11 Open House Tips To Elevate Your Prospecting
For many real estate agents, Open Houses make up a significant portion of their prospecting activity. It can be particularly effective for agents that don’t want to be overly reliant on referral and repeat business. A successful Open House can fill up a client database with a relatively low time & resources commitment…but there are some key strategies and Open House ideas that we think are critical to making the most out of these opportunities. We have put together a list of our favorite open house tips here:
Before jumping in, it’s important to know that these tips aren’t just for brand new agents. Even seasoned agents and teams that have their Open House “system” down to a science may take away a nugget or two. So take a look and let us know what you think about these top open house tricks – each of which comes from high producing agents.
1. Put Out 25-35 Signs
Observation: most realtors are not putting out enough signs to raise awareness of their Open House. When you are preparing for an open house, make time to plan out where your signs are going.
The signs should be placed in all intersections in the immediate area of the house as well as along all routes leading to the main highways that people may travel to reach the property. Account for people traveling in every direction.
When it comes to placing signs at intersections, double check that the arrows point the right way. If your signs start sending your visitors in circles, they aren’t gonna be very receptive to working with you when/if they finally arrive.
Also consider putting open house signs around highly active weekend locations like shopping centers, grocery stores, farmers markets, restaurants, parks and other outdoor recreation areas.
If the Open House is on a weekday, consider placing signs near schools.
In addition to traditional Open House signs, also think about sign riders that mention the hours of the open house, especially for those held during the week as it’s not as intuitive as far as the timing of the open house.
One of the best open house selling tips is to make sure that you properly advertise the time of your open house. You won’t want people showing up to the house too early or too late and missing your chance to make a great impression on them.
Also this helps on off-days when people drive-by the property can see the planned open house hours.
2. Set a Goal to Get One Rock Solid Appointment
Sure the next person that walks through the door of an open house could end up being the actual buyer. However, statistically it’s unlikely. Less than 10% of homes are sold to buyers that visit an Open House. However there’s still plenty of opportunity with everyone that comes through the door…and (possibly stating the obvious) this is why Open Houses remain a critical prospecting activity for real estate agents.
Each time you host an open house, you should set a goal to get a rock-solid appointment. As Darren Robertson of Northern Virginia Home Pro says, “Regardless of the success of an open house in matching a buyer for that property, this one appointment may make the time that you spent holding the property open, completely worthwhile.”
Keep in mind that this appointment could be to show an unrepresented buyer other properties OR even with a nearby owner that isn’t in the market to buy (aka a nosey neighbor). To get you closer to that appointment, here are a few scripts you can use that are focused on either a prospective seller OR a prospective buyer.
For A Potential Buyer
Potential buyers are what an open house is all about. Afterall the seller is holding the house open to attract attention from buyers, but more broadly, these are people that are spending their free time physically looking in houses that they may want to purchase…aka they are motivated. You will need to make sure you capitalize on these interactions and let potential buyers, that aren’t yet working with an agent, understand the value you bring.
Now when you have a potential buyer, make sure you start the conversation with the house that you are holding open (see our tip #5 below). Gauge their interest for the property and IF they don’t appear really excited about it, try and tease out what their homebuying criteria are. Now, when you’ve got a pretty good sense of what that is, here’s a script you can use to land that appointment:
“OMG, I have a house that’d be perfect for you? Want to see it after the open house? How about Monday? Ok? Before or after work?”
Of course, in order to be able to use this script, you will need to have in-depth knowledge of the market and a general desire to help these clients find their dream home. See tip #7 to know what in-depth knowledge of the market means.
Btw if they are interested in making an offer on the house you’re holding open, then fantastic! Run with that and IF things don’t pan out for any reason, you can plan to show them homes later.
For A Nearby Owner
When you host an open house, there are always nosey neighbors that come in for a sneak peek of the home. These are potential listing prospects…plain & simple. Plus the fact they’re interested in the sale of their neighbors home including how that home is being marketed and positioned, means they’re interested in the local real estate market, and more importantly, the value of their home relative to that market.
