First Things First: The Preparation Stage
- The success of any property assessment boils down to one simple question: “Who is right for this property?” What sort of buyer would this particular property suit best? The better you become at answering this question, the faster and quicker the earnings will follow.
- Send invitations to your existing client database via social media, email or text to view the property. Be sure to include a photo and a few key details.
- Record a video showing off the property, post on social media and send to your database. Be sure to keep it short and sweet, and if you can, add some titles describing the key features. Remember many people will view video without sound, so make it easier for them to understand what they’re seeing.
- You, the real estate agent, need to drive foot traffic through the open home. Unfortunately it’s a rare listing that will be inundated with interest from you simply throwing up a sign and sitting back to wait for the thunder of viewing feet.
- Knock on doors in the surrounding area, introduce yourself with a friendly smile and let them know about the property you have for sale. You never know who might know someone who knows someone looking for real estate in that exact area, or for that exact type of property. At the very least, you’ll make a good impression and create another opportunity to promote your fantastic real estate agent service.
- Advertise your open home. Our research shows a solid trend towards potential buyers mostly viewing real estate agent listings online, so this is where you should be allocating your advertising money.
- Erect open home signs. Again, our research shows these do get noticed, so put up as many as you can legally get away with!
- Think about holding a special preview event for invited guests. Provide food and drinks and allow people to explore the property. Send an invitation out with an RSVP. Offer a prize draw for anyone who RSVPs and attends the viewing, and support another local business by giving the winner one of their vouchers, or a hamper, or a bottle of wine.
- Consider running paid social media advertising where you target a specific audience, eg those in the area in a certain income bracket with a certain number or type of family members. The advantage with social media is the ability for potential viewers to share or tag their contacts, thereby widening your reach.
- Start your marketing for the open home at least 3 days prior. Use your social media channels, real estate agent listing sites, your email or text database, as well as personal invitations to neighbours and other contacts. Encourage potential viewers to reach out to you if they can’t make it; they may be keen on scheduling a private appointment to view the property at another time.
- Don’t skip the preparation stages of promoting your listing. If you’re new to the real estate game, you’ll have the time, and even if you’re a busier agent who can only devote part of your time to the preparation stage, you know that ‘filling your funnel’ by getting a maximum number of potential viewers and buyers through the property will vastly increase your chances of a quick final sale. At the end of the day, you only need one buyer for a successful sale.
Next Up: Setting The Scene
- A prepared real estate agent should be at the property about an hour before the scheduled open home time, giving you plenty of time up your sleeve so you don’t have to rush around or feel flustered as people arrive. Some viewers do get there early, so you’ll also be able to take advantage of every opportunity that walks through the open home door if you give yourself plenty of time.
- Your home seller will appreciate any small touches you can make; perhaps a few extra toys or accessories for childrens’ rooms, freshly-baked biscuits on attractive platters or complimentary chocolates in a bowl, or a fresh flower arrangement. Quiet and appropriate background music can work well if the home is fitted with a sound system, but do discuss this with your vendor first.
- Switch on all the lights, open interior doors, curtains and blinds to make the home seem as light and bright as possible.
- Properties sometimes need a little airing too, especially if they’ve been vacant. Use fresh flowers or a discreet essential oil burner to freshen up the space. Resist the temptation to spray air freshener, as people can be sensitve and they can often make an odorous situation more noticeable.
It’s On! What Not To Miss During The Open Home
- You probably already know how vital it is to collect viewers’ details. Not only does this information help you give your client (the seller) an idea of how many people came through, it also allows you to build up your real estate customer database. Viewers resisting? Don’t be annoyed, just paste on your friendliest smile and explain that your client would like to have a record of everyone who enters their home for security purposes.
- Use a little covert distraction by filling in a few generic names on the top of the viewing list. This helps people feel more confident to fill out their own information, as well as building an impression that the property has been a popular one to view.
- Conversation comes before commission. Success in real estate is all about building relationships, so don’t skimp on the charm! Yes, you are probably going to have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your purchasing prince or princess, but what say you think of all those dud conversations as training for the moment you meet your eventual buyer?
- Around half of the people who list their home for sale have no pre-existing relationship with a real estate agent before they do so. Keep in touch with the people in your database and nurture those relationships… one day they’ll be in a position to sell their home, and who will they think to call? (Yep, that’s right… you.)
