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2007-01-30 09:32:00

13 Steps To Conduct An Open House

“Open Houses don’t sell houses,” real estate trainers say. “Open Houses are a source of buyer and seller leads for agents.” An agent-centric trained salesperson puts a sign in the yard, places an ad in the paper, grabs some MLS listing sheets, and hopes for the best. His Open House visitors are mostly “lucky loos” out for a weekend drive. 

There’s a better approach, one designed to maximize the effectiveness of the Open House that’s designed to pull out all the stops and actually sell the property! Prepare for the Open House as if it is a trade show!
 
  1. Counsel Sellers About Staging the Property. Don’t be shy about discussing the condition of the property with the sellers prior to the Open House. The property should be immaculate and tidy and its best features should shine. Remove all jewelery and expensive gadgets as well as all prescription drugs. Depending upon the house and the circumstances, consider asking an associate to co-host the event so that all guests can tour the property in the company of an agent.
     
  2. Send Invitations, Advertise in Newspaper, Internet, and MLS. Send an invitation early in the week preceding the Open House to the seller’s neighbors. Send another invitation by mail or fax to local real estate professionals with a promise that their clients and customers will be honored in terms of commission entitlement. Newspaper ads should always contain the property address and excellent driving directions. Input Open House information in the multiple listing service if that option is available.
     
  3. Place Multiple Signs to Direct Traffic to Home. Place an Open House sign or rider on the property a full week preceding the event, and place multiple directional arrows on the day of the Open House. An additional sign at the property with a unique URL containing the property address (www.123MainStreet.com) will direct buyers to the Internet for a glimpse of coming attractions before the Open House event.
     
  4. Prepare Virtual Tour CDs and Handsome Jewel Cases. A virtual tour burned to a CD is the prize takeaway from an Open House. For added “zap” to the presentation, apply an illustrated CD label and serve it up in a matching jewel case with agent contact information printed on the label. A companion CD business card highlighting an agent’s personal marketing approach is the perfect complement to the virtual tour.
     
  5. Design a Full-Color Illustrated Flyer. Most agents are still using flyers generated by the multiple listing service. Stand above the crowd with something classy and elegant. There are numerous real estate template flyer programs and services that agents can use with minimal experience to produce high quality flyers.
     
  6. Prepare A Professional Looking Home Book. If “location, location, location” is the mantra of real estate, then “photos, photos, photos” is the mantra of effective real estate marketing pieces. Chances are that Open House visitors will visit several properties on the same day. By the end of the afternoon they will be wondering which house has the fireplace or hardwood floors, and which yard has the stone patio. Offer a keepsake home book that offers a visual walk through of the property room by room, with dimensions and features, and large, clear photographs in full color.
     
  7. Compile a Comprehensive School and Demographic Report. Subscribe to a service that offers school reports and demographic information. This data generally includes narrative, tabular data, and charts and graphs with statistics on local, county, and state levels. One copy is enough if it is handsomely bound with a cover and placed on the presentation table with a tag saying, “Please do not remove this book from property.”
     
  8. Create A Catalog of Additional Properties. Buyers will often have questions about competing properties. Be prepared to answer those questions. A list of competing properties at fingertips accomplishes two goals: (1.) Enhance the competitive posture of the Open House listing; and (2.) Offer alternative properties for purchase if the listing does not meet a buyer’s criteria.
     
  9. Setup A Presentation Board. A 36-inch presentation board can be a handsome Open House showcase on a dining room table or other focal point. Use straight pins or glue stick to affix 8x10 sheets: “This property appears on the following Internet sites…”, “The property is advertised in…”, and lists of some of the outstanding features of the house. Additionally, vendor flyers from home inspectors, mortgage lenders, and home warranty companies can be affixed to the board. Photos of the exterior of the property during different seasons adds another nice touch, especially flowering gardens during a frigid winter Open House event.
     
  10. Invite A Mortgage Professional to Attend and Prequalify Buyers. A mortgage lender can play a key role as a strategic partner in an Open House setting. Lenders will often prepare financing sheets and closing cost estimates in advance of a showing. An on-site lender equipped with a laptop and an ability to generate a prequalification letter upfront goes a long way in increasing a buyers’ comfort level.
     
  11. Create a Guest Register that includes only one prospect’s name and information on each page. Buyers appreciate the privacy and are inclined to offer more information. Ask for name, address, phone, and email address, and invite the prospect to subscribe to a newsletter. Include a line to identify another real estate agent if the prospect already has a relationship with another agent. Docubind the pages or use a three-ring binder and turn to a new blank page after each prospect signs in.
     
  12. Create small feature signs and place them in rooms to add narrative to the tour. For instance, “This pellet stove is used as a primary heat source. Last year’s cost for pellets was less than $600!” 
     
  13. Home Book contents can include notices and disclosures, financing sheets from lenders, and other pertinent information.

What you Need

  • Guest Register – Collect Name, Address, Phone Number, and Email Address
  • Business Cards and Business Card Holder
  • Copies of Consumer Notice in States Where That Is Applicable and Appropriate
  •  Flyers and Upright Flyer Stand
  •  Copies of the Seller’s Disclosure
  •  Home Inspection Flyers
  •  Homes Warranty Details
  • Personalized Novelty Giveaways – Pens, Calendars, Magnets
  • Company and Agent Brochures
  • Comparative Market Analysis Cards
  • Financing Sheets and Closing Cost Estimates Based on Three Mortgage Types

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