While primarily directed towards real estate agents, this article can be helpfull to For Sale By Owners as well. It discusses how to hold a sucessful open house and is written by noted Broker and Trainer Tom Fisher.
There is a great deal of disagreement in the brokerage community about the value of open houses.
Some agents believe that they are a waste of time. Others make them a cornerstone of their business. No matter which side of this debate you are on, here are the basics of holding a successful open house:
Newspaper Ads. I am not a big proponent of newspaper advertising. However, I consider open houses an exception. If your local newspaper has a special open house section, it is worth the investment. If not, place a classified ad the day before and the day of the open house with an “Open House” banner above it. This is exactly what we do at we buy houses Sweeny.
Internet Ads. Make sure that the open house is listed on public web sites, your personal web site, and your company web site.
Invite the Neighbors. Send a mailing to the neighborhood. Or, better yet, go door-to-door the day before the open house and personally invite the neighbors. Someone might have a friend or relative who is interested in moving into the neighborhood, or better yet, you may come across someone who is interested in listing their house for sale.
Hang a sign. For a full week before the open house, have a sign on the property or a sign rider on your for sale sign that states the day and time of the open house.
Have your seller prepare. Make sure that the seller understands that this is a big event and that they need to have their house in tip top shape for it. It needs to be neat and clean and free of cooking, smoke, and pet odors. Have them do a quick once over, clean the carpets if neccassary, wash the windows.
Brighten it up. Turn on all of the lights in the house and open all the blinds to let the light in. Suggest to the sellers that they replace their light bulbs with higher wattage ones.
Have a sign in sheet. Have a sign in sheet just inside the front door and insist that all visitors sign in with their name, address, and phone number. If anyone resists, tell them that it is for “security reasons, because we need to know who has been inside the home”. If they refuse, turn them away. They are not serious buyers anyway.
Handouts are Important. Have a good handout to give to all attendees. It should not only highlight the home, but encourage the prospect to contact you about buying any home or about selling their existing home.
Keep control. Let only one group into the house at a time. This way, you can speak with the buyers and you don’t run the risk of theft of items from the home.
While it’s true that most buyers do not buy a home seen during an open house, it does happen from time to time. Open houses can also be a great source of leads. It’s important that you establish rapport with each and every potential buyer who enters the house. You are giving up two to three hours of your valuable time, so make it worthwhile.