Holding an Open House at a New Construction Home
When it comes to free prospecting activities, hosting another agent’s Open House is near the top of a list especially for agents that are still building up their book of past clients and referral partners.
Granted you’re giving up part of your weekend…but you can’t have it all right? All things considered, Open House prospecting has a low barrier of entry and it is a time tested method for hungry agents to build their database effectively.
…but what if you don’t have regular access to listings that you can host Open Houses at? Or what if you’re not thrilled about hunting down a new listing agent every week to ask about hosting an Open House at their property?
Well new construction homes are a great way to achieve the same outcome, BUT using a builder’s model home or spec home for the Open House. Much of the execution of the Open House is actually the same, BUT there are a few significant differences that warrant exploration…so here’s what’s on the docket:
- Can an outside agent host an open house for new construction properties?
- Working with builders to host an Open House at their development
- Getting Buy-in from the Sales Office for Hosting an Open House at a New Construction
- How to Hold a Successful New Construction Open House
Can an outside agent host an Open House for new construction properties?
The answer is often YES but it can depend on the builder, the development, and the sales office.
With the right buy-in outside agents can host an Open House at the builder’s model home. And sometimes the opportunity arises to use a brand new “spec home” for the Open House.
Many agents prefer newly built homes over model homes because they’re actually on the market and not just a showcase home that some buyers may consider not representative of the actual homes in a development.
However times are a changing, and not all developers are going to let another agent swoop in and hold an Open House at their pristine new build…so it may take some understanding of the landscape AND buttering up a builder and their staff.
The last segment of this video has agent Loida Velasquez interviewing an agent that’s developed a speciality working with builders.
Here are the factors to consider to understand if you’re able to hold a new construction Open House.
- builder preference: do they want all prospecting running through their sales office? Or do they only work with an exclusive list of outside agents? These scenarios are becoming more common but it’s not true across the board.
- the specific market: if properties at a development (or at similar) are sitting on the market you can may have a better case for holding the Open House
- relationships between sales office and the builders: Some builders delegate decisions on working with outside agents hosting Open Houses to their sales office…and more specifically the Sales Manager in charge. This is where motivations and personalities can conflict so tread carefully.
Keep in mind that there are often times exceptions especially when you have the right connections. For this reason, building relationships with builders and demonstrating your expertise and marketing prowess might open doors that were initially closed.
Working with Builders to Host an Open House at their Development
When it comes to getting buy-in from a builder to have an Open House at one of their developments, it’s all about building relationships and earning trust which doesn’t happen overnight. The good news is that just a couple of these relationships can result in additional business for years. Review these tips so you can maximize your results and even speed up the process.
- Create a builder shortlist
- Catalog various builders in your market
- Prioritize small to medium-sized builders due to their hands-on nature.
- Prioritize builders who you may be connected to already OR have a mutual connection with
- Conduct builder research
- Learn about shortlisted builders’ past & future projects, specialties and reputation
- Start planning your outreach to these builders including lining up mutual connections that can introduce you
- Conduct product research for shortlisted builders
- Do deep research on developments that are on the market – focusing on projects that are already 30-50% complete, as it will have a good balance of new inventory potential and available show-ready homes.
- Understand how these developments are being advertised and run a full competitive analysis
- Market yourself to shortlisted builders
- Get introduced, try cold outreach (phone and email), attend networking events and participate in local real estate associations so you can maximize the possibilities to get connected with your targets
- Offer land prospecting services to add value and create a win-win collaboration.
- Propose a no-pressure audition
- Offer to market a stagnant property to showcase your marketing skills – see if hosting an Open House there is a possibility
- Also propose door knocking, direct mail, social media marketing tactics to showcase your versatility and overall hustle
Getting Buy-in from the Sales Office for Hosting an Open House at a New Construction
Ok now what if the Sales Office has decision making authority on whether you can host an Open House at a model home?
Any agent that’s hosted an Open House at a new construction property has had to get through the Sales center.
You want the builder’s sales staff on your side. Even if you’re already tight with the builder, getting the sales agents at the office on-board is still highly recommended. And it’s absolutely required IF the sales office is making the decision on which outside agents can host Open Houses on their development.
So how can you get a team of sales agents – some of who believe you’re their competition – on your side? You need to get them to understand how it’s a win-win outcome. So here’s what you do:
- Start by introducing yourself at the sales center – do this multiple times until you think you’ve met enough decision makers there.
- When at the sales center, be curious about the product and suggest that you have some buyers that could be a good fit. Don’t oversell yourself yet and also don’t overpromise when it comes to having buyers. Remember, a little tact can go a long way in establishing a working relationship with the sales team.
- Ask them if interested buyers should be directed to the sales center first (that way sales agents can receive proper credit). This shows your willingness to collaborate and ensures that everyone involved receives the recognition they deserve.
- If you have buyers all the better but if not, try and discuss marketing ideas that won’t step on their toes. For example talk about handing out the development’s marketing collateral at an upcoming community event. Take care to show the sales team that you are professional, capable, trustworthy, and committed to presenting the property in the best possible light. Note: many builder’s expect a certain dress code from their sales agents so you should make sure your meeting that dress code and don’t come off as unprofessional.
