More than 5.3 million homes were sold in the USA in 2018. That’s a steep climb from the 4.12 million sold in 2008 when America went crazy, and the market crashed.
Before these homes were sold, agents, realtors, and brokerage firms were all jockeying for position to bag their ideal client and make them sign on the dotted line. It’s a lot of hard work considering that there are more than 86,000 brokerage firms in the country and roughly two million real estate agents. Fairly common in a realtor’s methods of highlighting the property that they are selling is to hold an open house. If you’re new to the real estate world and you’re preparing for your first open house, the following discussion will be useful.
What’s an Open House Anyway?
Whether it’s small farmland with a house for sale in Sta. Clara, California, or a small home in Lakeside in Melbourne, realtors employ the concept of “open house” for a more visual buying experience.
An open house allows potential buyers to view or tour the home based on a specific period. Prospective buyers can contact realtors and schedule a viewing. Outside there is also a marker that indicates that an “open house” is on-going, so potential walk-in buyers can also come in.
Hosting a Successful Open House
You’ve seen it on reality TV shows. A sign is placed on the front yard that says, “Open House.” Next scenes, the realtor/actor is giving a tour of the home and explaining the different features. Running an open house isn’t as straight forward as TV shows make them be.
- Inform people. “If you build it, they will come.” That was the whisper heard by Kevin Costner’s character in the 1989 film Field of Dreams. Well, in an open house scenario, “if you announce it, they might come!” Inform people that you’re going to have an open house. Send out emails and tap into your social media presence. Put up posters and distribute flyers. It’s not a successful open house if no one comes.
- Dress up the place. Prepare the house so that it’s 100% ready for an open house. Some realtors work with staging experts to create a temporary design for the home so that potential buyers will get a feel and an idea of how a living room or a bedroom would look like. Clean any clutter from the surrounding area, including parked vehicles. Play music and serve food to create a warm and welcoming ambiance.
- It’s still about business. Get the paperwork out—a page with photos providing details of the property, e.g., square footage, number of rooms, etc. Highlight in the document the unique features of the home, including how it is situated in the community, particularly its proximity to schools, churches, or shopping areas.
- The right interaction. If you’re too quiet and passive, then buyers might get turned off. You’re too hard to sell and overbearing, they also might get turned off. Make your interaction calculated. Take them to the room they wish to see, smile, and utter some words to describe the place. Provide explanations if you feel that they need clarifications. Tell them that you have the papers with you for them to sign.
Some realtors aren’t a fan of open houses because they say this does not help sell homes. While that is the expected outcome primarily, open houses are also an excellent way to maintain your potential list of clients. You should at least give it a go for the first time.