Open houses should be on top of every realtor’s to-do list as they are a tremendous lead-generating strategy. They are the best way to showcase properties without appearing too pushy or desperate. If done the right way, open houses can leave a great impression on current and potential homebuyers and get vital email addresses and phone numbers for real estate agents. However, every realtor would agree with the fact that these events can drive them into a frenzy. They require brainstorming prior to the event and systematic execution while juggling many other tasks. To make the process easier, we have gathered 10 tips to make open houses a cakewalk for all the hardworking agents out there.
- Choose The Right Listing
The listing should be the star of the event. If the product you are marketing is not up to the mark, then no promotion can sell it. Search for houses located in prominent areas. New listings are always more sought after than ones that have been in the market for a while. Reasonably priced houses tend to generate more leads, so look for ones below the average home prices in the area. Also, make sure the place is neat and tidy on the day of the open house.
- Strategize a Social Media Plan
It is ideal to send out three posts about the open house across your social media channels. One to announce the event, the second to remind your audience (ideally the day before the event), and the final one on the D-day to give a sneak-peak. Ensure you share relevant information, i.e., the date and venue, and drop a bait to attract people to attend the event. It can either be a special guest you are inviting or an exciting giveaway at the end! Create a Facebook page for the event and keep a count-down on Instagram. Social media ads are a great way to reach your target audience. Also, don’t forget to update your social media stories regularly.
Here is an example of a Facebook event. The page shows how many people are interested and attending, and also the ticket prices. To create an event page, follow these steps:
- Click Events from the left menu of the news feed.
- Click + Create New Event.
- Choose your type of event. It can either be public/ private and online/ in person.
- Fill in the details,i.e., name, date, location, time, and event description.
- Select keywords to be recommended to interested people (example, fashion event).
- Click Create. Your event page will be ready. Invite people, add photos, and start posting.
This is an example of an Instagram story. Stories on Instagram are extremely popular and are used by 500 million people every day. To create a story:
- Click on + at the top left corner of the screen.
- Click a picture using Instagram’s camera or choose one from your gallery. You can also use Canva to create an attractive image.
- Insert any extra feature you want to add, such as text, location, music stickers, etc., by swiping up.
- Click on Your Story at the bottom left to publish the story.
- Create an Effective Email Campaign
Being a real estate agent, you must have gathered a database of prospective clients over the years. The open house is the best time to put all that data to good use. Create an email campaign that includes one email to announce the event a few days prior to D day, another to give a sneak-peak into the property a day or two before, and a reminder email on the big day. Don’t miss out on adding relevant information such as the event date and venue, and contact information. To make sure your email gets opened, write a catchy email subject line. HTML emails are preferred by nearly 70% of email users. They are colorful, attractive, and much more engaging than plain text. Mailchimp is a popular email marketing service provider as they offer a free plan. Its features include an easy drag and drop email builder, auto-responders, and an effective analytics tool.
Here is an example of an email invite from Havenly. We love the neat design and engaging copy of this one. The email furnishes all details concisely and even leaves a bait in the form of an exciting raffle prize that can pull in attendees.
Customers love hearing from you. 49% of consumers say they love receiving emails from their favorite brands regularly. However, most of these emails end up in the spam box. Here’s how you can ensure your emails get opened:
- Get permission to email. Get people to subscribe to emails on your website/blog. Collecting email addresses instead of buying them will be worth the hard work in the long run.
- Get a trustworthy ESP: Use a reliable email service provider because they are constantly monitored to avoid spammers.
- Don’t send too many emails: Almost 46% of users said “getting too many emails” was the reason they marked as spam.
- Plan Ahead
Prepare a checklist ahead of the event to ensure you don’t miss out on crucial details. Print flyers to distribute in the area, put up a sign outside the venue with the event date and time, and go around the neighborhood distributing door hangers. Partner with a local cafe for exciting food & drinks to be served to your guests. You can even invite a local lifestyle/ home decor store to display their products at the venue. This will make your event even more engaging while giving the vendor good advertising. Also, the vendor could in turn attract their loyal audience base to the event making it a mutually beneficial arrangement.
- Invite Neighbors
Inviting neighbors for open houses may seem futile as they won’t be directly interested in the property, but it has several hidden benefits. They can answer the guests’ detailed questions about the neighborhood, suggest the best schools, eateries, and entertainment hubs. They will also fill up the guest list if you run short of attendees. If the neighbors get impressed by your realtor skills, you will be the first agent they will think of when they require one. Who knows, they might even refer homebuyers in their circle to you. Keep aside a few hours before the day of the event to personally go door-knocking to invite the neighbors. There will be a higher probability of them attending the event with personal invitations. If you are running short of time, sending postcards or even voice mails will do the job. Having a separate showing time especially reserved for neighbors will make them more at ease.
