MARKETING YOUR HOME WITH AN OPEN HOUSE
Using an open house in order to further market your home on the market as a marketing tool will ensure that you engage potential buyers, even if no one makes an offer during the viewing.
Oddly enough, there are certain practitioners who believe that open houses are an outdated custom used to placate home sellers.
Promoting Your Open House
The first step to holding an open house, is to properly and effectively promote it well before the date that it's to be held. Buyers are constantly lurking on the internet for listings, so starting there is a great way to get as many potential buyers to show up as possible.
Using local listings websites for your area, as well as real estate websites, such as REALTOR.com, which you can usually use through your agent, are the best places to start at.
Because the internet is such a powerful marketing tool for just about anything, promoting your open house through it will ensure that you reach buyers through every platform possible, and should be done well.
Take clear, full pictures of both the exterior and interior of your home, write a thorough, honest description, and have your real estate agent check over the entire listing before you post it anywhere. If they recommend any changes or additions, ensure that you do them.
Using Signs Across Town
For the day of the open house, go out for a few hours before its scheduled to start, and plant signs all over town. Depending on your neighborhood, you're going to need to create your signs to a design that reflects where you live, the home itself, and the type of buyer you are trying to draw in.
For example, if you're home is located in a high-end neighborhood, and you're looking to attract high-end buyers, not bargain hunters, then creating and placing signs that are both specialty and company-branded through your real estate agent will be the perfect attraction.
However, should you be looking for bargain hunters, or buyers of middle class, handwritten open house signs will do the trick nicely.
When it comes to gate communities and homeowner associations, you will need to speak with your real estate agent about putting up signs on the day of your open house, as there may be some restrictions for signs that you may not know about.
Even though signs aren't a newly modern way of promoting your open house, they are still effective if you create them the right way and have proper placement.
Using Facebook to Market Your Open House
Social media is great for listing your home, especially when it comes to Facebook. For example, you could set up a specific Facebook page that is completely catered to your open house.
Add pictures of the exterior, such as the front of the house, the back, your backyard, and your garden, should you have one. For the interior, take full pictures of each room, staircases, front hall, etc. Create a photo album using only the best photos.
Hiring a photographer for this portion of your listing is ideal as well, considering they have everything necessary for great pictures that are clear and beautiful.
For the description portion, make sure that it's easy to read by separating paragraphs and using clear, concise words with no errors, that you're perfectly spelling every detail of the house out, and that you go over the description with your real estate agent before you post it, just so he or she can make any necessary changes before it goes live on your Facebook page.
You will also need to add directions, what your home is located near, any interesting buildings or points, etc.
If you have a video camera, or know someone that does if you do not, creating a short teaser video that takes the viewer on a quick tour of your home is also ideal, as well.
This creates somewhat of a virtual open house, but should only be long enough to catch a potential buyer's eye. If done right, this will attract more attention and curiosity towards your home, so potential buyers will want to come to your open house to see everything else.
For the cover and profile photos, use ones from the shots of the front of your home, but make sure that they are ones you have not posted yet.
Make sure the shots are crystal clear, has the proper lighting, and are both catching and pleasing to the eye, as they will be the first two photos that potential buyers will see when they click on the Facebook page.
Adding Your Open House Listing on REALTOR.com
As previously mentioned earlier, REALTOR.com is a great way to market the selling of your home, as potential buyers are constantly cruising this website for their dream home.
Only your real estate agent has access to the website in regards to creating and posting a home that has gone up for sale, but you, as the seller, can add an open house yourself.
Listed below are bullet points on how to edit your listing and add your open house on REALTOR.com;
In the main menu, click Manage Listings, and click on the address for your listing, then click Edit Listing once the menu appears.
From there, click on Open Houses underneath Showcase Listing Enhancements and enter the information for your open house in the provided fields.
The Additional Comments box allows you to add any other information that you may deem necessary to include, such as directions to your property from the closest major intersection, for example.
Once you are satisfied with everything, click Save, and you will then see your open house date within the Open House section, where you can edit or delete it if you wish to do so.
Always remember to let your real estate agent know whenever you make any changes to any of your listings, which goes the same for your open house listing on your REALTOR.com listing.
Adding Your Open House Listing to Zillow.com
Like REALTOR.com, Zillow.com is another real estate tool that is perfect for adding an open house listing. Once your real estate agent has created a listing for your home on the market, and an open house date has been decided and confirmed, you can then create the listing for it, by following the bullet point instructions listed below;
First, look for Edit Listing Info, which will be located at the top of the home page.
