Open houses don’t work.
I’ve heard agents say this more times than I can count. Yes, there are certain parts of the country that don’t hold open houses. But, for the rest of us, do you know what it means to hold a successful open house? Buyers are looking for them and stopping by. How do you make sure they come to see yours?
1) Market your open house for two weeks
Preparing for a successful open house starts well before you stick the directional signs in the ground. Treat it like a grand event and send out invitations using every tool you can. My go-to tools are
- Facebook Pages for listings – I set up a Facebook page (not just an event) for each listing, with photos, directions, floor plans, and a short teaser video shot in front of the home. Then, I link to it from my own business page, asking my readers to share the information with anyone they know who might be interested.
- Online open house calendars – I add the open house information to Trulia’s free Open House Calendar and also within my own multiple listing service (MLS).
- My Blog – I share open houses on my blog with a “Where is Heather this Sunday” spin. This has brought both future and past clients by to visit as well (which is a great chance to get a few recommendations).
- Online Ads – Remember when our only option was to advertise in our local newspapers? Now, you can spend less and run a highly targeted ad with Trulia or Facebook.
Both are great for targeting specific zip codes or areas, but I’d recommend using them differently. Trulia’s Local Ads are better for longer term (3 to 6 months) promotion of your listings and open houses. Facebook ads are better for a short-term campaign to get the word out.
For example, on the three days prior to your open, run an ad with the date and time of the open, linking to the Facebook page for the listing.With both, you will spend less than a newspaper ad and the geographic targeting will deliver it straight to your intended consumer.
2) Invite the neighbors
Yes, you read that correctly. A week before the open house, hand-deliver invitations to the neighbors and encourage them to share the information with friends that might be interested.
Neighbors can be a fantastic source of potential buyers, and giving them permission to attend your open means they won’t pretend to be buyers when they get there. Let them look around and tell you about the neighborhood; they are a wealth of information and a great source of help. And if they bring friends with them, even better.
If you don’t have the time to hand-deliver the invites, mail them. Personalize them by handwriting the addresses rather than using mailing labels. More consumers will open a handwritten envelope.
3) Keep marketing the open house during and afterwards
In addition to using plenty of directional signs, playing soft music, offering cookies, and opening all the curtains, now there are many other ways to keep inviting people long after the open house has started.
Use Twitter and Facebook to share that you are there and invite people to come say hello. Check in publicly using Trulia’s new listing check-in feature or Foursquare, with a photo.
I’ve seen agents maintain a stream of updates on Twitter and/or their Facebook business page to share how the open is going and raise awareness about their listing, too. Once you’ve finished your open house, share a short wrap-up video from the front walk on the listing’s Facebook page. Then, set the date and start promoting the next open house.
These are some starter tips for creating a buzz and traffic for your open house that can work anywhere. Of course, every market is different. What’s working in your market? Is there anything you’d add to this list?