So treat each nosey neighbor that walks in as they are a prospective listing lead, and use this great script to get them to become a rock solid appointment:
“I don’t mind doing this, but after the open house, I’ll swing by and give you a realistic idea of how much your house is worth and how quick we can get it sold.”
Now the delivery of this is key. Act as if this is a favor that you’re doing for them. In this script you’re also doing some subtle selling of your value as a realtor. You’re saying to them, “even after spending my entire Saturday/Sunday in this Open House, I’m interested in helping you explore a successful real estate transaction”. It shows hard work and genuine interest, which are both key criteria for selecting a real estate agent (or any business partner for that matter).
Even if their move is years away, this is an excellent chance for you to get your foot in the door (quite literally!). Don’t be pushy and maintain that helpful tone. If they’re really not interested in your offer, you can part as new friends and save your energy for the next prospect.
3. Only talk to one person at a time
Remember that goal we talked about to make one rock-solid appointment? You know the one that we literally mentioned 10 seconds ago?? Well, it’s going to be very difficult to do that if you try and talk to too many people at once. Resist the urge to be that host that feels obligated to make mundane small talk with everyone that walks through the door.
You aren’t hosting a luncheon for old high school friends.
No one came to see you.
You need to make a deliberate effort to build rapport so you can get to the point of setting an appointment.
That means talking to one person (or couple) at a time. You need to focus on that one group until you know whether they have the possibility of being that rock-solid appointment.
People know when you are paying attention to them and in order to build enough trust to represent them, you’ll need to listen intently to their goals in the home selling/buying process. If your attention is split between six different people while trying to make sure the cheese doodles are refilled, you may miss out on connecting with a legitimate client.
Not to mention that some people are very sensitive about asking questions in front of others. There are personal matters connected with where you choose to live and these can lead into conversations involving sensitive topics. You can de-stress these important, trust building conversations by stepping aside and answering their questions directly as opposed to being in a larger group setting.
Give people your undivided time and attention until you know whether they could be that rock solid appointment. If they aren’t, then politely move on to the next…but don’t try and spread your bets by having quick shallow conversations with every visitor. Go deeper.
4. Master The Greeting
We all know that the first impression is a big deal not just during an open house but in real estate (and in life in general). But at a real estate open house, you have to be ready to meet and greet, and you have to exude positive energy. If you are shy, nervous, or distracted, you will struggle to get visitors to warm up to you on a personal level and that affects your sales process.
Here’s a good prompt to get the right level of energy from a greeting. Imagine you saw an old friend from high school walk in the door. Try and recreate that positive emotion:
“OMG! HI! Welcome in! Thank you for coming by”
You may need to tweak the approach so it still feels like it’s you and doesn’t come off as creepy or forced…but with this burst of energy plus an undertone of familiarity you will become more attractive to people. And let’s not kid ourselves, sales involves some amount of attraction.
Sales also involves energy transfer…and that’s what you’re doing when you greet a stranger with a high level of positive energy. You’re giving them some of that positive energy and making them feel good. Then when they leave, they’ll feel as if they’ve made a friend…and that helps your follow up. If you can master this during your real estate open houses, then you will see an improved response both during the open house and when following up afterwards.
5. Always Sell The House You’re In
Don’t forget why you’re there in the first place. A seller has agreed to hold an Open House to attract buyers to their property. That seller is your first responsibility and if you don’t honor that, you’re not doing right by that seller (whether or not it’s your listing).
The thing is that guests also expect to be asked about their interest in the house so confront that and don’t be awkward about.
If you are talking with some buyers that appear to have an even remote amount of interest in the property, then directly ask them, “What do you think, do you want to write an offer on this house?”. Some people will laugh at you and say they are not even close to ready to buy, and others will seriously consider making an offer.
Regardless of if these are the buyers for this house, the question itself is a great way to open up other conversations about the local inventory, what the buyer’s plans are, what they are looking for in a home and how you can help them in the process. With all of our great tips, the one piece of open house advice that we keep going back to is that open houses are a fantastic place to get new prospects AND to understand more about how you can help them with their real estate needs. In one conversation solid Open House conversation, you can fast track that client relationship. Using their interest in the current property is a great way to launch into that…and you’re expected to gauge that interest so don’t be shy.
