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"Open houses are a waste of time," some agents will say.
Others will say, "I've never cold-called or door knocked; just have open houses every week.."
So why do some Realtors find Open Houses as an effective means of prospecting and others don't? Well of course everyone runs their businesses differently. And it can be difficult to be a good agent.
I'm gonna lay out how to take advantage of open houses and the mentality one must have to do them regularly and at times with little to no turnout..
1) Start Marketing.
The moment you know you're hosting an open house is when you'll want to start marketing the property. Let your database know the day & time you'll be hosting it open to the public. Start by inputting the open house directly into the listing itself on the MLS in your area. This will syndicate the open house dates across the mainstream consumer websites, like Zillow, Redfin, and so on.
This step is important to take care of immediately because a majority of the time, the buyers who show up to view a property will say they found it online through one of those sites. Beyond that, also set yourself up with a video announcing on social media your open house. Plug it in online across different facebook groups and real estate ones. Plan ahead to set up your signs far enough and focused enough to really help drive traffic to the property. Before you set up the signs though you're gonna door knock..
Effective open houses take advantage of multiple forms of prospecting and follow ups.
Connect with your local title rep and see about having a voicemail you record sent out to the entire neighborhood the morning of the event as an announcement and invitation.
Now go to the next level; go to their front doors.
2) Go Door knocking.
Bring a lender with you. Before you decide on which lender to host with, have them set you up with a co-branded financing sheet. These flyers will go over the money needed to purchase the home. As a realtor it's good to familiarize yourself with these for when you talk to prospective clients. Now before the start time of your open house approaches, allocate enough time to set up signs for people driving to see. Go out and let the neighbors know. If you're intimidated by the door to door approach in the real estate business, don't overthink it. Take a decent stack of business cards with you and tell yourself that you're not done until you get rid of all of those. Introduce yourself to the neighbors and let them know you're working in the area and soon they'll start recognizing you. Some people won't answer some will but remember that you're doing the task necessary to grow your real estate business in a challenging market. Don't pressure the locals in the area, but let them know that the hour before the open house is when the neighbors are stopping by and they're more than welcome to stop by then or during the open house.
3) Start Hosting.
Now that you've done your part in marketing the property all the way until the start time, make the most of your time at the property. When you have slower moments, make a video showcasing the property for social media. Talk on camera and let your followers get a feel for your voice and your personality--you're selling yourself before anything else. So what if you do all this marketing and still find that not a whole lot of people are coming to view the home? That's okay and at some point you will have open houses with little to no turnout especially in the current market in Southern California. Don't look at it as a waste of time; it's a great use of time if you allow it to be. You wouldn't go to your office and say it was a failure because no buyers or sellers walked in to have you list their home or find them a property. Treat an open house like you're at the office. Work on the many things we work on as real estate agents. Call FSBOS or Expireds or follow up with clients. Go live on social media for your followers. Edit your website. Check out the MLS. There is always something we can be doing in this business. Now what if you're having an amazing turnout?
4) Sign them in.
So hopefully when your Title rep was helping you market the Open House, they set you up with a guest registry form which asks those viewing the home to sign in. The main things you need above all else is Name, Phone number, and Email. These are key to your follow ups. Some people will be hesitant about signing in. If they are tell them your broker requires all parties who view the home to sign in before doing so for safety purposes and to track the progress of the listing. Guest registries can be great sometimes because they have questions to ask those viewing the property if they're looking to buy, sell, if they're working with an agent and so on. So always have some ready to go especially for older people who aren't tech-savy. There is a downside to sign in sheets though. Some people either intentionally or just by chance of the their terrible handwriting will leave you wondering what they put on the sheet. For that reason, I tend to use an iPad with an open house app for guests to sign in. It instantly puts their contact info into my CRM and allows for automated follow ups and check ins which skips the step of deciphering what the handwriting on the sign in sheet says when I try to input it into my system. Be careful about automated follow ups though because they can be bothersome to potential clients if it sends to many alerts and obviously automated responses. Don't scare them away.
5) Let them look.
So do you walk guests around the home like they do in the movies? Do you let them do their own thing? It depends, but definitely don't walk into a room with your back to anyone. Be careful. Feel out each situation. See if they're old school and want you to give them a proper walk through. Otherwise after they sign in stay at the kitchen or dining room table. Let them feel comfortable walking around the home while you and your lender hang back. That being said try to have a conversation when the opportunity arises like when they walk in. Introduce yourself confidently and talk to one group at a time with a focus on selling that house. See if they have an agent. Toward the end once they come back ask them what they honestly think--if they see themselves living there or what they love or dislike. And as bold as it may seem now, ask them straight up if they'd be interested in making an offer on the property. This will allow you to know where they stand more realistically. It will create an interesting conversation or a very short one, but either way learn as much as you can about the potential clients and act as a resource referencing the listing details and if you planned ahead you'll know a lot about the neighborhood and that market.
6) Time to Follow up.
As soon as the open house concludes, go outside with your phone in front of the property and go straight down the sign in sheet. You're going to make brief personalized videos that sound like this for each guest;
"Hey Sarah, Ethan Poulos here with eXp Realty. Thanks so much for stopping by my open house today on Main St. in Redlands, CA. If you had any other questions about that property that I didn't get to cover or any other properties in the area you can reach me directly here. Thanks again and have a great rest of your day."
Once you record that, send it as a text. You're chance of them responding will be way better with you on camera.
The next day follow up with some phone calls. Find out the best way to communicate with each lead and which ones to ditch. It's a numbers game all about volume and filtering out the serious from the non serious. Below I'm including some tools that have helped me with my open houses. Best of luck and let open houses serve your business well!
The DJI phone gimbal will help you make better video with your iphone. The iPad will help with sign-ins and follow ups and all Realtors should have a big open house flag!