Anyone can hold an Open House, but not everyone can host a successful Open House.
I have heard the endless debates that Open House are old school, or that today the way to market is on the internet. I will not disagree that the internet is a powerful medium to get a home exposed to the market, conceding that the internet may have taken away from Open House traffic. However, there is still the intrinsic need to physically visit the home, and that is where a successful Open House could mean the difference between a “For Sale” sign and a “Sale Pending” sign.
It is estimated that over 90% of home buyers start their search on the web, but I know from experience that buyers still appreciate the opportunity to take a look at the home they found on-line to see the product first hand. They want to be taken beyond pictures or the virtual tours and into the fourth dimension where they can physically see and feel the attributes of the home, its layout, design, room dimensions and features that cannot be deciphered from the web.
The following are a few tips from my experience in selling real estate in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and surrounding areas).
Harness the Web
Since we already mentioned that most buyers start looking on-line, then we should promote the Open House where most prospective buyers are looking – on the web. Update the Multiple List Service (MLS) for the home as well as other sites where its details are listed (i.e.FMRealty.com, Realtor.com and other related search sites) with the date and time a week before the Open House event. It is interesting to see the increase in clicks to listings once an Open House has been promoted on line. Do an email blast to all your contacts inviting them to your Open House.
Signs, signs and more signs
First, check with your local sign ordinances for compliance guidelines for what you can or cannot do with signage, http://www.rrar.com/getfile.cfm/file/721. Every city and municipality have their own rules and regulations when it comes to signage. Make sure you have plenty of directional signs, utilizing every direction into the neighborhood and to the home. Signs will often attract curious passersby who may not be actively looking for a home, but who knows, this might be the perfect home for them or someone they know.
Nothing beats word of mouth marketing from knowledgeable neighbors.
Welcome the neighbors
Neighbors are very open about talking up their own neighborhood so you never know who they may know who might be interested in buying a home. Nothing beats word of mouth marketing from knowledgeable neighbors. Send postcards personally inviting them to the open house the week prior to the event.
Make sure the home is ready to show
It is up to both the REALTOR and the seller to do their part! Remove clutter, clean the home, wash windows, remove screens (to allow all natural light to radiate in), turn on all the lights, place fresh flowers throughout the home and add some soft music to set the ambiance.
Get more from your Open House
Have every visitor sign in with their name and contact information. You will want to do this for security purposes, but also so that you can send them a hand-written “Thank You” note for visiting the Open House. Provide a detailed packet that includes a property summary sheet and local market report with data on recent sales activity and selling prices.
Have your lender provide loan information that is specific to this home with different down payment options and monthly payments. Buyers typically make purchasing decisions based on what they can afford and not always on what something costs. Even after they have moved on they will remember the helpful information you gave them, making you more memorable as well as your Open House.
Oh, and don’t forget the light refreshments, after all what is an Open House without the smell of fresh baked cookies!
With the Fonville Morisey 2012 Open House event on April 29th, May 20th, and June 17th now is the time to start planning the perfect Open House!!