Open Houses

For many across the U.S., open houses look a little different than normal this year. With social distancing, capacity limits, and other safety measures put in place, agents now have extra on their plates to not only host an open house, but also to actually get leads from it.

Here’s what we know to be a constant: people are still buying homes…and at a high rate. In fact, the housing demand for June is already 25% higher than pre-pandemic levels, and according to HousingWire, the percentage of newly listed homes to accept an offer within 14 days increased from 42% in May to 47% in June.

The demand is there, and open houses will play an even larger role than normal this year. That being said, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help your open houses generate more leads.

Identify the Hook and the Draw

Just like a good golf game, the pro agents understand the value of a good hook and draw. Basically, why should someone come to this open house?

Let’s start with the hook:

A hook deals with the house itself. Essentially, what attribute or feature does it have that will set it apart from other houses? Is there a sunroom that would be perfect for afternoon reading? Or maybe a newly-renovated kitchen big enough for cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for the entire family?

Identify that hook and build messaging around it. “You have to see it to believe all of the amenities this brand-new kitchen has!” Or something significantly less cheesy than that… You get the idea – build a storyline that will make buyers not just want to come see the home, but need to.

Then there’s the draw:

With busy schedules, sometimes buyers need that little extra incentive to come to an open house (as if the idea of getting to tour their potential forever home isn’t enough…). That’s where the draw comes in.

You need to give them something in exchange for coming – and ideally filling out a sheet with their contact information. This is by no means a new approach, and one you are likely already using. Popular draws are gift card raffles, free locally sourced baked goods and coffee, or just some goodie bags. A little goes a surprising long way.

*Note that when using a draw like these, there may need to be additional safety precautions and guidelines put in place during the pandemic. It is vital to stay up-to-date on local, state, and national guidelines to know exactly what is allowed and what those precautions should be. NAR offers some assistance with that here.

Leverage Facebook Live

There are two main reasons why streaming a Facebook Live at an open house is smart during these times…

One: While confidence to get out of the house more is certainly on the rise, there is still a percentage of buyers who may not yet feel comfortable enough to attend an open house in person.

Allowing them to watch the tour from the comfort of their home allows them to still get a feel of the house, and Facebook Lives also allow them to ask questions in real time that you can then answer.

Two: Those that are comfortable to go to an open house just may not be available at that time to come.

During a pandemic or not, scheduling time to go to an open house can be challenging for some. But that shouldn’t mean they have to miss out altogether. This gives them an avenue to still check in and out at their convenience. Also, Facebook Live videos are automatically archived on Facebook – meaning that they can go watch that video later in the day when they have more time.

Not sure how to use Facebook Live? Facebook offers a helpful guide here.

Invite the Neighbors

Another common, and smart, approach is to invite the neighbors. This is a low-hanging fruit tactic, because neighbors are already in close proximity, and may be curious as to what other homes on the street look like on the inside.

“Well that’s great and all, but how does that help me get more leads?”

Two ways: they can answer questions for other buyers at the open house, and they can be a great source for referrals.

Let’s start with the former. No one knows the neighborhood better than those who actually live there! Having them available at the house to speak to how great it is, what local restaurants or coffee shops are nearby, sound levels, etc. can be a great selling point. And it gives the serious buyers a chance to meet their potential new neighbors.

From a referral standpoint, a successful real estate career comes from creating relationship and connections. Even just knocking on their door, introducing yourself, and telling them about the open house gives you an opportunity to ask if they, or someone they know, needs your help. More often than not they know someone else who is moving in the near future.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t underestimate how much promotion you will need to do to reach your audience effectively. Too often, agents just put out a single Facebook or Instagram post the day of the open house. Especially in the current climate, that simply isn’t going to cut it. Buyers need to have time to account for this in their busy schedules.

Leveraging social posts is a great – and free – way to do this, but there needs to be multiple posts. A good number to aim for (without irritating your followers) is three (3) posts:

  • Once when you first schedule the open house
  • Once the day before the open house
  • Once the morning of the open house

Another free tactic on Facebook would be to create an event page for the open house. Fill out the necessary information – time of the open house, address, etc. and include the “hook” and “draw” from above that you have identified for this listing. Just be sure to make it public. Learn how to do that here.

Also, consider Facebook/Instagram ads or simply “boosting” posts (learn how to boost a post here). Either of these can help extend how many people you reach on the two social platforms. For those who don’t know, the average Facebook post only reaches roughly 3-5% of followers organically – meaning that if you have 500 followers, your typical post may only reach 15-25 people without money behind it…which isn’t a lot. Putting money behind your posts (boosts) or running ads extends that reach.

Regardless of how you promote the open house, though, it’s most important when. Three days ahead of time is good, a week or two is better.

Capture the Lead

None of the tips mentioned above matter at all if you don’t properly track the leads who show up to the open house. That’s what it’s all about – who was there, what’s their contact info. Even if they don’t put in an offer, you now have the info of a dozen or so potential leads/referral sources.

So how do you track them? Today’s technology now has an app for everything…including this. Take a look at some popular ones below, in no particular order:

Prefer the ol’ pen-and-paper method for sign-in sheets? Nothing wrong with that. And it doesn’t require an internet connection! You can certainly find them available across the web, but if you need one now we’re happy to provide one here:

 

*Not all borrowers will qualify. Contact us for more information on fees and terms.

“The Real Estate Market Heats up: Housing Demand Is 25% above Pre-Pandemic Levels.” HousingWire, 16 June 2020, www.housingwire. com/articles/the-real-estate-market-heats-up-housing-demand-is-25-above-pre-pandemic-levels/.