Open House Marlene Cerreta Cerreta Realty Group
The Cerreta Team started holding open houses one yearwhen our business was slow. It was 2006and the housing market in Arizona had really taken a nosedive. There were a record number ofhomes on the market, prices were dropping and homeowners did not want to accept what washappening, At this point in time it was necessary to dosomething to find buyers and sellers andwe decided a great open house program was the way todo it. Holding open houses reallyworked for our team. We were able to meet tons ofpeople by doing this and the program reallybrought our business back to life.
The Team had been farming a subdivision calledMarshall Ranch for about four years andconsistently had listings in this area. We decided tostart our open house program in this neighborhood.Not only was it our farm area, it was a greatlocation for other reasons as well.Marshall Ranch is located just north of a mainstreet. One of the main entrance streets islocated right where a huge church has its mainoutlet. Another street into Marshall Ranch takesyou to a big local high school. Either of theseentrances would be easy to use with the openhouse traffic signs.
Our open houses were always very successful inthis area. We were able to meet new clients,reconnect with old clients and get a lot ofrecognition with our sign placements.We had a full pipeline of potential clients in amatter of a few weeks. Even though the housingmarket was starting what would become amajor correction, the “Open House” stillworked. This is when The Cerreta Team decidedto make open houses a big part of ourprospecting program.
Holding an open house makes most of yourclient’s happy and it is a great way to meetpotential Buyers and Sellers. Yes, that’s right, Isaid Sellers. Many people begin looking for ahome driving through a neighborhood wherethey want to live and many of those people havea home to sell as well. For this reason it is veryimportant to have your act together and haveenough marketing materials to look impressive.
I have visited many open houses and the agentsinside have very different ways of holding homesopen. One was outside smoking, this was a turn offto me (but probably not to all), one was sitting atthe dining room table where all could be seen as acustomer walked through the door and othersgreeted me at the door. All of these are probablyacceptable but you want to give a great firstimpression to your potential new clients and sohere is what I recommend.
When a person walks through the door, greet themwith a friendly welcome and guide them to a placewhere you have all your marketing items set up.Hand them a clip board that asks them for feedbackon the home and a flyer telling about the home. Tellthem to take a tour of the home and to please stopby to ask you any questions they may have. Beoverly prepared for any and all questions. Here aresome of the most common questions I have heardin the past.
•What type of AC unit does this home have?•Has the AC unit ever been replaced?•How old is the roof?•What is the name of the neighborhood school?•Are there churches nearby? Be carefulanswering this one, unless you know ALL of thechurches in the area.
•Are there any parks in the area?•How far are we from the nearest freeway?•What are the home values in thisneighborhood?•What year was this home built?•What are the utility bills like in this home?
•Are there any similar homes like this for sale inthe area?•If you don’t want to get all hot and sweaty it isbest if you are prepared to answer these andother questions about this home and area.
PREPARING FOR AN OPEN HOUSE For Vacant HomesIn this section you will learn how to prepare fora successful open house event. I LOVE openhouses as does my team of agents here atCerreta Realty Group. It’s a great way to meetthe neighbors,( who can become clients in thefuture), show that you are the neighborhoodexpert and most importantly a good way to sellthe home.
When holding a vacant home open, it is necessaryto take a few extra steps before the BIG EVENT!Since no one is living in the home, sometimes thehome needs a little touch up to make sure it’s in theperfect condition for showcasing. I will walk you through the steps we take beforeholding a vacant home open. It’s best to do the legwork prior to the open house so that you can beprepared for guests on the day of the event.
•Drive the neighborhood and decide where to placedirectional signs.•Visit the property you are holding open and makesure all the specialty yard signs are in place.•Get your open house tool kit and start your miniinspection.•Walk around the exterior of the home and look forany trash that may have blown into the yard sinceits last cleaning.
•Walk to the front door to see what it will look liketo prospective buyers – is the porch clean? Doesthe front door look inviting or does it need a quickwipe?•Walk the entire home to see if any counters,cabinets or windows need a little sprucing.•Flush all the toilets and run some water down thesinks.•Check flooring to make sure it looks presentable.
•Set up your display materials.•Leave your candle warmer – but don’t plug it inuntil you are there to watch it.•If you have extra time, walk the neighborhoodand leave some flyers on the neighbor’s doorsinviting them to your open house.
