Research has shown that over 90% of people search for real estate online – combing through lists of available inventory, photos and video – but guess what? An overwhelming majority of folks state that attending open houses and viewing properties first hand is still a favorite way to find their home of choice!
If you’re considering a sale, you should evaluate your agent carefully. There’s an art to hosting an open house, and the best agents have a “signature system” designed to attract interest and more importantly, guests. MANY guests. When asking a potential agent about how they work, here’s what you should look for:
- A timeline and plan of action. An agent who decides to host an open within 72 hours doesn’t have sufficient time to coordinate the event and pique interest. Your agent should initiate their plan of action at least a week in advance. Ask about their system!
- A marketing plan to drive attendance. It’s not enough to put directional signs on street corners and in your yard. A sign rider should go up 5 days before. Neighbors should be invited. (Don’t fear the “nosy neighbors” – they can be your best word of mouth and besides, you’re moving!) Local agents should be proactively notified, and your listing should be updated so the open will be reflected in the MLS and on the syndication portals (like Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow). The best agents also harness the power of social media; Facebook promoted posts, Craigslist, Pinterest, and Instagram are all ways to invite folks to attend – in and out of your market area! Ask about this – it’s critical!
- A list of things for you to do. There’s a partnership between the agent and client, and the best agents are always working in your best interests. When we ask you to secure your valuables, weapons, and prescription medications, it’s to protect you. We may ask that trash cans be placed in the garage, toys or clutter be put away, or small maintenance items be addressed. We will ask that you not be present during the open – this inhibits guests. Whatever may be requested, please know that we want to attract visitors, get them in the door, and have them spend enough time to appreciate all your property has to offer!
- A method by which they register visitors – and feedback! Asking visitors to sign in on a sheet of paper is SO 1995. Remember, you are allowing strangers into your home. Savvy agents are using their tablets to register guests and gather essential information. It’s a requirement designed to protect you. As guests tour, they should be asked about their impressions and your host should be listening for their comments.
- Assistance to manage traffic. If promoted effectively, you should expect visitors – plenty of them. A co-host, loan officer, or other featured service provider should assist with greeting folks and insuring that everyone gets attention. An agent who tells you that they will lock the door and leave people waiting outside while they take a group through is missing the whole point – it’s an OPEN house. We don’t want to give anyone a reason to leave!
- A follow-up plan of action. It is reasonable to expect to receive a recap of the event within 24 hours. This should include the total number of visitors – potential buyers and agents – as well as any questions or comments received. A great agent will reach back out to follow-up with those who had expressed some level of interest, and will keep them informed of any changes made at some point (whether it be price or something else).
- A positive attitude and interest in connecting with everyone! Finally, know this: it is critical that you choose an agent who is anxious to promote your home to everyone they meet. They should plan and host your open house with enthusiasm. Acting as HOST, they will greet, connect, and create comfort with guests as if they had been personally invited by you. Your event will be memorable, both for what’s being offered and the awesome agent you hired to represent you!
Your agent matters, so choose wisely!