Whether or not people know the ins and outs of real estate, they know about open houses. This familiar sight is a well-known part of the business because it’s one of the most effective marketing tools at a real estate agent’s disposal.
The reason open houses are so common is because they provide benefits regardless of whether the property is new to the market or has been listed for months. Determined agents know that open houses are about more than potential buyers viewing the property. Instead, real estate agents in the know maximize the effectiveness of this valuable tool. An open house is a great way for agents to show their personality and demonstrate how they’re willing to go above and beyond for their clients.
The Purpose of an Open House
At the end of the day, a lot about selling real estate is playing the numbers game. With the exception of highly specialized properties, one of the best ways to find a potential buyer is to make sure as many people see the property as possible. This is why open houses have remained popular throughout the years.
To conduct a successful open house, there are a few steps you should take:
- Schedule the open house at a time that is convenient for your target audience.
- Create excitement by promoting the open house.
- Put the best face on the property by hiring a professional cleaning service, using a professional staging service, and making cosmetic changes.
Reach Your Audience
Showing a property to as many people as you can is important, but how do you know if those people are the most likely buyers? Researching the surrounding neighbourhood and creating a demographic profile of the average residents that contains information such as household size, income, and how their professional and family life shapes their schedule and needs, will help in figuring out which buyers will be a good fit. The U.S. Census or Statistics Canada can help you figure out what kind of people live in an area. The National Association of Realtors also provides detailed reports on U.S. home buyers and sellers.
In the marketing industry, customer profiles are used to create materials that are specifically targeted to reach the intended audience. While you may not have an entire marketing team working on your listing, put some thought into who a property’s potential buyer would be and take advantage of one of the most powerful tools in today’s marketing world — data. You don’t need to become an expert in data analysis to identify likely buyers.
Once you’ve determined your target audience, make use of the tools available to reach them. Social media platforms like Facebook for Business, Instagram, and Twitter all have easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to advertise to specific groups of people. With very little money, these platforms can help you promote your open house to those most likely to make a purchase.
If your audience isn’t likely to be on social media, there are other ways to reach them. Many people still read the newspaper real estate section, so advertising in your local paper can be an effective way to reach an interested market. Go to popular locations in the surrounding neighbourhood and ask if they will allow you to post a flyer or display a sign. As an incentive to these businesses, you could offer to make a trade, such as displaying their coupons at your open house.
Different audiences require different marketing tactics. Young couples buying their first house are looking for different things in a home than an established family of four. Young couples may be more interested in surrounding restaurants, museums, and activities, while families may be more interested in being close to a good school district or an accessible park. Consider including images of these places in your marketing as well to show buyers the neighbourhood. Be sure to tailor your message to emphasize what’s important to your target market.
Knowing your target audience can also help you adjust the format of your open house. People usually think open houses have to happen on weekend afternoons, but is that really the best time for your potential buyers? For some buyers it may be, but for other buyers, such as young professionals, giving up a weekend day to go house shopping may be a chore. For this target audience, offering an open house on a weekday evening may be more convenient.
Open houses create excitement around the property. However, getting people to show up to your event when they could just search online can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to provide more than just a time when people can view a property.
Create a fun, exciting event that buyers want to attend. For a weekday evening aimed at young professionals, consider giving the event a theme to match the property and serve drinks and snacks that go along with it. For a Sunday afternoon for young families, make it fun for parents to bring their children by setting up a craft table or hiring a performer. In an urban setting, consider hiring a food truck to draw the neighbours in. You’ll find yourself creating a buzz around the property and reaching a new audience.
After the Open House
Remember, your job isn’t over after the open house. The open house is a great way to find potential buyers, but it’s vital to follow up with everyone who attends to turn prospects into offers and offers into a sale.