When you conduct open houses, you want guests to leave thinking about making an offer. So how do you do that? Help prospective buyers imagine themselves living in this house. The essential thing to remember when planning and conducting open houses is you want to transform the features on the listing page into benefits for these buyers. They want to know “What’s in it for me?” and “Why is this house right for me?”
Take a look at some tips for successful open houses.
Open House Preparation
Preparation is the key to hosting a successful open house. Remember to:
- Learn as much as you can about the property and the neighborhood.
- Complete major repairs and minor upgrades like new paint.
- Ensure the house is looking its best inside and outside.
- Reduce the clutter and debris of daily life from the main rooms.
- Promote your open house on Zillow, your web site, blog, email list, and social media pages and in the local paper. Invite the neighbors too.
- Gather all the information and equipment you’ll need, like signs, business cards, flyers, info sheets, sample sales contract, printout of the MLS listing, and sign-in sheet.
Prepare the Sellers
If they’ve never sold a house before, the idea of dozens of strangers wandering through their home and looking through all the rooms and closets can be weird and disturbing for sellers. Remind them of the purpose of open houses. You want to make it as easy as possible for prospective buyers to imagine themselves, their families, their stuff, and their style in this house.
Tell the sellers they’ll need to not only thoroughly clean every part of the house, but also de-personalize the rooms. If the house still looks like someone else’s home with lots of belongings reflecting someone else’s style and personality, it will be harder for guests to picture living there.
Also, sellers should not be present while you are conducting the open house. Prospective buyers might feel inhibited or like they’re imposing, making it more difficult for them to envision buying that house.
Prepare the House
You want people to say “Wow!” when they walk through the house. To do that, you need to help the property look its best. Of course, each room should be cleaned and organized and the carpets shampooed. And outside, the trash is removed, the lawn mowed, weeds pulled, cobwebs and branches removed, front walk swept, and so on.
Also remember to:
- Keep the décor to a minimum: The fewer items in a room or a closet, the larger it will seem.
- De-clutter and de-personalize.
- Remove pets and litter boxes, valuables, personal items, and prescription medicine.
- Turn on lights and open the drapes.
- Make sure everything works.
- Eliminate unpleasant odors.
- Toss decorative blankets over a bed, sofa, or armchair that’s not ready for prime time.
- Use signs to draw attention to unique features.
- Make them feel welcome: have soft music playing, fresh cut flowers, and snacks like freshly baked cookies.
Open House Hosting
When hosting an open house, strive to make visitors feel welcome and comfortable:
- Greet your guests warmly as they arrive.
- Hand them the info sheet and ask them to sign the sign-in sheet.
- Mention a few special features about the property.
- Strike the right balance: not too pushy but not too hands off.
- Build report with friendly, helpful conversation. Chat about the unique benefits, the neighborhood, and the market.
- Get to know a little about them: Ask what they’re looking for, what they like, and which features are particularly important to them.
- Embrace your role as the designated expert: You’re the expert on that house. Remind guests to ask you any questions they may have about the property and the neighborhood
After Open Houses
Attempt to gather visitors’ email addresses and phone numbers, give them your business card, and encourage them to contact you with further questions. Make sure your follow-up efforts are prompt and helpful, but not pushy. But your initial goal should be to say what you want to say there at the open house. These are the people you’re trying to reach with other marketing efforts. Use this valuable face-to-face time with potential buyers to make your best case.
Soon after the open house is over, write down notes about what worked, what didn’t and the visitors’ attitude and impressions. You can use this information to improve marketing materials and make your next open house more successful.
360training.com’s WA Real Estate Practices