:03 PM #2
John Cannata
214-728-0449 - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

Hi Mitzi,

Here are a few things you could try, which may help you bring some interested buyers:

  • Use more signs (start where the majority of the traffic starts).  Direct them into the neighborhood and through the streets to your house.
  • Let your peers know.  Contact local agents and let them know the house is being held open.  Give some brief details about the house.
  • Tell the neighbors.  They are going to come over anyway and/or steal your flyers.  Why not invite them in and ask them to help sell the home.  They have an opportunity to pick their neighbor.  Perhaps a friend, family member, or co-worker.  I suggest sending out small invites.  They can be hand delivered during the week when you put up the signs.
  • Utilize the newspaper.  Yes, this is an old way of doing things, but it still works.  Want a bigger add and for it to stand out??  Maybe get together with another Realtor (or two) in the area.  Share the expense for a larger add and all of you have the Open House on the same Sunday.  Perhaps even have flyers for each others homes.  Sound crazy?  Maybe.  The point it to being people in the door.
  • Finally, market to your SOI.  Let them know what is out there.
  • One more idea... have a pre-party/open house.  What is this?  Well, you have a get together during the week with the sellers friends and co-workers.  Ask for their assistance in spreading the word about the open house.  They help their friend sell their home quickly, which obviously helps you as well.

Please forgive me, but I have written a great series on Open House Strategies - here is the link if you are interested Open House  Although many find them to be a waste of time, they aren't.  Pick any weekend and you find dozens of open houses.  Why?  Because they still work (if done properly and with the right attitude).  Don't go into it as a way to 'satisfy the client'.

Let me know if I can offer any additional tips.  :-)

John Cannata

Sep 23, 2008 03:50 AM #3
Mitzi & Phyllis White & Carpenter
Real Estate Central - Hurricane, WV
The Dream Team

Cindy, Judy and John,

Thank you all for your comments.  Seems I'm doing most things I've read about, I guess it will just take that one "super" open house to change my thinking about open houses.

Sep 24, 2008 01:18 AM #4
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Also remember that some prospective buyers don't want to be bothered by a Realtor's "hard sell," so they'll commonly say that they are "neighbors who are just curious."

Back when I was a Realtor in Houston many decades ago, I almost always had people tell me that they were just curious neighbors. That was when the Texas oil boom was going bust, creating a market like we have right now. There were too many neighbors, so one weekend I hired a bunch of college students to follow home those who left my open house. Less than half lived in the neighborhood. After that I treated everyone, absolutely everyone, as a prospective Client, just curious or not.

Oct 02, 2008 01:52 PM #5
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