• Leave knowing that you will have an easy time the day of the open house – all you have to do is place your directional signs and welcome your guests.
How to Hold an Open HouseHosting a Successful Open HouseWhen you have a listing that is presentable,clean from top to bottom, priced correctly andlocated in an easy to find area, you can usethese tips to improve the odds of selling yourlisting at an open house event.
Advertise, Advertise, Advertise• Newspaper• Place an ad in the local paper• online• Craigslist, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter• Local MLS if allowed
Door Hangers or Flyers•Have door hangers or flyers made and deliverdoor to door in the neighborhood. If you canchat with a few neighbors this will build yoursphere data base as well. Many times neighborsknow of people looking for homes in their area.
Signs•Put extra yard signs in the yard a few daysbefore the event.•Plan out your open house signs. Try to have 10signs, this will really get your name out there asthe neighborhood expert.
•Make sure there are no vehicles in thedriveway and ask neighbors not to park in frontof the home that day.•Open the drapes, blinds and window coverings– really let in that natural light.•Find some kind of candle warmer that smellslike baked cookies and plug it in.•Have cookies to offer.
•Turn on every light in the home, unless theyare attached to a loud fan.•Turn on soft music to create a relaxingenvironment.•Have color flyers available with all the positiveattributes of the open house.•Have neighborhood comps available.
•Put out flyers that contain financing options sobuyers can see a rough estimate of what the homewill cost them per month.•Set up an easel with a sign that says Welcome andmaybe offers some of your services.•Set out all documents pertaining to the home. Wemake up a binder with all pertinent information foreasy access to all. Include inspection reports,appraisal and comps, major repairs, upgrades andwarranties. Blueprints for additions, or future plansif applicable.
•Be upbeat and cheery as you greet each buyerwho enters the home. Find out what the buyersare looking for and, if possible, show them whythis home fits those requirements.•And finally, ask for feedback. Use the feedbackform provided.
Let’s face it, one of the main goals of an openhouse is to gather leads and find warm bodies toadd to a data base. Most buyers are hesitant togive their contact info for fear they will behounded in the months to come. What willinterest the buyer enough for them to give youthat all important contact info? Bottom line, it isthe expertise of the Realtor holding the openhouse.
Let’s say you are holding a home open that is pre-market, meaning it is in control of your brokeragebut it is not yet listed. A couple driving aroundlooking at neighborhoods see your many signs andfeel comfortable enough to stop in to see the home.When the couple walks in, give them a friendlygreeting, offer them a brochure about the homeand let them look around a bit. Two things will mostlikely happen:1. The couple does not like the home for one reasonor another.2. The couple falls in love with the home and reallywants it.
In the case of number one, you could ask thecouple why they don’t like the home. Whateverthe issue is, have back up homes to offer them.Don’t just hand them the homes and say “here,go look at these”. Try to have enough knowledgeof the surrounding area to be able to offer thema specific home. Say something like, “have youseen the home at 6533 W Palo Verde Lane? It’ssimilar to this one but has (add the feature thatthe couple is looking for here). There is alsoanother nice home at 123 Lovebird Lane thatmight meet your needs.
If the couple is truly ready to buy, they will be interestedin giving you their name and number so that you canemail the homes to them when you are finished withyour open house.• In case two you can offer to take their information and let them know as soon as the home is available or follow the same procedure you did in case one.The important message is that you should be veryfamiliar with the area in which your open house islocated. You should be able to easily converse about theschools, parks and nearby shopping as well as knowabout the homes available in the surrounding area. Thiswill give you the ability to sound casual and confident anddemonstrate your expertise. This is something that willinspire visitors to give you their information more readilythan usual.
How do you become a neighborhood expert?The best way to learn about a neighborhood is topretend you have a buyer that really wants to movethere. Look on MLS for homes within the pricerange of your open house. Depending on how manyhomes are available and neighborhood similaritiesyou may want to search anywhere from a one-fivemile radius around your open house. Select at leastten homes of interest and go out (yes, actually goout) and see them. Take copious notes about eachhome, neighborhood amenities and nearbyshopping facilities.
The more open houses you hold open, the moreof an expert you will become and soon you willbe the “go to” Realtor for all of the buyers youmeet.
