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Open Houses that Work

December 20, 2010

 

Loan Officer Keri Hoots

Loan Officer Keri Hoots

 

Are open houses still important?

Some argue that open houses are no longer necessary with the wealth of virtual tours and photos available on the web.  Even though internet photos of a property can capture the interest of potential buyers, it only takes them so far. Ultimately they want to see with their own eyes what they’ve viewed online. They want to ensure the photos match the reality.

 

The truth is that open houses, done the right way for the right properties, can be a strong marketing tool that can help you sell the home and expand your pool of potential clients.

 

Open House Location

Choose the right properties for which to hold open houses. That means they are conveniently located and in sought-after areas. A rural property, no matter how beautiful, will probably not attract as many visitors as an open house in a closer neighborhood. Focus your open house energy on homes that are best suited for higher traffic.

 

Vary the Hours

Traditional open house hours have been on Sunday afternoons. That still remains a good time to hold an open house, but consider offering an alternative time, too, like a Friday evening. It makes the home more available to more people who work at different times and may reach a different market segment.

 

Neighbors Get a Preview

Neighbors talk… to other neighbors, to friends, to schoolmate’s parents. You get the idea. Plus, many are dying to see the inside of a home they’ve lived near for years, but feel conspicuous when coming to its open house. So, invite them!  Open the house for an hour before the regular open house for an exclusive neighbors’ open house. It allows you to focus on true prospective buyers during the “real” open house and gives the neighbors a comfortable excuse to come over. Who knows whom they might tell about the home once they’ve seen it.

 

Marketing – old media and new media

Use every marketing tactic at your disposal to promote your open house. That means traditional methods such as flyers posted in neighborhood businesses, postcards in neighbors’ mailboxes, and classified ads in the local papers, if affordable. However, don’t forget new media. Make sure open house information is easy to find (one click) on your website.  Be sure to mention it on your Facebook and Twitter updates – you can position it as a way for people to see a home in a certain price range to get an idea of current market values. Be careful to balance sales and relationship in new media marketing.

 

Give something away

Advertise a drawing for a dinner certificate or gift card to a local store for those who come and sign in. This idea may seem like an expense when the winner is not likely to be the ultimate buyer of the home, but an open house is ultimately a numbers game. Your job is to advertise and drive people to come. Only then, can they turn into a: future buyer of the home, referral who tells others about the home or you, or a future client of yours.

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