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14 September 2014

5 Things to Consider On Open House Days

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“Everybody else can be doing their open houses at 10, but guess what, we’re going to be taking our open houses to 11.” 

– Karlton Utter (and Spinal Tap)

It’s Open House Day! You’ve already done all the prep work to get here, but here’s a quick list of five things to consider on the day of your open house.

  1. Safety.
    You don’t want any mishaps, injuries or thefts. Bring a partner if you expect a large number of guests. Limit the number of attendees entering the home if it gets too big. For privacy, remove all family photos to keep the owners anonymous. Make sure the homeowners lock up the valuables, including the pharmaceuticals. And when it’s over, always remember to lock all doors and windows.
  2. Signage.
    Check your ordinances first, of course, but on open house days, you’re free to put out as many signs as you want – visibility draws people in. Directional arrows and balloons – they catch people’s attention. A handy rule of thumb is putting out a minimum of eight signs with three balloons per sign. Since you’re at it – blow up some extra balloons for any kids that have been dragged along. And get them up early the day of – if your open house is at 1 p.m., get those signs up by 9 or 9:30 a.m. that day. Don’t lose a day of free branding!
  3. Curb appeal.
    Beyond making sure the clients have already done the lawn and garden maintenance – make the house as welcoming as possible. Try to make it look like there’s plenty of parking, try not to park your car or the sellers’ cars in the driveway. Use a branded or customized welcome mat, or doorpost signs. During nice weather, you can place some chairs outside, maybe even a snack table, to make it more inviting.
  4. Aesthetics.
    An attractive house is a well-lit house – open all drapery and turn on the lights, make it as bright as possible. Play soft music – nothing too genre or polarizing. You don’t want to distract from the task at hand. Set the dining room table, right down to adding a centerpiece.  Create an ambiance that is comforting and homey – set the thermostat two degrees warmer or colder than usual.
  5. Your virtual office.
    If you want it handy (and you should!), have your technology already connected by show time. That means your wifi connection set up, and your mobile device or laptop connected to monitors.  Have your paperwork at the ready – that includes a sign-in sheet out and visible, your business cards, any seller disclosures, and neighborhood information. Definitely keep a printed out copy of the contract on hand to show that these sellers are ready to sell that day.

So that’s the prep work. When the magic hour begins, make sure that you:

  • Greet people at the door. Don’t make attendees knock on the door. Open the door for them, shake their hands and welcome them in.
  • Know the inventory. Do your homework, previewing homes around the area, know your “bounce-off” properties.
  • Know your scripts. These will always change – be ready to react and revise if it starts to sound too scripted, or the approach doesn’t work for you.
  • Ask questions. Don’t go straight into sales mode – get out of the habit of showing and telling, but asking questions to find out what they’re looking for. Remember, it’s not necessarily about the features that they can see for themselves, it’s more about the benefits. You’re creating the relationship by learning what’s important to them, and showcasing the features by asking questions, not by hard-selling them.

Finally, make sure to follow up with every single person who attended your open house – no judgments on who is a “good contact” and who isn’t. Everyone’s a viable prospect until they tell you they’re not!

Don’t treat the open house as just a home viewing, but use it wisely as a time to make connections with people and grow your client base. If you come away from your event with lots of contacts and prospects, you know you’ve rocked your open house!

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