In the 1980’s and 90’s, Open Houses were the way to sell a house. It was also the time when your realtor could place a lock box on the door, place a sign in the yard and place an ad about the upcoming open house in the paper and just like the movie, “The Field of Dreams,” they would come. Buyers would search through a “for sale” booklet they had picked up at somewhere in the community or would rush outside to pick up the Sunday paper from their lawn. Over breakfast or lunch, potential buyers dusted off key-map, read through the enticing advertisements and within a few hours a weekend open house tour was planned.
Open Houses attract many people you would normally not allow in your home such as the crazy cat lady (a nosey neighbor) who had been chomping at the bit to get invited inside to see how you have decorated your home. Open Houses attract those looking for design inspiration. And Open Houses also attract buyers who many months from being ready who are just getting acclimated with their surroundings and buyers who may be actively looking for a home.
Over the course of the last 10 to 15 years, Open Houses have slowly faded out as the way to view a home over the weekend. So, why is this?
Technology has advanced.
Gas has tripled in price.
No one wants to let the crazy cat lady or a nosey neighbor inside their home.
People have just become too busy to look at houses the old fashioned way.
With advances in technology such as multiple listing service (MLS) client email notifications and virtual tours now potential buyers can take a sneak peek inside a home without wasting an expensive tank of gas. Buyers agents have the capability of setting a search in MLS based on their clients criteria and listings are sent immediately when the home enters the market. This allows the prospect to view information, photos and possibly a virtual tour of your home without even leaving work, the house and even without getting out of their pajamas if they so desire. Buyers can get a glimpse of the layout from a virtual tours since many created today show panoramic images (either 180 or 360 views) or have the ability to speak about what is shown in the photo giving a buyer a better understanding of the layout and why this home would be a good fit. This process allows the buyer to see all available inventory and narrowing possibilities down to the final list before they hop in a car only to find they wasted their time and money by walking into homes that would never be a match based on their criteria.
When gasoline under $1.00 more people took leisure trips, but now that it is nearing the $4 mark – those days are over! As yourself these questions:
Would you drive around all day wasting time and money when technology makes it possible to view homes online?
Having technology at our fingertips allows us to hop into the car and spend our time and money wisely by only looking at homes meet our criteria the most. Most people I know, pack their schedules so full each day of the week there is little or no time to waste during the week, let alone a weekend. Weekends are when many are fulfilling chores that were impossible to accomplish during the week and are keeping up with their children because their schedules are just as hectic as theirs or they are enjoying their well deserved time off of work.
Whether you believe it or not, every person that lives near you, wonders what your home looks like inside. They wonder what type of furnishings you have. They wonder how your layout compares to theirs. If you are not already friends with these people, do you want them walking through your home? I believe this is a yes and no question. No, for obvious reasons. But yes, because they may know a friend, family member or colleague that is interested in buying a home in their neighborhood – possibly a home like yours.
How to effectively hold a modern open house?
How to ensure your traffic is targeting buyers ready to buy now?
First of all, I uphold an ethical commitment to be honest with you, so I’ll be the first one to tell you an open house is NOT designed to sell your house. It is designed for your realtor to generate buyer leads and to make you happy because you see your agent is working hard trying to sell your home. I believe open houses are a waste of everyone’s time and sometimes they can be dangerous for the realtor holding the open house, unless they done CORRECTLY. How to hold an open house CORRECTLY is a matter of opinion and this our opinion.
In order for an open house to be effective in capturing a buyer, it needs to be…more creative than ALL other marketing done to sell your home!
A modern twist to a conventional open house would be following:
Hold a REALTOR® Open House
Put your home on a Realtor Tour after the home is listed. The ones that do will either put your home on tour within the first week it is on the market or will wait until your home has been a few weeks and will utilize the tour to find out why your home has not received an offer. I find this unacceptable and so should you. I believe other realtors should be the first people alerted your home is coming to the market. They should be the first set of foot traffic inside your home to preview for their potential buyers. This is beneficial for two reasons: 1. Your home will more than likely be sold to a buyer represented by another realtor and we want they clients to be first clients to view as soon as the house enters the market. 2. This open house will allow us to tweak any minor issues other realtors may view as issues to potential buyers – including staging and price.
Hold a Neighbor Open House
After any Realtor Open Houses and after all tweaks have been made… it is time to invite the neighbors. This should be scheduled the a day or two prior to the house going on the market. Neighbors should be invited with personalized invitations asking them to bring their friends, family or colleagues who have expressed interest in living in their neighborhood to get a sneak peak of the house before it enters the market.
If an offer has not been received by the following weekend, it is time to
Schedule an Open House Tour
If your realtor has multiple homes in the neighborhood for sale, ask them to hold an Open House Tour. The tour will allow buyers to show up at the house for a select period of time (usually no more than 30 minutes) to view before they move onto the next house. This creates a huge buzz, especially when buyers know they have to be there at a specific time to view and a really bigger buzz when they hear others make buying comments about the home they also really want to buy. Have you ever been fearful when you know there is only one item for sale that you like and there are 10 people interested in the same item? We know, we have!
Follow-Up Open House Showings
If a buyer wants to make a second showing appointment to view your home, it is possible they are giving it additional thought because they are serious buyer and not a looker!
These modern twists to a conventional way to hold open houses makes sure your time is not wasted, you have serious buyers walking through the door and allows your realtor to weed out the buyers from the lookers.