June 15, 2014

Real Estate Tips: Make your next open house more productive

Filed under: Real Estate — Chuck @ 8:55 am

Spring and summer are great seasons for hosting open houses at your real estate listings, but for many agents and brokers they don’t seem to generate enough quality business. The key is to strategize how to make each open house more productive, and to use it as an opportunity to generate new client leads for potential buyers and sellers. Here are some ideas to help make that happen as you prepare for you next open house.

Host a “Realtors Only” Open House
While open houses for the general public can be quite useful for attracting new clients, you cannot really control who walks through the door. Sometimes it’s a buyer interested in the home you have listed or a seller from down the street who wants to hire an enthusiastic Realtor. Then again, you may have a slow day that mostly attracts people who are window-shopping and aren’t quite ready to commit. But if you have an open house exclusively for other real estate professionals you are guaranteed to get people who are keenly interested in finding a hot property for their own serious buyers. That’s why holding that kind of open house is almost always a value-adding idea that is well worth the time and effort.

The best time to host one is on a day when other brokerage firms have their weekly sales meetings. Find out when that is, and then invite all of them to stop by your listing after the meeting. If you can offer free lunch that’s another surefire way to attract Realtors, and a good way to do that is to partner with a local sandwich shop that is also trying to attract new business. That kind of eatery will often be willing to cater the event at a very affordable cost – or even for free – in order to participate in your high-profile open house.

Invite a Lending Partner to Participate
For open houses open to the general public it’s actually a good idea to skip the food and drinks, because those only add to the cost of holding the event and don’t really attract more qualified leads. If the people in attendance (who may very well include playfully active children prone to accidents) spill something that stains the furniture that could accelerate your expenses considerably. But what can help you to make a sale and generate more potential clients is if you bring along a mortgage loan professional.

They can set up a desk at the kitchen table and advise people who attend the open house on their purchase finance options. That not only helps you to prequalify your buyers, but it also allows you to spend your time focusing on showing the home – rather than getting bogged-down answering mortgage questions. The lender who participates can also help out by splitting the cost of hosting the open house. It’s valuable to them, because they don’t have any listings for sale that can serve as a venue for interacting with the public. By giving them that marketing platform you’re doing them a big favor – so it’s a win-win for both of you.

Don’t Compete with Other Big Events
Keep in mind that just as location is everything in the real estate business, timing is everything when you are planning an event – which is what an open house really is. Study the local calendar ahead of time, for example, to ensure that you don’t have your open house on the same day that some other competing event like a neighborhood bike race or children’s carnival is going to be preoccupying people who are in your target market.

On the other hand, some events and attractions can help you get more people in the door. If you live in a tourist town, for instance, hosting the event at the beginning or end of a weekend when lots of out-of-towners are expected to flock into the city could provide you with a chance to meet lots of potential buyers who are considering making a move or doing a job transfer.

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