Ever threw a party and nobody came? Unfortunately, that’s what happens to many real estate agents when they host an open house.
The latest data from the ShowingTime Showing Index®1 found home showings declined again year-over-year in June, though home touring activity is still above pre-pandemic levels. The U.S. overall had an 18.7% fall in buyer traffic compared to this time last year.
On the upside, though, the decline in home showings is another indicator that the housing market may be moving toward re-balancing, as inventory improves and competition for homes eases. So, what can you do to attract more buyers and make your next open house stand out from the pack?
Get the most out of the open houses you host with these top suggestions from our own real estate agents here at Offerpad.
Do your research
Serious prospects will come with questions, so be prepared. Do your research beforehand so you can answer (truthfully!) common questions like:
- How much does the seller usually pay in monthly utilities?
- Are there contingencies the seller will or won’t accept?
- How is the neighborhood rated for schools? Crime?
- When were the home’s systems last updated?
- When was the roof last replaced?
Start advertising a week ahead
Most home buyers find open houses by searching ‘open houses near me’ online, so meet them where they’re at. Start advertising a week ahead using FB Stories and IG Reels. Set up a Facebook Event page to create buzz. Make your open house stand out with a video invite. Take them on a virtual walk-thru of the home. Your goal is to create excitement but be authentic. Mention a few ‘surprises’ they’ll find when they come see the home in person. (Don’t actually reveal them in your videos, though.)
Host a preview for the neighbors. Use door hangers to invite them to a special neighbors-only showing at a time before the public open house starts.
Make sure they can find you
Signage is key, so have plenty made. Put them out early (and don’t forget to pick them up after the open house). Make sure they:
- Say “open house” so people know you’re holding an event, not simply advertising a home for sale.
- Show the start and end time, e.g., 1-4 p.m., as well as your name, logo and website.
- Include directional arrows. Place signs at major intersections and along roads in communities where it’s easy to get lost. Do a test drive to make sure they’re pointing in the right direction and people can easily find the home.
To make your open house stand out in a neighborhood with more than one, attach balloons to an A-frame sign or set up a “waving man” inflatable air tube dancer or feather flag sign to attract attention. Don’t be afraid to be creative!
Make them feel like they already own the place
Roll out a red carpet. Literally (or Offerpad orange if you’re like us 😉). Have plenty of marketing fliers/brochures on the home available, along with your business cards.
Make up some entertaining and informative DIY 8X11 easel signs for key rooms to help buyers ‘see’ themselves living there. For example, in a bathroom, have a little fun with a sign asking how much toilet paper does the average person use?2 In the kitchen you could have a sign with a quick recipe to cook up “in your new kitchen.”
Speaking of food, plan a menu. Try something different than your standby cookies or baked goods. Tap into the season’s or locale’s favorite foods to make a great first impression. Have bottled waters on hand. Set out simple snacks like crackers, nuts, even cheese cubes in small, individual cups for those who prefer not to pick something up off a family-size platter. Need more ideas? Try these 12 Delicious Open House Food Ideas That’ll Get You Clients.
Other ways to make your open house stand out so potential buyers feel like homeowners:
- Open all the curtains to let in natural light.
- Theme the open house. Tie it to holidays or to a major local event that’s taking place at the same time. Use the home itself as inspiration based on its unique architecture, location or décor.
- Play light, upbeat music in the background.
- Do a drawing for a home improvement or local décor store gift card or other prize.
- Place a scented candle on the counter or use a plug-in air freshener.
- Put a kid’s movie on the TV for families coming through. If it’s game day for a local team, have the game on in another room.
As real estate agents, we all know open houses don’t just attract potential home buyers. Check that your seller has secured all valuables. If they have a video security system, turn it on. Be sure all attendees register with their name and contact info before allowing them to tour the home. For larger properties in particular, have an associate co-host with you so someone can be in other areas of the home while you’re greeting guests.
Limit the number of people you have touring at one time. As needed, ask guests to wait outside (be sure some seating is available) until others are finished going through. Seeing a line outside also helps create a sense of demand and excitement about the home (and possible multiple-offer scenarios 😉).
Don’t forget to follow up
Getting offers for your seller is always the goal, but most open houses don’t sell houses – you do! So be sure to get your follow-up emails out as soon after the event as possible. Personalize and send per the needs of the leads you generated.
Have clients that want to skip open houses and showings altogether? We can help with that, too. Just click here to get them a competitive cash offer with the ability to pick their own closing date and a free local move.
1June 2022 Showing Index Results: Buyer Demand Cools as Showings Decline from Record-Breaking Highs – ShowingTime
2(Ans: Kids – 3 squares if going #1; 4 squares if going #2. Adults – 4 squares if going #1; 5 squares if going #2.) How Much Toilet Paper Should You Use? View Our Handy TP Guide! hip2save.com/tips/how-much-toilet-paper-to-use-guide/