The home has been expertly staged, your property info sheets look professional and crisp, and the faint but pleasant smell of freshly baked bread lingers in the air. You are 100 percent prepared to have an amazing open house, and then… no one shows up.
This realtor nightmare doesn’t have to be your reality. There are plenty of buyers visiting open houses as part of their home search – 48 percent of buyers to be exact* – and with a little preparation your listing can easily attract a slice of that traffic.
Strategically select a date and time
Now is not the time to express your individuality. Serious buyers typically like to see a number of homes on the same day. You’ll garner more interest in your listing if the event date and time coincide with opens for similar properties nearby. You could even coordinate with other agents in your office who have listings in that area.
Want to really boost your attendance? Try starting your event just 30 minutes to an hour earlier than the typical open house. For example, if most agents in that neighborhood hold an open house from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., consider starting your event at 1:00 p.m. This makes your property an obvious first stop and avoids the buyer burnout that can happen at the end of a long day of tours.
Whatever you do, be sure to account for big events. A popular street festival could drive a lot of foot traffic – and potential clients – past your property, while a football game between local rivals might be a major distraction even for the most earnest buyers.
Notify your network
Would you ever throw a birthday party and not invite some guests? It’s no different with an open house. “If you build it, they will come” does not apply here.
Start by notifying your agent network (especially if it’s the first opportunity to see the home). A number of your colleagues may be working with buyers who would be interested in this property, and the chance to attend an open can simplify their scheduling with the client.
Next turn to your client database. Any closed buyers in that area who might be interested in checking out the neighbor’s home or upgrading to a larger property? Have any cold leads whose buying criteria match this listing? You probably know many people who’d like to see this property; get creative when mining your database! Send a personal email inviting them to the open, and take note of who responds. As trends emerge you can focus your future contact efforts on those who are most likely to attend.
Don’t forget about your online social networks. Whether you prefer Twitter, Facebook, or another platform altogether, tap into the community you’ve built to get the word out. You can use Open Home Pro’s one-touch social sharing to easily post to your favorite network.
Advertise your event
Should you spend money to advertise your open house? We say yes, but within reason and not without measuring your results. Use custom questions in the Open Home Pro app to find out where visitors learned about your event, then use that information to adjust your investment moving forward.
In general you’ll get the most bang for your buck by advertising in places where people are clearly searching for real estate. Newspapers can still be a strong traffic driver, especially if your local publication has a popular and dedicated “open houses” section each week. Don’t forget to ask about special deals if you opt for an online plus print package or commit to a weekly ad.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 89 percent of all buyers use websites as information sources during their home search, and 42 percent of all buyers actually start their search by looking online at properties for sale.* Point being: online advertising is a great way to reach potential clients. At a minimum you’ll want to add your open house to the MLS listing and any real estate portals where you advertise, such as Zillow, Trulia, or HomeFinder.com. Agents ready for more advanced internet tactics should consider targeted ads on sites like Google and Facebook.
How do you maximize your open house traffic? Share your tips with us on Twitter for a chance to be featured in a future blog post.