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Open house opportunities are great ways to find buyer prospects, potential listings, and sometimes they can help sell the house.
Many agents and sellers began to shy away from conducting open houses because too often it was really just a way for ‘agents to find buyers’. Times have changed, and the open house environment is likely to continue to improve. Why?
Consumer behavior has dramatically changed over the last several years. More and more consumers are relying on technology in the early stages of their buying and selling process. Long before they reach out to an agent, they will begin their research on HAR.com, Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com. Whether it’s about buying or selling, the research most often begins online.
Because of that online research, more potential buyers and sellers that are in the earliest stages, are finding their way to the well publicized open house. It’s a GREAT opportunity to earn new business.
Finding The Open House
If you don’t have a listing, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have opportunities to hold open houses. Thankfully, you work in an office with a rich pool of listings. Take the initiative, do the research, and ask the agent if you can hold their listing open.
How do you find the listings and the agent contact information?
Log into HAR and the Matrix MLS system. On the initial screen, the Dashboard, you will see a link that pulls all of the listings for our office.
When you click that link it will take you to a list of all of the listings. You may scroll through them individually, but you might find it easier to isolate the geographic areas you are most familiar with by viewing them on a map rather than in a list. To do that, click on the link at the top that says, ‘Click here to run as Full Search.’
You will then see an option to show a mapped version of the results.
All office listings will then be displayed on the map so that you can focus your efforts on geographies that you know particularly well.
It’s great to select properties in areas you know well, especially when you are new. You also don’t need to worry about selecting a property that has been on the market for a little bit. It will still be new to the buyers that are just beginning their search.
Higher price ranges may be appealing, but there is a much smaller buyer pool. Get into the bread and butter price points, and you will increase your odds of finding potential clients.
Preparing For A Level 10, Killer Open House
It’s important to take an active role in driving traffic and interest to your open house. Give yourself the week to prepare flyers, educate yourself about the neighborhood, advertise, and invite the neighbors (potential seller prospects). By taking the preparation seriously, you’re more likely to make the most of those open houses.
1. Advertising: One of the best ways to drive traffic to an open house, outside signage, is through the online portals which should include HAR.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor. If you are not the listing agent, please request that the listing agent make sure that the open house is added to those portals as early in the week as possible.
You might consider utilizing Facebook Advertising to drive some targeted traffic.
2. Educate Yourself: Preview the home. Preview other homes that are available in the neighborhood. Study the comparables in the immediate neighborhood. Why?
First, you want to feel confident when you are answering questions. Knowledge immediately gives you a self-assuredness that people pick up on, and it will inspire their confidence in you. If a neighbor comes in and can see that you know about the various properties available in the area, they may feel comfortable talking to you about the sale of their own home.
Second, get the house ready to show, is not only an empty house but little details can help you sell it, also make a call a pest control company to and get all the plagues that are in the property as you don’t want possible buyers to leave the offer just because of not desired animals. It is also about the level of service you are able to provide. You don’t have to know everything, but you do want to be able to competently answer questions about some basic market conditions, local shopping, schools, and neighborhood amenities.
3. Invite The Neighbors: The National Association of Realtors says that 6% of homebuyers came from friends, neighbors, or relatives. It is not unlikely that the neighbors may know of someone that is interested in buying in their neighborhood. As a matter of fact, you may find the renter that has been hoping to buy in that very neighborhood.
Any seasoned agent has more than a few stories of meeting the buyer through one of the neighbors, or certainly taking listings by meeting the neighbors in the open house.
Ideally, create a flyer that is an invitation to an open house (see ‘Create the Flyer’ below) and door knock 50 of the immediate neighbors. If they are not home, simply leave the flyer, but tucked under the corner of the mat. There’s nothing worse that seeing your flyers blowing into the streets. Litterbugs don’t make the best impression.
If they are home, simply let them know their neighbor at ‘123 Main Street’ is selling, and you are inviting them to take a look at the home. Consider the following dialogue:
Agent: Hi, I’m Linsey with Better Homes & Gardens Gary Greene. I wanted to share with you that your neighbor at 123 Main Street is selling. I wanted to stop by and invite you to the open house on Saturday from 1 to 4. (Hand them the flyer) Also, who do you know that might be interested in living in this neighborhood?
Homeowner: Not anyone that I can think of at the moment.
Agent: Do you mind if I ask … how long have you lived here?
Homeowner: Almost 3 years, I think.
Agent: Is there anything that you can share about what you most love about the neighborhood?
Homeowner: We love the schools. They’re great and they’re part of the reason we bought here. Now we just love the friendly neighbors.
Agent: Gosh, that’s great, and is actually really helpful for me to know for Saturday. Please come by if you have time. The yard/master bedroom/upgraded kitchen is amazing and worth seeing.
(Just before you turn to go…) Oh, by the way, would you like me to update you about the price once it closes? I know a lot is changing in the market and sometimes it’s nice to monitor value, even if you aren’t planning on selling right away.
There are lots of variations of door knocking scripts that work. Practice and find one that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
But, just like those new cowboy boots, the script won’t fit perfectly right away, but after wearing it around a bit, it will fit like a glove. It requires practice.