- See if you can get enough interest in these ideas OR maybe just build enough rapport with the sales agents to discuss the idea of holding an Open House at one of the properties. Many of these agents have their hands full just meeting their existing lead generation quotas while still being available at the sales center. Promoting and executing an Open House could just sound like more work for them.
- Now it’s time to go in for the kill. Propose a marketing plan for brining net-new visitors to the Open House and remind them that you’ll do the heavy lifting AND give them the proper recognition on the sales side…that’s your win-win.
To secure the opportunity to host an Open House at a development, the support of the development’s sales manager is essential. Approach every interaction with professionalism and organizational prowess. Show the sales team that you are trustworthy, and committed to doing the work required for everyone to benefit. By doing so, you will add a valuable longterm partner for your business.
And if you encounter obstacles, remember persistence and patience are key…just like in client prospecting. Maintain a helpful, ready-to-add-value approach, ensuring you remain top of mind when the sales manager is considering the next agent to collaborate with. By building these bridges and earning their trust, you’ll not only secure the opportunity to host open houses at new construction homes but also lay the foundation for potential future collaborations.
How to Hold a Successful New Construction Open House
Once you’ve got the builder’s approval to hold the Open House it’s just a matter of counting your commission checks right? Well that’d be nice, but unfortunately there’s still a lot to consider. And we’re not going to re-hash our proven Open House Tips (we have a deep dive here). These are Open House tactics that are specific to new construction properties.
Frequency of Hosting Open Houses for New Construction
Once you’ve secured the builder’s approval to host Open Houses at their development, you need to then decide how often you’ll be holding Open Houses. If it’s an open ended opportunity where you can hold the home open as often as you want, make sure you pace yourself and your marketing activities based on the quantity and quality of the visitors.
If your open houses are consistently generating quality leads, then by all means, keep the momentum going or even see about adding more dates and times to your Open House schedule! Consider Open House Times outside of the traditional weekend afternoon too. These are the moments when your prospecting efforts truly pay off.
However, what happens if you find that these Open Houses are resulting in diminishing returns, ease up on the frequency…and revisit your marketing budget. You definitely don’t want to throw good time/money after bad if an Open House at a new construction property isn’t panning out the way you hoped.
What happens with Open House visitors that are ready to make an offer?
First and foremost agents should discuss who keeps the visitor data after an Open House with the builder or their sales manager before holding the Open House. From the agents we’ve heard from in doing our research, builders and developers do not impose any obligation on agents to share the visitor data collected during Open Houses. But make it 100% clear beforehand just in case.
Now what happens when a visitor to your Open House is ready to move ahead and make an offer on a new construction property? Make sure you don’t let the buyer visit the sales office without you. Sounds overprotective right? Well, the reason is that there’s a chance that your representation could be disregarded especially if an eager buyer signs any paperwork that establishes that they are going direct to the sales office for the purchase. It’s unfortunate that things work this way but we’ve heard from agents that were cut out of the transaction entirely because of this.
So if you have an unrepresented buyer that seems interested make sure you prioritize follow up (more so than with typical Open House prospects!) because they may assume that visiting the sales manager on-site is the same as working directly through you.
Note: it’s obviously the buyer’s decision if they want to go direct to the builder’s sales agent (because they perceive that they may get a discount) but they should understand that there’s a difference specifically regarding representation.
Typically when hosting an Open House for another agent, you get to keep the unrepresented prospects and you’d share the visitors that already have agents with the listing agent.
Remember that the Open House visitor data is what you’re building your client database on so treat it seriously…especially when a prospect is ready to take the next step with new construction property.
Firstly, assess the marketing efforts surrounding your open houses. Are you effectively promoting them through various channels, such as social media, online listings, and targeted advertising? The success of an open house can often be influenced by the number of potential buyers reached, so make sure you’re getting the word out to the right audience.
Secondly, consider the current market conditions and demand for new construction in your area. Are there other factors, such as economic shifts or seasonal trends, affecting buyer interest? Understanding the broader market landscape can help you gauge whether a change in approach is required or if you should hold off temporarily until buyer enthusiasm resurfaces.
Lastly, don’t forget to analyze feedback from visitors who attended your open houses. Are there any common concerns or hesitations expressed by potential buyers that you can address and overcome? Gathering valuable insights from those who walked through the doors can provide invaluable guidance on how to improve your open houses and increase their effectiveness.
Remember, the frequency of hosting open houses for new construction homes is ultimately a strategic decision that should be made based on results and analysis. If you find that your efforts are not yielding the desired number of leads or generating genuine interest, it might be time to explore alternative prospecting methods or shift your focus to homes that are generating more traction in the current market.
In the end this tactic is all about effectively building your buyer database. And having a builder that is sitting on a bulk of new housing supply is a great way to attract buyers.
In the ever-evolving world of real estate, trends come and go but one adage that many veteran agents repeat is “the best way to attract buyers is listings”. Hence the strategy of partnering with builders to host Open Houses at new construction properties.
So with persistence, creativity, and a dash of charm, finding opportunities to showcase these brand new homes is within reach. Just remember to lean into the power of relationships, showcase your skills and commitment and then spend the time to develop the trust needed for builders to partner with you.