Showing your home can be the most stressful part of the sales process. It’s hard enough having strangers constantly walking through your personal living space. When you combine that with the stress of selling your home in general, it can become a lot to handle.
The good news is that with a little creativity and strategy, you can limit the burden on your family. Better yet, you’ll be able to maximize the chances of getting a great offer at the same time. Other than making your home available, this part of the sales process should be managed completely by your agent.
Open houses are one of the “bread and butter” marketing tools in a real estate agent’s belt. Recent advancements in technology and internet services have made it easier than ever for home sellers (and their agents) to connect with home buyers.
Simultaneously, recent events related to the global pandemic have greatly hindered the ability to hold open houses. This has provided further reason to adopt new technologies to ensure your home gets in front of as many people as possible.
So what is an open house? Essentially, it’s a physical or virtual event hosted by your real estate agent. The main purpose is to bring as much foot traffic (or virtual traffic) as possible through your home. Let’s go through the three primary forms of open houses and the unique benefits of each approach.
The Traditional Open House
Even with the advances in technology and the temporary lockdown restrictions, you should include traditional open houses whenever possible. There’s something about the prospective buyer walking the property, and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells that really drives the experience home.
Typically, you hold these on the first and/or second weekends after you list your home. If your agent is good, they’ll create a coordinated marketing effort leading up to the open houses. This will ensure that lots of people show up.
It’s a great opportunity to gather feedback from home buyers. This feedback can then be used to make any needed adjustments to the price, staging, etc. If 20 buyers come through the property each complains that the price is too high, it just might be. If there are lots of complaints about cleanliness, it’s a sign to pay more attention to decluttering and deep cleaning. Issues with the floor plan could potentially be addressed by simply switching around the staged furniture.
Depending on your immediate market and how well your home stacks up against the competition, you may receive offers right away. Alternatively, you’re looking for attendees to request follow up private showings. Even if you don’t receive any offers or further showing requests, the benefit of general awareness shouldn’t be discounted. Someone may have a friend or family member that they refer to you, who ends up making an offer.
The Broker’s Open House
A broker’s open house (“broker’s open”) is an agent-only event that some real estate agents utilize in their comprehensive marketing plans. We almost always incorporate such an event into our home selling approach.
A broker’s open is designed to get the word out to buyer’s agents that your home is for sale. This way, if there’s a client that they have in mind for the home, they can recommend the public open house or a private showing. This contrasts with traditional open houses, which are designed for the buyers themselves.
A broker’s open is supposed to be an industry preview of the home. As such, it should always occur prior to the first public open house. We typically perform them the day before the public open.
The Virtual Open House
Virtual open houses (VOHs) are a relatively new phenomenon, and quickly becoming a standard component of any serious marketing plan. This is due in part to the moratorium on traditional open houses that’s been in place since the pandemic.
However, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to show your home to people who can’t attend your open houses. This includes folks from out of the area who can’t see your home at all.
This is particularly relevant to those of us homeowners living in Southern California. While California has had a net deficit in terms of population growth recently, we still get a consistent influx of people moving in from out of state here on the Southern coastline. Often, these people are unable to house hunt in person. Traditionally, they’d be stuck depending on photos and the listing description. If they were lucky, a filmed video from a local agent.
However, the seller’s agent will know more details about the home they’re representing than a buyer’s agent will. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for the seller’s agent to be the tour guide. This is where virtual open houses come in.
Your agent can host a VOH as a live event on social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram and most recently, LinkedIn. Viewers are able to listen in and ask questions to the seller’s agent. This allows people to tour the property visually and get most of their questions answered at the same time.
By handling these issues up front, any prospective buyer who likes what they see will be more likely to move forward quickly with an offer. Without an interactive virtual open house, home sellers have to rely on photos and the listing details to lure in prospects who missed the traditional open house.
Determining Your Approach
As previously mentioned, if you have a real estate agent, they should be handling this part of the sale completely. Whether you have one, two, or all three of the types of open houses above will depend primarily on the current state of lockdown. If possible, you should implement all three, as this will maximize attention to your listing.
Regardless, any form of an open house will result in an increase in buyer attention on your listing. More attention correlates to a higher chance of a fair-priced offer, and that’s the goal!