4. Create the Flyer: Good news! Gary Greene has made it incredibly easy to customize a flyer for the listing you are going to hold open. And yes, you can customize a flyer with your contact information for the open house, even when you are not the listing agent.
Select the flyer template that you would like to use. Then click ‘Next’.
Simply add the MLS number from the listing and make sure you name the flyer with the property address. The flyer will populate with the listing photos, the description, your agent information, and the property details.
Once you see a preview of the flyer, you can decide which pictures you’d like to keep, and which ones you’d prefer to change out. Any of the photos in the MLS listing can be used in the flyer. Simply right click on the image, and click on ‘Insert/Edit Image’.
You will then have an opportunity to replace an image from the MLS gallery of photos.
Once you are satisfied you can save and print. You will be able to access that same flyer in the future if you have the opportunity to hold that listing open again. It will be saved under Marketing in the Flyers section. You can edit, print, or email the flyer from there.
Conducting The Open House
There are several ways to hold an effective open house. To walk through various scripts for your first open houses, set an appointment with me. If you are finding that you’re struggling with making connection at the open house, let’s spend a few minutes chatting.
But, there is one thing that is important to know. People work with confident, warm people that listen. They work with people they like. Be that person, and that is half the battle.
There are two ways to capture the prospects contact information. You can use the form that I have used for years, or you can use Open Home Pro which is provided to you at no cost by Gary Greene.
The Sign-In Sheets
I don’t recommend using books in which people’s contact information is visible to others. For years, I have used some version of this sign-in sheet.
I keep these at the entry, and before I go to retrieve a copy of the flyer (which I intentionally keep in the kitchen … the furthest place from the front door), I say, “Would you be so kind as to fill this out so that my seller has an idea of the kind of traffic they have had through their home today?“
And folks will fill it out A) because they want to be ‘kind’ and B) because they can appreciate a seller’s desire to know what kind of results they had during the open house.
Couple Tips On Creating Conversation And Building Rapport
There are a couple things that I have learned interacting at an open house. People can be guarded, but when they find someone that seems knowledgeable, and someone that really listens, they often feel the kind of connection that makes them open up.
We’re Just Working From What We Find Online
Prospect: We’re just using online resources right now. We’re still just looking.
Tip: Don’t debate the value of the online resources. It easily can make them feel wrong, which creates an adversarial dialogue. There is a way to position this discussion so that you are aligned with their intention to find just the right property.
Agent: I completely can appreciate using those as a resource. It’s great that you have access to so much information! Based on what you have shared with me, I think I have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for. A unique property like that may come up and sell before it ever hits some of those online portals. If I found a home like that before it hit the market, would you want me to let you know about it? Great! Is this the best phone number for you?
Or something like this. . .
Are You Wondering If They Are Working With An Agent?
Asking that question, “Are you working with an agent?” can often sound self-serving.
Is there a commission in here for me, or is this conversation a waste of my time? That is how that question can sound to a guarded prospect. Not good.
Instead, consider saying, “Do you mind if I ask, how are you guys conducting your home search so far?”
If they are working with an agent, this often comes out at this point. “Our agent is sending us listings.”
If not, they will say they are relying on online search. And, bingo! You have the response for that above.
Get Coaching In This Area
Before you do your open house, meet with me or Ken. If you are struggling with conversion, let’s explore what is happening with the conversations in your open house. This can be a wonderful source of business, and when you invest the time, it’s important to make sure the results are there.
Follow Up For The Win
You have just sacrificed the better portion of your Saturday, or Sunday. You have spent hours preparing for your open house, making sure the house all the preparation and commodities like air condition which people can find at places like ProductExpert online. You have missed out on time with family, or friends to be in this spot. I know the precious value of your time.
Consider this … whether you have created one new contact or ten during the course of your open house, your workday should not be considered complete until you have followed up with every contact. To fail to do that, is to potentially have sacrificed that time in vain.
It’s easy to want to go home and chill with family … finally. Believe me, I get it. I’ve been there. But, by taking 30 minutes to an hour to send an email, set up an automated search, or follow up with a phone call, you are far more likely to convert one of those prospects into a client. That extra hour may be the very thing that makes all those preceding hours of work pay off.
Don’t forget, some of these prospects are in the early stage of their search. He who sticks with them and follows up persistently, and with understanding of their needs, wins.
There is one more important piece of follow-up that is critical to your success, and a professional courtesy.
Keep in mind, the seller has also made a sacrifice. Imagine that family with 3 kids under five that are trying to keep them entertained away from home for four hours. Imagine the nap that was given up … that blessed nap. Or, imagine the professional that just wants to relax at home after a week of travel or tedious hours at the office.
Very often these sellers are sacrificing, too in the hopes that someone might sell their home. They need to know what happened.
If it is not your listing, call or email the listing agent with a list of the people that came through the property, how they found the open house, any visitor feedback, and any potential interest. The contact information is yours, but this other information allows the listing agent to follow up with the seller. It allows them to show that marketing efforts are working, and driving potential buyer interest.
Make the listing agent look good by promptly sharing the open house results with them so that they can follow up with their seller. The listing agent will repay you by happily offering you future open house opportunities.