How To Get The Most Out Of Your Open House

Woman handing keys to buyer

The new real estate landscape will require sellers to adjust to the needs of buyers. That said, is it time for real estate agents and investors to up their open house game with more exciting experiences? Or are open houses dead?

Long Live the Real Estate Open House!

Open houses have been declining in popularity for years. Some statistics claim that few real deals resulted from hosting real estate open houses. Many brokers have used this information to get out of holding open houses for clients. Now there is so much out of area buying, international real estate investing, and online home searches. Agents have more excuses not to host them.

2014 numbers from the National Association of Realtors suggest that many home sales come from open houses. Some millennials might argue that gimmicky open houses won’t do any more to get them to make an offer than Facebook posts do. But many investors, agents, and sellers are fooling themselves by only focusing on online home searches. Almost 100% of home searches begin online, and more than half via mobile devices. But are those browsing houses on the web any closer to actually buying a home than those visiting open houses?

It may be completely accurate that few of the visitors to your open house will buy the home. But you only need one buyer. And the conversion rates on open houses and showings may be higher than visits to real estate websites. Most suffer from shortsightedness, or failing to realize that every open house visitor is a real lead. They are already taking action and are investing themselves in the home search. They might not buy this home. They might not qualify for a mortgage today. They might not even buy for six or nine months. Yet, if treated well, and maximized, this is pure real estate lead gold. The vast majority of open house visitors will become buyers, sellers, and even real estate investors. Most will also have a trusted circle of at least 250 others who are potential clients too. With the right care, these visitors will market to hundreds of others for you, for free. They’ll even reach those you cannot.

4 Reasons Real Estate Pros Should Be Hosting Open Houses 260 Days a Year

Real estate investors and agents should be hosting open houses at least 5 days a week if they are in the game full-time. Here’s why:

  1. Open houses are a great way to get started in real estate, even if you don’t have your own inventory and listings.
  2. Sellers still want them, and happy seller clients mean more referrals.
  3. Being able to operate from anywhere. Open houses are a much better place to work than in the office or at home.
  4. Success relies on making new contacts each day, and open houses provide that opportunity.

So how do sellers and agents pack open houses, and maximize effectiveness?

7 Traditional Open House Tips:

  1. De-clutter homes
  2. Depersonalize houses
  3. Make them smell better with fresheners and fresh baked cookies
  4. Make sure all visitors sign in and leave their contact details
  5. Make sure the seller isn’t present to turn off prospective buyers
  6. Anchor open house signs so that the competition doesn’t steal them
  7. Use broker only opens as well as consumer open houses

4 Newer Open House Staples:

  1. Hosting themed open houses on special occasions like Easter and Valentine’s Day
  2. Live one day auctions
  3. Doubling open houses as charity fundraising functions
  4. Hosting virtual open houses online

10 Creative Open Houses Ideas for Entertaining Millennials:

Inman News suggests it may be time to up the game to attract and entertain the millennial buyers expected to move into the market. Those seeking more interesting and creative options might consider the following:

  1. Celebrity appearances and photo ops
  2. Airbnb style sleepovers to test drive the property and neighborhood
  3. Hiring a DJ
  4. Hosting a poetry night
  5. Art auctions
  6. Interactive open houses using augmented reality to allow visitors to engage different features
  7. Live screenings of films or sports events
  8. Networking events
  9. Startup competitions
  10. Investor pitch events

3 Keys to Higher Conversion Rates

For those in the real estate business to make money, open houses need to be more than just fun nights out. Three ways to get more real visitors in, and more real deals out of open houses are:

  1. Matching your activities to your ideal prospects’ tastes
  2. Get more people in with mobile marketing, push notifications, high quality personalized invitations
  3. Convert visitors into leads and ambassadors with follow up drip email and social campaigns