While it may be true that more and more buyers are searching for their homes online, 63 percent of sellers still host at least one open house as part of their sales strategy. In a 2016 survey of agents, brokers, and others, 70 percent of respondents sold a home due to a connection they made at an open house. With that said, hosting an open house is a great way to network and obtain leads.
To reach those online home shoppers, enter your open house information on MLS as early as possible. If you are doing anything unique or different at your open house be sure to enter that information as well. Also make sure to promote your open house on all of your social media channels. Video tours and live-streaming your event have become more and more popular and easier to accomplish now that several platforms are offering it. Live streaming is just one of the 2020 real estate trends to prepare for.
Don’t forget the signs! Clear, bright, informational, and directional signs are a must for your open house. Try to plan it at times that will be more convenient for your guests; lunch hours or after work hours on weekdays may be more beneficial to guests rather than always doing it on a Sunday afternoon. If there is another event going on in the community, such as a festival, plan your open house accordingly to capture that foot traffic as well.
1. Invite the Neighbors
One of the simplest, yet most effective open house ideas for realtors is to include the neighbors as they can be a great source for referrals. Even if they aren’t looking to sell their own home in the near future, they may have friends or family who are. Neighbors also like to know how well a home like their own might sell. They add to the conversation by contributing information about the neighborhood to prospective buyers.
Conversely, you could have a neighbor-only day, or session, when you just concentrate on them. This is a great way to keep you top of mind and also help the seller as well by showing others there is interest in the home. The neighbors can also help create interest for your open house by word of mouth.
The best way to invite the neighbors to your open house is personally. Knock on their doors and hand them an exclusive invitation to the open house. Leave a door hanger or flyer if they aren’t at home with all the information, including anything special you are doing.
2. Provide Food and Beverages
Another simple and effective open house idea is to provide something for your guests to nibble on while they tour the home. You want to give them a reason to hang around long enough to really get a feel for what you and the home have to offer. Finger foods that don’t leave a mess will be your best option, as you don’t want to spend your precious time tending to the food or cleaning up after your guests.
The standard has always been chocolate chip cookies, but for something more unique, this Toffee Brownies Recipe is a cinch to make. Or for a more savory flair, you could try something like these easy Chipotle Cheddar Avocado Rollups. As far as beverages, homemade refreshments will add something special to any open house.
You may have heard the old trick about baking cookies in the home to create a pleasant aroma for guests. However, studies have shown that these types of scents could actually distract potential home buyers from the tour and make your sales pitch less effective. For an inviting aroma without the distraction, try things like pine, lemon, cedar, or vanilla.
3. Engage All Potential Buyers
Greet each guest cordially as they arrive. Make sure you get them all to sign in (using a tablet is best). This way, it will be easier for guests to leave their contact information if there is a gift or prize on the line as discussed below. Ask questions that will tell you where they are in the home buying process. Also be prepared to answer any questions there may be about the home and neighborhood. It’s always beneficial to educate yourself on the features of your home that are unique or otherwise distinguishable from other homes in the area.
Make sure you’ve done your homework about the local area. Know important and interesting information about the neighborhood and surrounding area including schools, entertainment and other comparable homes that are available.
4. Host a Charity Event
This is a great way to get potential buyers to your open house and do good for the community at the same time. If you choose something like a food bank, you could always combine it with a giveaway; enter each person who comes with a donation in to the contest. Make sure to obtain their contact information so you can notify the winner.
5. Theme the Event According to the Style of Home
Open house theme ideas can come from several sources, not the least of which is the theme of your home itself. For instance, if your seller’s home is Mediterranean style, you can serve Mediterranean inspired finger foods. You can also set the theme according to the location of the home, such as “seaside soiree”. Similarly, theme ideas can be inspired by the home’s features, such as its pool, gardens, patios, or decking. With any of the latter, you can serve food outdoors to coordinate with your theme.
6. Throw a Party Commensurate with the Season
These open house theme ideas practically speak for themselves. Just about any holiday or season can inspire a theme for you. Tailor your food, beverages, and decorations to your holiday or seasonal theme.
7. Have a Raffle or Contest
Another incentive to attract potential buyers is the chance to win a prize. Of course, good food always helps, as do personal invitations if you can swing it. If you’re running the raffle or contest for buyers, make sure to get contact information to let the winner know after the open house.
8. Host a Pop-Up Shop
Here’s a novel idea. Ask a few local shops like clothing boutiques, gourmet food markets, or even local artists to set up shop in a few of the home’s rooms. Then negotiate a discount for your guests as well as a certain percentage of sales to go toward your open house costs. The shops get exposure and you get more foot traffic, leads, and guests who linger longer in your seller’s home.
By utilizing these open house ideas, you can create a lasting impression on your visitors. A successful open house doesn’t have to be costly or overly time consuming. Just remember to be creative and plan ahead.