Do Open Houses Work?

    I get asked this question a lot. “Do open houses work? My Realtor says they are a waste of time.” The answer is simple. They do work. It’s just they take time, resources and planning to do them right.

    Brokers spend thousands of dollars to attract, capture and retain Internet leads. Most brokers will honestly acknowledge the quality of these leads tends to be low across the total number of unique leads. In late 2011, the Harvard Business Review talked about three major advantages that face-to-face communication has over email and texting.

    1. It is hard to get the EQ (emotional intelligence) right in email.
    2. Email and text often promote reactive responses.
    3. Email prolongs debate.

    Email and social networking modes of communications have created a generation of casually convenient new connections, and even helped us deepen existing relationships, but they can rarely replace the real world.” – Anthony Tjan

    Now for the numbers, our last Open House Blitz produced over 300 unique prospects in just over 40 open houses. That’s over 300 face-to-face interactions with home buyers in one afternoon. I don’t think every broker’s website in Gainesville combined generates half of that in one day.

    Admittedly, open houses need to be done right and some specific houses aren’t best suited for this type of showing.

    What makes a good candidate for an open house? Being close to a major road or two is great because you can get directional signs out and capture drive by traffic. Homes that show well and trendy neighborhoods or locations always preform well for open houses.

    What should the Realtor do? The Realtor emails or mails their database inviting and asking their database to invite anyone they know in the market for a home or Realtor. The Realtor should have information on comparable properties readily available for buyers. Some type of sign in sheet is important as well. Not only to collect contact information for follow up, but also as a security measure for a sellers home and personal items.

    To summarize, there are Three Key Points to a great open house:

    1. Location
    2. Promotion
    3. Signage

    Bonus three. These aren’t necessary but will increase the effectiveness of an open house.

    1. Realtor door knocks the day before
    2. Broker event advertising support (Print ads, radio, web banner ads, etc)
    3. Post the open house multiple times on Craigslist. (As a requirement, the open house should already be posted on the Broker webpage, the MLS, Realtor.com, Zillow.com and Trulia.com)

    According to the National Association of Realtors just under half of all home buyers visited an open house before they bought. This is a great opportunity for a seller to get exposure to buyers and of course a great opportunity for Realtors to meet buyers who aren’t represented by a Realtor. When you hear about everyone being on the Internet remember this, over sixty percent of buyers searching the Internet used it to find an open house.

    Let’s dispel a few myths:

    “Open houses never sell the property.”

    Home in the Quarries

    False. This home in the Quarries, pictured above, was listed because of our Open House Blitz and sold on our last Bosshardt Blitz.

    “Realtors only do open houses to get buyers.”

    Somewhat true. What’s important to think about is my earlier point about picking a good open house. At a good open house a Realtor can generate buyers for your property. Sellers often ask at the listing presentation “What do you do to get buyers?”

    “The only people that come to open houses are nosy neighbors and unqualified buyers”

    I’ve heard this before. I think it makes sense that every neighbor knows about your home and is excited to mention it to their network. Someone at their job or in their family might be the buyer of your home.

    As far as qualifying a buyer, at our Open House Blitz we have lenders on call to qualify a prospect. But here is a little secret, a good lender is always a call.

    Bottom line is that open houses work. Events like the Bosshardt Blitz, where we invest thousands of dollars into marketing, only amplify the affects. Open houses allow you to show off your property and get face-to-face interaction with real consumers.

    Still not convinced? Read this NAR article from Realtors that have built their business on open houses.

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