AN OPEN HOUSE THAT GENERATES LISTINGSThe term public open house just means that youare holding a home open and giving the generalpublic the opportunity to tour the home withoutan appointment. Of course, you will need tohave a listing to do this or know someone inyour office that will allow you to hold theirlisting open. Holding an open house is a greatway to generate listings if done properly
Here is the easiest and best way to do it.Pick a time frame to have the home open, sayfrom 12-2pm. We have found that the two hourtime frame is sufficient to have a successfulopen house. Any more time than this couldresult in wasted time and your boredom. If youhold the open house for two hours, it will allowyou to do as many as three homes per day.
You need to generate interest in the open houseand there are multiple plans that you can use todo this. Most times our office will place an ad inthe newspaper.
You will always want to use lots of signage aswell. Use about 10 signs to get people to youropen house. This is also great advertising for youand your company. Seeing 10 signs will definitelyhave an impact on the neighborhood and leteveryone know you are there.
If your office does not have signs that you canuse, make your own on foam board and postthem to poles or buy stick in posts. The mainpoint is that you need a lot of signs to get trafficto your open house.
• We also like to deliver flyers to the neighborhood. Hand deliver flyers, door knob hangers or postcards to at least 30 homes on the street of the open house. Don’t be shy. If people are out in their yard, chat with them and let them know you are holding a home on their street open.
Believe it or not, most people are friendly andwill gladly talk to you about their neighborhood.This is a great way to meet new people to add toyour data base.
The Marketing MaterialsIn each home held open there should be an areato place marketing materials. Most kitchenshave ample space on a counter. Below is a list ofthe items that can be used. This list will changewith market conditions and should alwayshighlight some “HOT” topics for the currenthousing market.
•Professional looking flyers about the homebeing held open. Use the back of the flyer to listother homes for sale in the general area.
•If the home you are holding open is your ownlisting, provide a copy or copies of the MLSPlano Sheet so that everyone can see what astellar job you do for your clients.
•A list of comparable homes, sold, pending andavailable
•Some type of giveaway that people will keep.Magnet calendars, game schedules, etc.
•Pamphlets about pool safety, mold, homeinspections, short sales, home warranties
•Nice folders to put all the info into so it is niceand neat.•Clipboards with feedback forms,•Pens with your name and number.•Your business card.
YOUR OPEN HOUSE CLEANING KITI put together an open house cleaning kit so thatI am prepared for any type of situation. Whenyou arrive there may be some smudges on thewindows, stray leaves on the porch or a counterthat needs wiped down. It’s better to beprepared than to have your visitors focusing onthe small imperfections in the home rather thanthe actual qualities of the home.
CLEANING KIT•Small broom•Windex wipes•Hand wipes•Small trash bags•Small vacuum or feather duster•Scented candle warmer with cookie smell•S-hooks•Small hammer and plier set•Notecards and pen set•Kleenex•Folding chair if the home is vacant.•FlashlightYou may find other things that you need as you go, but this is agood startup kit.
OPEN HOUSE RECAP• Choose your home. (If you don’t have one, call other agents at youroffice to see if you can hold one of theirs open).
• Have your Title Company make flyers, postcards or door hangers for you. (Include all the info that you will have availableat the open house).
• Place ads on all free online sites available
• Make a flyer to post on your Facebook Page.•Tweet about it.
• Place signs on the property a few days before the open house is planned, announcing the open house
• While you are in the neighborhood drive around and become familiar with the community schools, nearby grocery stores and parks.
• Run extensive comps on your MLS, include, rental comps (for investors), sold comps and other homes available in the sub-division or one mile radius.• Gather all the information you will offer atyour open house – short sale info, what yourhome is worth, neighborhood comps, etc.
• A few days before the open house go door to door and invite all the neighbors to your open house. Leave something of value with them that touts all the services you offer.
THE DAY OF THE BIG EVENT• Get dressed in something nice but also comfy
• Place your sign in sheet by the front door with a pen
• Place all your marketing supplies on the kitchen counter. Use clear plastic holders so the info is upright and easily seen.• Set out a plate of treats.• Set up your candle warmer with a fresh bakedcookie scent.• Turn all the lights on in the home.• Get ready to greet your new clients.