People are busy. Even those who are actively looking to buy a house or want to learn about the market for a future purpose have busy schedules. But with bit of added time, creativity and investment in making open house into destinations, you’ll see greater turnout. And we all know that greater turnout increases the likelihood of offers.
There are several creative ways to hold an open house with a mindset of hospitality and with the goal of providing something of value to each person who attends.
The neighbors-only open house – Some agents embrace the “nosy neighbor” concept as a benefit, not an eye-rolling challenge. With his client’s permission, Wesley Peters, a Keller Williams broker in the Baltimore Metro Area, often gets the neighbors together before a home hits the market. “We invite other brokers, too, but we include as many neighbors as we can,” he says, explaining that he schedules these events for a Thursday or Friday evening, happy hour-style, rather than midday on a Sunday. They get a better turnout at 5:00 pm than midday on a weekend when the neighbors are busy with their lives. In a relaxed setting, conversations flow, neighbors can mingle and catch up, and the buzz begins before the home is listed. In advance, prepare invitations and hand-deliver them to homes on the streets you and your client agree are best to include. The destination is the event; the value each attendee receives is the social interaction and the removal of any awkwardness over visiting their neighbor’s house. Your client’s benefit is the buzz.
A turnkey block party any time of year – Once a property is listed, some agents take on the role of party planners. Certain streets or neighborhoods, they find, are perfect for low-key social occasions. In some place, such as neighborhoods with many young families, a bounce-house or games may even ramp up the fun factor. But the idea of a seemingly spontaneous block party during an open house can be easy to pull off, whether you’re serving lemonade and cookies or coffee and pastries. The chance to meet prospective neighbors turns the event into a destination for both buyers and the neighbors; the value comes in buyers’ ability to see how the neighbors interact. Your seller’s benefit is that the grapevine will be filled with happy stories about their home. Tips: By keeping basic supplies in storage, you’ll be ready for a pop-up block party any time. Promote this type of event with targeted social media marketing and fliers or postcards to communities within a short distance of your listing.
Invite other professionals – It’s common mortgage lenders to attend open houses. But why not provide even more value to people who attend? Chances are, you have more than a handful of professional partners who welcome an opportunity to join you at your open house. Consider inviting an interior designer, a contractor, a gardener, even a gardener or a painter. Invite them to your broker’s open in advance or give them time to view the property before the open house begins. Then encourage them to stroll the property during the open house or to sit with you. When visitors ask about needs or concerns they may have about the house – such as loan questions, the cost of improvements or upgrades or even remodeling – you’ll be able to introduce them to an expert on the spot. For that matter, your invited pros don’t even necessarily have to be in home-related businesses! Prospective buyers always want to know about the community when visiting open houses. Consider inviting representatives of community organizations, like youth sports group or owners of mom-and-pop retailers to help your visitors get a feel for the neighborhood or town. For this type of open-house, prepare a flyer or card with your community contacts on it so visitors can leave with resources as well as information.
Open house should be about the buzz. They’re about creating a conversation about your listing and making the home memorable to visitors. By giving people a unique experience they won’t forget, you’ll show your sellers how creative you are in meeting their needs.