Select the button that reads Update for Sale by Agent/Owner, which you will find at the bottom of the page.
Carefully go over and fill in all of the fields given, click Save, and you're done!
Once again, ensure that your real estate agent goes over the listing for your open house once you have completed it.
Why You Should Never Ignore Craigslist
Even though the majority of real estate agents do not recommend using Craigslist for real estate listings in general, don't ignore it's use. Craigslist is one of the oldest websites used for every category of listings under the sun, but make no mistake, it's still one of the best marketing tools that you can use to your advantage when it comes to marketing your home with an open house.
Craigslist allows its users to create their own headlines for listings, which then allows their real estate agents to pitch homes and properties to all prospective buyers, instead of just listing them.
The headlines that go into listings are extremely important on Craigslist, so ensure that you create one that will immediately catch a potential buyer's eye, such as, "Open house for a 5 bedroom with ZERO DOWN!".
Craigslist has also changed the usage of embed clickable links within any listing posted, as well.
Now, when a visitor of the listing wants to click a link provided in a listing, they must copy and paste it into their browser, which engages potential buyers a lot more.
When you go to post a listing on Craigslist, all you have to do is create a catchy headline, input all of the location details, add a couple of pictures, and write a full, clear description within the text box about your open house, and you're done!
As like before, have your real estate agent check everything over as soon as you're finished, so you can add or change something right away after it's been live, so there's no confusion from potential buyers.
Using Direct Mail for a Successful Open House
While almost everything done in real estate is done online these days in terms of marketing, direct mail is also a great offline way to get the word out about listings and their open houses. Potential buyers surfing the web won't always see your open house listing, but if you have direct mail sent directly to them, you'll no doubt have a great turnout for your showing!
While using every online marketing tool in existence has been proven to be effective, incorporating direct mail into your marketing scheme, which has also proven to be highly effective, will give you an edge against the competition.
Creating the perfect direct mail "invitation" to both your listing and your open house is incredibly easy to do, and can be done by taking the following tips within the bullet points listed below into account;
Have a phone number listed, considering some potential buyers prefer personal contact, instead of just speaking to an owner or their real estate agent through emails.
Have a QR code, a Quick Response Code that is scanned via smartphones for quick information, readily available within your direct mail, for potential buyers who like to be able to do everything, or as much as possible, using their smartphones.
Your personal URL, whether it be for your website where your listings are located or anywhere else they can be found, so they do not have to search too hard to find anything.
Your or your real estate agent's email address, for the potential buyers who like to speak to owners or real estate agents through email, or keep things in writing in general.
To do this, creating real estate postcards are definitely your best bet, and are the best way to grab the attention of potential buyers.
Instead of using mass emails, real estate postcards are physical, get the message and invitation across, and can be crafted with a beautiful design to really reel them in.
Because pieces of mail are typically delivered in an online format to email inboxes, creating real estate postcards for your open house listing ensures that each potential buyer will see them and take your open house into serious account.
The following bullet points listed below describe ways to ensure that your real estate postcards that are to be used for your open house listen will be both clear and effective;
Go with a larger postcard, from the dimensions of 5.5" x 8.5" in size, just so it will easily catch potential buyer's eyes straight away, purely from the size.
Use a bright color that is also easy on the eyes, such as a hot pink or even a baby blue.
Use text that is bolded, large, and easy to read.
Go over the text with your real estate agent in order to have messages that are designed and written to appeal to the specific crowd of potential buyers that you are looking for.
Include some graphics that will really grab the potential buyer's attention.
Additionally, you are going to want to have your postcards sent out a couple of days before you open house is set to be held.
Check with your local mail carrier to see how long bulk mail will take to be delivered to each address once it has been delivered to the post office, so you and your real estate agent will know exactly how long you will have until you need to send out your open house postcards.
When it comes to keeping the cost down, considering using direct mail can get pretty expensive if you don't know how to do it properly, there are many things that you can do to ensure that your costs will be reduced, but your open house postcards won't suffer for it.
Go with a company who specializes in print marketing for real estate, and create your own, unique design with your real estate agent before you upload them to the company to have them crafted and printed for you.
If you have plenty of time before your open house is set, use a bulk mail campaign instead of first class mailing to help keep the overall cost of postage down.
Buy in large, bulk quantities, somewhere between 2500 to approximately 3000, as the majority of print marketing companies will give you a significant discount.