6. Put In The Time
If doing Open Houses is an important part of your prospecting, you need to commit to it. That means time. Make it part of your regular schedule…after all if it’s not on your schedule, it doesn’t really exist. If doing Open Houses is the main way you’re getting new clients, spend about 40-80 hours a month doing open houses.
Yes you’re going to lose quite a few weekends to this, but sacrifices need to be made when you’re building out your book of business…so you may need to skip a few brunches and football games.
Set goals for yourself to do six open houses a month. Then try to push towards 16 or even 20 open houses a month. Some teams will challenge their rookie agents to do 100 open houses in 100 days? Yes, this is actually possible when you consider weekdays AND that if scheduled correctly, you can do two Open Houses per day on Saturday and Sunday. Warning: Your marriage may not survive but you’ll have a database of prospects that should keep you busy for a very long time after the divorce is finalized.
Ok so maybe 100 Open Houses in 100 days is more suited to the young and single, but the point is that prospecting is a numbers game so think about maxing out your Open House dance card to achieve those numbers.
7.Be An Expert In The Marketplace
Demonstrating value as a realtors takes many forms, but market knowledge is one that is a must-have. This type of deep market knowledge can make agents valuable in ways that a Google search could never replace. The flip side is that lack of market knowledge is a sure way for an agent to lose credibility quickly.
So whether you refer to your market as one or many zip codes, there is some info that you’ve got to be able to have ready at all times.
Here are a few of the most important questions that you should have answers to at all times.
- How many houses sell a year?
- How many houses are on the market?
- How many are pending or under contract. For those, how many offers did the agent get? Did they go over asking?
- What listings are coming soon?
- Which were recently canceled?
- How many are SFRs?
- What’s the median price?
- Is it going up or down?
- Public and Private Schools with Great Ratings
- Best restaurants, parks, activities, golf courses
- Traffic routes current and planned
- Average driving distance and time to key locations that people would want to visit
- Major Companies Currently, new companies coming, existing companies expanding or contracting…by how many employees…and what does that do the local home prices?
- Current interest rates for all the loan products relevant to price points in your market
Knowing the answers to the above questions isn’t just trivia to impress potential clients. It’s part of having a real estate discussion with people both in your sphere of influence and at an Open House. Knowing this information lets agents have a conversation that builds further and further towards a complete understanding of a client’s real estate needs. Achieving that understanding gives agents invaluable information when representing clients and delivering successful results.
8. Make A Facebook Event To Promote The Open House
Digital marketers have already proven the power of a cohesive social media strategy that involves Facebook groups, going live on Facebook & Instagram, and experimenting with the ever growing feature set within these platforms. Similarly tech savvy agents are using these platforms to boost their lead generation and brand awareness.
One of our favorite social media marketing ideas that are specific to Open Houses is for real estate agents to create a Facebook event for each open house.
The Facebook event should contain photos, information about the property, as well as timings for the Open House. The event will become much easier for people to put on their schedule and Facebook will send event reminders, as well as, promote the event to connections of the people that expressed interest.
Facebook also facilitates communication before, during, and after the open house so you can be sure to provide important information leading up to the Open House and follow up afterwards. You can also “go live” and broadcast the Open House on Facebook or give a preview of the property to encourage people to sign-up for the event.
Remember, when we said that you want to place 25 to 35 open house signs around the neighborhood? Well consider this Facebook event a complement to those signs. Sorry it doesn’t count towards the 25 recommended physical signs…but this digital “sign” may turn out to attract and engage even more attendees if you’re marketing it creatively.
9. Flash Cards for Pointing Out Key Features
Some people that come to an open house want to be left alone to walk around the house and take it all in for themselves. This can be hard for a real estate agent because there will be key features about the home that the prospect is sure to miss.