- Stage the House
Would anyone be interested in an empty, worn-down house? No, right? That is why the property needs to be staged before the open house. Sit down and talk to your seller about the importance of doing so. If they have any existing furniture that can be used, then it’s great. Otherwise, consider hiring a professional home stager to decorate and beautify the house. Painting the walls, trimming the grass, and adorning the home in a clean and minimalistic fashion will impress the guests and help them visualize themselves living in the house. If you are unable to convince the seller to stage the house, opt for virtual staging from Styldod and display the images at the open house. Read on to find out more about virtual staging.
- Prepare an Open House Script
It’s good to prepare what to say and map out the event beforehand to make your guests feel comfortable. Start by greeting them and asking them how they are doing. While showing the house, deliver exciting facts and stories about the place you must have gathered from the owners. If neighbors are present, ask them to share why they like living in the area. Be prepared to answer questions like ‘why is the seller selling?’, ‘have there been any renovations recently?’ and ‘how much are the utilities?’
- Host a Raffle
The whole point of conducting open houses is to get leads that convert into buyers. To ensure that happens, you need to gather data from the guests. Getting them to sign up is the only way to collect valuable information like Email IDs and phone numbers. You can ask your guests to sign directly, but it puts you at the risk of coming across as pushy and desperate. A softer way to get it done is by holding a raffle. Promise the guests that the contest winners will get a home decor voucher, a cookbook, or home appliances as a prize. This will motivate them to sign up.
- Distribute Information Booklets
Do not bid farewell to your guests without distributing information booklets containing essential property details. It is best to give these out at the end of the event so that it doesn’t become a burden to carry around for the visitors. Include the property’s highlights, i.e., square foot, number of rooms, floorplan, pet policies, neighborhood highlights, mortgage details, and most importantly, your contact information. This booklet will help the visitors process the whole experience of the open house and come to a final decision regarding the same.
- Bid Adieu with Goody Bags
What better way to say thank you to your guests than with dainty little goodie bags? Put together an ensemble kit with products sourced from local shops. Partnering with small businesses will help you spotlight the distinctive features of the locality. This will be a win-win for all parties involved in terms of advertisement and reach. Encompass branded knick-knacks such as pens, notepads, and other everyday objects, so that people remember the realtor in you every time these items are used.
Virtual Open House in the Time of Covid
Virtual open houses have increasingly become popular after the Covid pandemic struck in 2020. With the help of technology, they are continuing to be used in 2021 as well. Here are some tips to ensure you successfully conduct a virtual open house:
- Pick a platform to conduct the virtual event. While Instagram and Facebook live have a greater reach, a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Google Meet will be more interactive and dependable.
- Virtual tours are easier on your pocket too as they help save up on refreshments and other miscellaneous expenses. But, keep aside a small budget for Facebook and Instagram ads to reach your target audience.
- Ensure that participants register, providing email addresses before the session. Collecting email addresses will help you keep track of the number of participants. You can even offer a virtual giveaway such as a gift voucher to drive more registrations.
- After the event, follow up with participants through a thank you email. Enclose a digital information booklet too to convert leads into business.
- Make use of virtual staging to give your audience an immersive experience. Virtual staging can enhance the property by staging it digitally. A virtually staged house helps the audience visualize themselves living in the home and has helped 68% of homes to sell for 9% more money.
- You can use 360° virtual tours too to bring your property to life. These are videos showcasing every nook and corner of the listing so that the prospective buyers get the feel of seeing the home in person. 45% of millennial homebuyers make an offer on a listing sight unseen. This is reason enough for sellers to use them.
Styldod is a virtual staging, interior design, and photo editing platform that helps sell homes quickly at top dollar. Having a satisfied customer base of over 2000 clients, including top realtor estate companies such as RE/MAX and Sotheby’s, our services start at $16/ image, which is 70% lower than the market. We use technology combined with human resources to bring you efficient, low-cost virtual staging services and have witnessed staged homes being sold 73% faster than unstaged ones. Our other services include 360° virtual tours, 3D rendering, and property websites.
Open houses should ideally be conducted at least once every month. However, no matter how smashing the event is, if you don’t collect email addresses and follow up with the guests, the leads you generated cannot be converted into business. Hence, make an effort to contact the attendees individually after the event and keep sending them emails regularly. By following the tips mentioned above, you can conduct terrific open houses that can amplify you as the go-to realtor in your area.