If you have months before your planned open house, then send out around 100 post cards each week to all of the planned addresses.
Do not be afraid to repeat the mailing process to each address, either.
Make Your Open House an Event, Not Just a Selling Point
Your real estate agent should do additional research before you have both decided on the perfect day to hold the open house, just so you both know there will be nothing going on within your local community that could create a conflict with overall attendance.
For example, if there is a festival scheduled for a certain weekend, then you should definitely hold off until it's over, or wait until there is a weekend with very little going on locally.
Ask your real estate agent if they could send an announcement within an email to every real estate broker and agent within the area, which will include their own private mailing list, to ensure that your open house event is publicized within all open house websites that will maximize overall attendance.
If possible, their influence can be moved to all existing social media platforms, as well.
If there is room in the budget, you could also purchase a targeted advertisement on Facebook a couple of days prior to your open house event for maximum exposure.
After all, social media is extremely important when it comes to real estate in general, and the majority of potential buyers will always look at a listing, even if it's for an open house, online before they physically go and see the home or the property.
As previously stated, hiring a professional photographer is also a great idea and will make your open house more of an event. They can help you with creating a short, videotaped virtual tour to tease potential buyers into wanting to see more, and will take and edit the perfect photographs of both the interior and the exterior of your home.
Should your real estate agent deem it necessary, they will also help you to stage your home by removing your furniture and bringing in certain pieces, or will help you to move around yours in positions that they feel will open up the space more and look better.
They will help you to set up proper lighting, present the highlights and focal points of each room, make suggestions on the arrangement of existing furniture, should they choose to not bring in any stage furniture, and will overall help you in showing your property at its best.
When it comes to landscaping a few days before your open house event, mow the lawn the day before, freshen up your garden, flowerbeds, and other cosmetic aspects, and ensure that you have a new doormat put in place.
Once the day of the open house event finally arrives, your real estate agent will post directional signs around your neighborhood and at the entry point where your street, circle, block, etc. begins, to ensure that potential buyers will easily find your home.
They will also place a sign out on your front lawn that will be adorned in a way, using brightly colored balloons, for example.
Should the weather call for rain, or if it rained prior to your open house event, ensure that you have a clear sign leading to the front door, or beside the front door, letting all potential buyers know that they must remove their shoes.
Place "footies", a wrap made out of non-slip material that covers socked feet, underneath the sign for them to put on, instead.
To get a good smell going within the home an hour or two before the event is to begin, boil some lemon slices on the stove, or bake a spoonful of vanilla extract in the oven for about half an hour, while all of the vents in your home remain open. This will help the smell to go throughout the house entirely, making the whole property smell wonderful.
At the same time, you are making sure the house smells wonderful, or just smells clean, ensure that it is clean.
Potential buyers are going to either laugh or be disgusted if they walk into an open house that is a completely messy disaster, and they will most definitely walk out. During the cleaning process, remember to remove all personal items either out of the house, or just completely out of view.
This includes children's drawings and paintings, family portraits, wedding photographs, etc. You should also remove pets and any litter boxes or pee pads, too.
Open House Safety and Precautions
As a major precaution, do not be alone in the home during your open house. Have your real estate agent, a family member, or a friend with you, even if it's more than one person.
Always trust your gut instinct, as well. If you hear the little voice in your head saying that something is not right, then get out as fast as you can and alert the authorities of your concern.
To avoid any robbery situations, walk through your home prior to the start of your open house, and put away all prescription drugs, mail, jewelry, any extra sets of keys, financial statements, etc.
Overall, any valuables must be out of sight and out of mind completely, which includes your purse, as well.
As each potential buyer arrives, introduce yourself straight away and direct them to a previously created sign-in sheet, which will give you time to assess their appearance and figure out whether or not they may be a threat to you and not here as a legitimate potential buyer.
Ask your neighbors to come over, or invite any buyers that they know of. Not only is this a safety precaution, but it's an added marketing trick in disguise. Tell your neighbors that there will be food and drinks, and you'll definitely have some company.
Because there have been incidents where sellers and real estate agents have been harmed during open house events in the past, it is extremely important that all safety precautions are taken seriously and conducted throughout the entire event. Safety should be your number one priority, and not the sale of your home.
Marketing Your Home With an Open House
By taking all of the above steps listed, you will have no trouble holding a successful open house that will no doubt attract a crowd of potential buyers. Open houses are hard work that takes a lot of preparation, but in the end, they are definitely worth it.