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The New Agent's Guide to Open Houses

August 19 2019

open houseHow would you like to net your listing clients an extra couple thousand dollars? According to recent research by Redfin, holding your listings open just might do the trick.

Sure, there's a hitch: the open house premium only occurs in "certain metros," and it varies by region.

For instance, in San Francisco, a home held open the first week it's on the market will sell a week quicker and for nearly 8 percent more "than homes with no open house," according to Dana Olsen at Redfin.com.

Olsen also says that the listing agents' marketing may have as much to do with the premium as the open house.

If sitting in your clients' home for a few hours, showing it to potential buyers, can net thousands more for your client (and a couple extra hundred for you), it's time well-spent.

A successful open house requires planning, strategic scheduling and heavy marketing. Read on to learn more.

Manage your expectations

NAR statistics show that only 9 percent of homes are sold to an open house visitor. It would be amazing if one of your visitors were among the 9 percent, but don't count on it and don't be disappointed if it doesn't happen.

That same NAR study found that almost half of all agents surveyed claim that open houses are "a waste of time." Be prepared for negative comments about the process from other agents.

Whether this is your listing or a colleague's, your goal is to expose the home to potential buyers and, hopefully, pick up a buyer client or two in the process.

Check the schedule

Historically, the open house has been held on a weekend, typically on Sunday. This is when most homebuyers are out house hunting, so that schedule made sense.

It doesn't make sense, however, for some listings. A home with a killer city view might show better in the early evening, around dusk. A downtown condo open house will most likely bring more traffic held on a work day, during lunch hour.

Allow yourself enough time before the event to do some research. Check the MLS for other homes for sale in the area and tour them. Take notes as you do so because you may find yourself recommending one of these homes as a better fit for one of your open house visitors.

The more informed you appear, the better.

Then, if you aren't familiar with nearby amenities, bone up on them. Where's the closest park, school, grocery store? What's the commute time from the home to downtown?

Once you choose a day and time for the open house, check that no popular local attractions will compete for attention.

Market like a maniac

To get feet in the door requires heavy marketing. Consider creating a dedicated page on your website or a single-property landing page for the listing.

Share the page to your social media followers. During the open house, have the page open on your laptop and be sure to point it out. It's an impressive piece of marketing for any visitors who may be considering selling.

Take a screenshot to use in your newsletters and emails and consider sending open house postcards to the neighbors.

What to bring with you

Ask your favorite loan officer to accompany you to the open house. He or she can hand out business cards in exchange for helping keep an eye on the door while you're giving tours.

You'll need a sign-in sheet. If you have an iPad, download a sign-in sheet app, such as Open Home Pro or AM Open House.

Of course, you can always go the old-school way with a clipboard and pen. Find open house sign-in sheet templates at FitSmallBusiness.com, EasyAgentPro.com or Google "open house sign-in sheet."

Create lots of handouts. These can include:

  • Branded promotional items
  • A property flyer
  • Neighborhood information (including which schools serve the neighborhood)
  • List of repairs and updates the homeowners have performed
  • Your bio

Package these together and insist that each visitor take one. Remember, each item should be branded and include a phone number and, if space permits, your website URL. 

Get to the listing early enough to get your directional signs and balloons set out, to set up a display of your packets, and to find or create a spot by the door for the sign-in process.

Need more tips? We found some brilliant real estate open house scripts on Keller Williams' blog and digital marketing tips at DotLoop.com.