It’s a sunny and mild Sunday afternoon and you would much rather be addressing a ball on the green than holding an open house for your clients. Yet, holding an open house has many benefits and success will depend on the preparedness of you and your clients.
Following are a few tips on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of open houses. If all goes well, you may still have time to hit the golf course.
Why an open house?
One of several methods to market a property, open houses are routinely scheduled on weekends to maximize market exposure.
The open house is an effective marketing tool because it:
- provides additional exposure to potential buyers
- provides easier access to a cooperating brokerage to show a property (i.e., no appointments required)
- helps in building a portfolio of potential buyers (increase your client base)
- demonstrates to sellers that the best efforts are being made to market and sell their property
Preparing the Sellers
Before agreeing to conduct an open house, ensure the clients understand what to expect and what you will provide. Discuss both the opportunities and risks involved.
Set out the responsibilities – yours and theirs. This should include a discussion on protecting personal and valuable property, and locking up/closing the house following the open house if the owners are not on the premises.
Before the Open House
Once clients have a clear understanding of what to expect, your next step will be to attract potential buyers on the day of the open house.
A marketing strategy to attract traffic may include:
- contacting other brokerages
- classified ads/flyers
- advising neighbours
- directional signs (on the day of the open house)
- social media
Preparing the House
It is no secret that a well-kept property, inside and outside, will attract more potential buyers.
Make sure the home is spotless, especially the kitchen and bathroom. This includes the basics, such as dusting and sweeping, as well as the not-so-obvious, such as the oven and the top of the fridge. If necessary, ask clients to steam-clean the carpets, and dry-clean or wash the drapes.
Remove the clutter. An overstuffed home seems smaller and is also more difficult to navigate as potential buyers tour the premises. If possible, excess belongings should be moved off site or placed where they will not be obtrusive to potential buyers.
Image is important. Revive the interior with a fresh coat of paint in a light, neutral colour. Repair ripped wallpaper and broken fixtures. Clean the windows, which will brighten up the room.
Remove personal items, such as family photos. Make the house as neutral as possible so potential buyers can envision themselves in their new home.
Ensure valuable items, such as jewellery and credits cards are in a secure place. Also secure medication and other items that are easily pocketed.
If there is a pet, such as a dog, ensure the pet is safely secured or off the premises during the open house.
Do not forget curb appeal. The house’s exterior will be the first impression for potential buyers. Make any necessary exterior improvements. Start with a scrubbed front porch and a mowed lawn.
During the Open House
It’s Sunday afternoon and you are ready for the open house.
For security reasons, ask all visitors to sign in. OREA Standard Form 270: Open House Guest Registration is designed for such purposes, and covers any issue relating to privacy. This form is available in the member’s section of the OREA website.
Ask potential buyers if they have a buyer representation agreement with another REALTOR®. This question is found on Form 270.
Provide an accurate and up-to-date feature sheet about the property. This is a take-away marketing piece highlighting the property’s best features and includes your name and contact information.
When the open house is over, check each room of the house carefully to ensure it is in the same condition as before the event. And, be sure you lock the doors.
Thank the owners for allowing the open house and provide them with immediate feedback.
What have been your experiences with open houses?