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How to Throw a "Killer" Open

Posted by VIBE Realty on Friday, March 31st, 2023 at 1:57pm.

In a year when so many of us find ourselves ‘getting back to the basics’ of real estate, I can’t help but get sentimental for the return of my dear old friend The Open House. I know many of us have a love-hate relationship with this industry staple, but mine is much more love than hate. You see, Open Houses had me, literally, at “hello.” 

After just getting licensed in early 2015, I was able to hold my first open house at a colleague’s listing on Grand Ave in St. Paul. It was a cute walk-up condo in a high foot-traffic area, and I was sure I was going to get some people through. And, as luck would have it, the very first group to walk through that door, a retired couple relocating from Madison to be close to their adult children, became my very first clients and purchased a condo with me just a month later. Needless to say, I didn’t need much more convincing than that. Open Houses became a staple of my business and one of the founding go-to strategies of VIBE Realty. 

To this day, after selling tens of millions in real estate and coaching and training dozens of real estate agents, I have never come across a lead-generation opportunity with even half the ROI of an open house. It is, quite simply, the single best way to meet a new prospective client who is near or at the point of hiring an agent. I’ve done the math. Not only did I meet my first clients at that open house, I met several other would-be clients that day and can attribute tens of thousands of dollars in commissions to those three hours over the course of the past several years. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the hassles and frustrations of holding an Open House. I know that lugging around clunky signs (my most dreaded part), getting to the home early and hoping your sellers have cleaned properly and are already out the door as they promised, and of course the awkward dance with each visitor…it can be a stress-packed few hours. But planning ahead and having a strategy will surely make it worth your while. 

Here’s a list of the tips and tricks I learned over the years that helped make open houses less stressful, more efficient, and much more successful:

  • Invite the neighbors - it’s a party
    • Yes, actually inviting people to your open house makes a huge difference. And neighbors are reliable and curious. Mail or drop off an invite to the closest 100 homeowners - and you’ll have a great turnout with people who will want to talk to you. Give your sellers a graphic to share on social media, they’re usually willing to help!  
  • Set the mood - music, refreshments, candles
    • Just like with any party, as the host it’s your responsibility to create the mood. That means having enjoyable music going, lighting a candle and/or the fireplace and offering refreshments. For me, wine goes a long way. 
  • Don’t pounce
    • There’s plenty of time to connect with your guests before they leave, give them a little space for the first few seconds and they will be more approachable. 
  • Use a hook 
    • One thing that always worked for me after I introduced myself was “take a look around. I’d love to hear your feedback about the home before you leave. Would you mind?” It works almost every time. I’ve had a line of guests waiting to talk to me because they promised me they’d give me feedback, which is also quite valuable to your seller. 
  • Signs matter
    • If you’re going to take 3-4 hours out of your weekend, make it worth it. A good open house should have 6-10 signs out in the neighborhood. I know it’s a pain, but it’s worth it. 
  • You must have a sign in sheet
    • Again, without a sign in sheet, you’re going to leave empty handed. It’s also helpful to have a sign on the front door that welcomes guests and says “as a courtesy to the seller, please sign in.”
  • Build an “open house kit”
      • Preparation is everything when it comes to an open house. Have an “open house kit” that’s ready to go. It’s stressful to try and think of everything at the last minute, and you’ll surely forget something if you don’t plan ahead. 

Also, if you don’t currently have a listing, ask other agents from your brokerage to host an open at their listing, and have them give you a rundown of the property’s features beforehand. It won’t make any difference to your guests that you’re not the listing agent (but don’t forget, you still represent the seller!) 

Good luck, and we’ll see you out in the wild! 

Rob Glynn is the president and co-founder of VIBE Realty. 

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