- Imagine you’re at a social event, and your potential buyer is someone you’d like to strike up a conversation with. You wouldn’t bombard them with details about yourself, or launch into a monologue. Be cool, be calm and think of ‘dripping questions’ rather than a full assault.
Ten Ways To Engage An Open Home Viewer:
- Get yourself into the right frame of mind before the open home, put your frustrations or woes or the argument you just had with your partner out of your mind so you can be welcoming and pleasant as you invite the viewer to fill out their details.
Say something like, “Feel free to look around and if you have any questions, I’m right here.”
- Give them a little space to orient themselves while you keep busy with some minor activity. Don’t stare at them or have a loud, intrusive conversation on your mobile!
- Your viewer will likely relax once they see you’re not going to pounce. When there is an opportunity (perhaps when they look at you and smile, or when they drift back to the room you’re in) ask them what kind of property they’re looking for, is it for themselves or for an investment? (Add notes on any information you gather to your database because it may be you have another listing that would suit them if this one doesn’t.) What does their ideal house look like? Let them know that you get to see lots of properties before they’re listed, and you’d be happy to show them anything else that comes up that might suit.
- Try to match the selling points of the house to the viewing party. Eg point out multiple living spaces to larger families or those with teenagers, or safety features for younger families, or versatile rooms that may be used in multiple ways such as a study or office that could also be a music room, or even a darkroom.
- Don’t be afraid to be direct. Ask them what they think of the property, would it suit their purposes? If not, ask how long they’ve been looking, how soon they want to move, whether they live in the area or if they have already sorted out finance. People appreciate it when others take a genuine interest in them, so try to keep that at the top of your mind.
Your motivation should be first and foremost to match buyer and seller with an amazing new property that will delight them both. Your real estate rewards (customer satisfaction and income) will follow.
- You’ve already done your homework and know the area well so you’ll be able to help your viewer with information about school zones or neighbourhood amenities, bus stops and access to motorways etc.
- Some viewers will be ‘just having a nosey’; they may even be neighbours. Be consistent in your attitude to every viewer (don’t let your smile drop when you realise they are not likely to be The One!) because you never
- know who might be looking to upsize or downsize, or who knows someone who knows someone… etc. Go the extra mile to make neighbours or other sticky beaks feel welcome and entitled to look, they’ll be grateful to you for it, and you can easily plant a seed for them to think about who they know who just may love this property.
- Make sure you have all the information about the local community your viewers may want to know, and that you’ve specifically asked your clients what they enjoyed about living in the area. What’s within walking distance? What is there to do in the area? Be aware of any future developments in the pipeline that may affect a buyer’s decision.
- If the viewer asks a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t make something up! Let them know you’ll find out the answer for them as soon as you can. They’ll appreciate your honesty.
And Finally: The Fortune’s In The Follow-up
21. It’s pretty unusual to hook the right buyer on the strength of one open home visit, so following up with viewers and interested parties is another vital part of a successful real estate equation.
22. Call viewers later on that day, or the next day. However your exchange went at the open home, tell them, “Thanks so much for coming, and I’m sorry I couldn’t spend more time with you, is there anything more you’d like to know about the property, or anything else I can help you with?” Even if the viewer did have a large chunk of time with you, they’ll appreciate and feel special when you express that you would have liked to give them more.
23. Mention any relevant details or answer any questions you couldn’t answer during your previous conversation.
24. Again, stay friendly and pleasant, but be direct. You need to know if they’re in the market for this particular property or if they are open to you helping them find what they do want. If you haven’t already, discuss what they’re looking for, how long they’ve been looking, where they are at with finance and/or sale of their current home. The relationship you establish could even lead to another listing!
25. Put the viewers’ details into your database, but don’t be the real estate agent who skips the phone call for the sake of a text or email. When you call, even if it’s only to leave a message, you reinforce the impression you made at the open home, which further establishes your relationship with the viewer. Emails can be useful at times, but they can’t replace person-to-person contact, and people all too often overlook or ignore them.
26. Nervous about calling? It’s perfectly natural. But keep in mind you’re working to serve and to help these potential buyers find the real estate they’re looking for. The ease with which you can establish rapport will help you feel more confident to ask direct questions. Ask a friend to role play with you to get your approach right; the more calls you make, the better you’ll get.
So if you’re brand new to the real estate business, or perhaps a bit longer in the tooth, refreshing and refining your process around open homes could reap plenty of rewards. A smooth, consistent approach will help grow your confidence to build beneficial relationships, create endless opportunities, give you more enriching career experiences and ultimately, boost your income.