It is the age of superlatives. We have mega millions in the lottery, mega toys for our kids, and mega rolls of bathroom tissue. So what’s a mega open house? And what, if anything, can it do for you?
Consider this. On an average weekend afternoon, you put out a few signs, buy some cookies, sit quietly in your client’s house for 3-4 hours and hope someone shows up. You might get a few curious neighbors, but in these days of virtual home shopping, you may not get much else. Except possibly a stomach ache from eating all those cookies.
Contrast that scenario with the Mega Open House (MOH). But before we move ahead, let us just say that a well-done MOH can bring in anywhere from 20 to 100 prospective buyers, sellers, and other interested parties. All you need is a little buzz. Well, OK, maybe a lot of buzz. Here’s our handy how-to-do-it checklist.
- Promote it–Part 1. Shoot a brief video, 30 seconds to 2 minutes max. You’re standing in front of the property, you describe a few of the property’s key features, give them a quick panoramic exterior view. Then follow with the invite info–date, time, refreshments you’re serving (see below), and a casual “See you Saturday.” Post your video on Facebook, Twitter, your company’s web site, and any other medium you have access to. Email a link to your personal mailing list too.
- Promote it–Part 2. List it everywhere. And this is no ordinary open house. Describe it like it’s a major block party and everyone is invited. Put it on your company’s web site, your personal blog, Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Craig’s List. Next, design and print fliers. Make one for general distribution and another one just for neighbors. Plan a one-hour preview showing for the neighbors, and make it special. For example, if the open house starts at noon, serve mimosas for the neighbors at 11. You want happy, supportive neighbors singing your praises, don’t you?
- Plan the party. Depending on the time of year, you can have a seasonal theme, such as Halloween or Independence Day. This makes food and drink selections easier. You could even import a popular food truck or plan a visit from the mobile ice cream vendor. Have some music going on. Keep it tame (remember the neighbors), just use it to establish a party mood. Your teenage son’s garage band–probably not a good idea.
- Create a visual. Find a central location or high traffic area in the house and bring in a portable bulletin board. Post a map of the area, highlighting locations of interest, such as parks, schools, or community centers. And shopping areas, of course. Include a list of comparable sales in the area, information about city government, and notes or photographs about anything that makes this property and this neighborhood unique. Add seasonal photographs of the property. The sunflowers that bloom in August will look warm and welcoming in the middle of January!
- It’s MOH Day. Make sure you have plenty of signs. You know where to position them for maximum exposure but start at the farthest point from the property and work your way back or curious visitors may beat you to the front door. Balloons or flags are great attention getters, in addition to your signs. Arrive on site early, so you can run a last minute check of the food and the house, and be relaxed and smiling when your guests arrive.
- Work the room. Greet all comers personally. If you have your team with you, make sure they do the same and see that everyone gets registered. Having some tablets with electronic forms ready to complete will facilitate this process. Make sure you and your team control the flow. Offer tours, if appropriate. Be a listener, not a talker. Find out what your visitors want, what motivates them to buy or sell. Don’t get stuck in a conversation about someone else’s potential listing. Set up an appointment for later, and go back to your guests.
- Follow up. Make sure all the leads are entered into your contact management system the next day. Update information on contacts you already have. Send “thanks for coming” emails and follow up by phone with any hot prospects you’ve spotted.
- Relax. You’ve done a great job, and it will pay off. Yes, a Mega Open House is a lot of work. But the returns are well worth the effort. And it’s a lot more fun than sitting in an empty house playing Solitaire on your tablet, isn’t it?