Whether it’s the crown molding, the heart of pine floors, the gas fireplace, or the smart home features, even a live tour by the agent could overlook a key feature. To minimize this, we’ve seen many agents find success with placing index cards around the house to list all of the key features.
You should make sure that the index cards are nice looking and that the handwriting is easy to read. You don’t need to place them everywhere in the property, but make sure that you highlight areas that most buyers would consider important…especially the ones that may be easy to miss as buyers make their way through the Open House.
10.Program Alexa To Answer Basic Questions About The Open House
If you want to demonstrate your geekiness and overall smarts, here’s a tip that could really impress more techy guests.
Set up a voice assistant, like Alexa, to answer some basic questions about the house. You can let your open house guests know that, if you’re occupied, Alexa is there to answer any questions they may have. Combine this tip with the last one and use a notecard to explain how to use Alexa and the types of questions they can ask.
Here are a few questions that you can program into Alexa:
- How large is the lot?
- When was the house built?
- What are the property taxes?
- What’s the best nearby restaurant?
- What’s the local elementary/middle/high school?
- What’s the walk score?
- How long have the current owners lived in the house?
- Who is the best local realtor? ; )
11.Use A Sign In App
We saved the best for last. We mentioned how important it is to grab the attention of a person when they walk through the door to your real estate open house, but it’s also extremely important to get their information.
Afterall, what’s the point of all that rapport building and showing off local expertise, if you never meet the guest again.
Getting each guest’s contact info is just part of the Open House prospecting process, but nowadays traditional paper and pen sign in sheets just won’t cut it. Handwriting has gotten worse and readability is at its worst when the visitor thinks their info may make its way into an email marketing tool. Coincidence? We think not.
Curb Hero helps you spend much less time decoding bad handwriting and more time on the higher value activities that will move the needle on your business. In addition to having the potential buyers’ information loaded into your app, Curb Hero let’s agents send automated text follow up messages AND syncs lead contact information to 2000+ CRMs and marketing platforms.
With Curb Hero there’s also plenty of customization so agents can select their logo, property photos, color palette, custom questions, and follow up text messages. Agents that use Curb Hero’s Open House sign-in app are projecting a more modern approach that incorporates technology to streamline the guest sign-in experience. That reflects well on the agent with prospective clients…especially since software savviness is increasingly expected of real estate agents.
All of our open house suggestions gave you tips and ideas to help you make sure you attract people and provide them with the information they need…and this last one makes sure that you can effectively build a relationship with those same people.
Also don’t make the mistake of giving your Open House visitors the choice between the digital and handwritten sign-in options. Why? Because you’re letting your visitor’s bad habits (and even worse handwriting) decide how efficient you can be. Given a choice they’ll be much more comfortable scribbling “Mickey Mouse” on a sheet of paper like they always have. And while that’s always been good for a chuckle, it’s not helping your business.
Trust us…the first time you offer just a digital sign-in, you’ll be surprised. The majority of your visitors will discover that the digital option is actually much better. Many will admire your branding and tech savvy approach. Others will appreciate how their info is kept more securely vs a paper sheet where it’s all left in the open.
And if you’re still not ready to go all digital, here’s a compromise: put that sign-in sheet in a drawer so a visitor needs to request it.
(most won’t btw)
Hopefully, our realtor open house tips have given you some motivation to take your next open house to the next level. There are many ways to host an open house, and not all of our suggestions will work with every property…and some may not be a fit given your market. However, there should be a few nuggets for every agent to use in this list. IF you think we missed something, use our live chat feature to let us know!
During an Open House, real estate agents have a unique opportunity that has become increasingly rare as we shift into a digital world. The opportunity is that agents are able to build trust and credibility in person. In a lot of ways it’s a physical hack to the digital world. No matter how each Open House guest discovered that property (google, instagram, zillow, redfin, wandered in from the street, etc), all bets are now off. If that person isn’t already represented by an agent, GAME ON.
Brian Buffini is known for saying, “Real estate is the purest form of entrepreneurship.” and the Open House format, even if dated, is a stage for this entrepreneurship. So get your signs ready 😀