Open Houses - Part 1
Open Houses are making a huge comeback. With the hot selling market and low inventory everyone, and I mean everyone is looking for a listing that they can host an open house at. These are some basics to consider when hosting an open house:
1. Advertising. Are you able to advertise your open house through your Realtor® association? Does your association provide this info to 3rd party sites (Redfin, Zillow, Trulia)? Are you missing potential clients because you don't advertise online? Do you send out mailers to the neighborhood announcing the open house? A little planning to make a good open house great.
2. Signage. Yes, you are hosting an open house but do you have a yard sign in front of your property (some HOAs and divisions do not allow, sorry)? People will be looking for some kind of sign when coming down the street and a yard sign is still easier to spot then a "temporary" small open house sign.
3. Property Upkeep - Front Yard. Make sure the seller has the at least the front yard nice and tidy. Trees & bushes trimmed, grass cut, rocks/sand raked. Yes, I said rake your rocks. Place unnecessary items (garden hoses, tools, gaudy decorations) away. Pick up the daily newspaper laying in the driveway. Put the garbage/recycling cans away, don't leave on the street in front of your property. Your first impression can never be gotten again.
4. Work Station - Inside. Create a work space for you during the open house. You can use a counter or a table (if it is furnished) but always be sure to bring a folding table and chair just in case. If you are hosting the open house alone be sure to have two chairs to make it appear someone else is there with you. Be sure to have a laptop/tablet with WiFi so you can do additional searches for the potential buyer. Sign in sheet is a must (required by some sellers) so have a spreadsheet to gather that client's information. A tablet adds professionalism and the potential client can fill it out as they walk around. Be sure to have lots of business cards, property profile sheet, and even a free standing literature holder with additional information about the property, division and city.
5. Create the environment. Some agents are very demanding of their sellers to keep a property neat and tidy. I believe the seller should do this automatically but life happens. Gentle reminders to remove clutter, put dishes/laundry away, clean floors and counters, etc. goes along way to having a successful open house. Food and drinks are a nice touch. Water should be mandatory. Be sure to have on hand for clients and don't forget to offer it.
6. Lender. Do you have preferred lender you work with? Invite them to join you at your open house. Many potential buyers have not Pre-qualified and this is another opportunity to show how professional you are.
Open Houses are a great way to let your seller know you are working hard to sell their home. This is a concrete visual confirmation in their minds that you are earning your money. If you don't like sitting there, there are plenty of agents (especially new ones) who will gladly host your open house to get a shot a potential buyers walking through the door.
Good luck with your next open house!