In executing an upscale Open House
My previous career managing and selling Class A motor coach lots left me little to no experience in hosting a traditional open house; but it did teach me how to hobnob with folks in a much higher tax bracket than my own. So without further adieu, I share my 6 steps to executing an upscale Open House, a beautiful 3800 sq ft, 4 bed/3.5 bath home in The Woodlands at Malbis, an affluent neighborhood where my subject property, selling for $650k was the LEAST expensive on the market.
In the days leading up to the event:
Step One: Digital Advertising
I’m on a real estate team, which means I pay a steeper commission to my brokerage to be part of a 14-person team that works aggressively to drive production of sales transactions. To keep our focus & efforts on working with clients to buy & sell property, we’re given extensive tools that I would otherwise have to pay out of pocket to procure: personal MLS website; digital & printed marketing materials; admin staff to enter & maintain listings; professional photography, etc. So without even asking, I was grateful our digital guru, Cory, saw my open house on the schedule, noted the price point, and automatically shared the Facebook ad by tagging me, which allowed me to easily share on my own page for more exposure. If you’re not equipped with a digital team guru, an easy go-to for quick ads is an inexpensive online option called Fiverr. For just $5, you can send your ad request and pay this nominal fee for a custom design.
Step Two: Old Fashioned Door Knocking
Yes, you heard me right. Go door knocking… I managed to find the courage to do it & so can you! It’s helpful that my Facebook circle knows about my open house, but they’re not really my target audience considering the price of this home. And I did a Facebook Live Video that talked about the door knocking experience for added leverage but, my Facebook audience is not filled with people searching for homes of this price tag.
Yes, I do have affluent friends, but they’re not investing $650k in estate homes. So, I had to hit the streets of the subject neighborhood, and well- invite the neighbors! After all, who wouldn’t want to help pick out their future neighbors by inviting potential friends to become my potential home-buying clients. I went with a simply script, “Hi, my name is Courtney w/ Jason Will Real Estate. I wanted to invite you to join me at your neighbor’s home where I’ll be hosting an open house, 2-4pm. Please stop by & bring a friend!” I also provided my card, a copy of the flier and a complimentary CMA. (Competitive Market Analysis). I was able to connect with about 30% of the neighbors. And I’ll add that honestly- none of them attended; BUT-you never know what seed I may have planted. And I got one step closer to conquering my fear of rejection… a very valuable tool in this industry.
Open House Day
Step Three: Showtime Sparkle
Make sure the home is ready to be shared with strangers. Fortunately, I met with the owners the day before and felt confident they would do me proud, which I was. After hosting family for Thanksgiving, they already had the house in showing condition, decorated with simple holiday decorations, counters decluttered and most importantly- CLEAN! All I had to do was add a few of my own touches & a bluetooth speaker playing easy listening music to help avoid any awkward silences.
Step Four: Signage
Definitely ensure you have signs out 2 days in advance of the event and put some bright silver & gold Dollar General balloons out the day of; but in addition, you need signs on display within the home. The goal of an Open House is obviously to help sell that house to a potential buyer, but the other goal is to connect with people and gain the opportunity to work with them. And if you plan to work with them in the future, it’s important to get their contact info…you can’t rely on simply handing out your business card and leaving the rest to them. Go ahead and fill out the first entry with a friend’s name just to break the ice. The first actual guests will be more inclined to share their info once they see someone else has already done so.
Step Five: Refreshments
While some agents will argue that their efforts to provide refreshments are futile, I wanted to be prepared to match the atmosphere of the upscale home I was holding open. So, rather than just some simple bottled water and candy or cookies, I splurged for mimosas, sparkling water and mozzarella wrapped with assorted Italian meats. Now again I’ll admit some truths- I was not overwhelmed by traffic at my Open House following a long holiday weekend, but the few couples that came through enjoyed the edibles, allowing me to engage my audience longer in a relaxing environment. It turned out this home was a bit higher than these folks were willing to invest, but I had a productive conversation and now know the prize, size & location of their ideal domiciles. So, I may have picked up some future buyers! Again, my goal as a newbie in traditional single-family residential sales is to gain experience, and that was achieved.
Step Six: Smile & Sizzle
The icing on the cake has to be you, the Hosting Realtor! Of course that starts with a smile & an energetic attitude that’s sure to set you up for success. It also helps to dress the part. So knowing the type of clientele this home would bring, I went with a simple, black dress and added some sizzle with my mom’s pearl accessories and swapped my neon-yellow Garmin watch for my silver Fossil. Of course, don’t misread my attempt at putting my best foot forward. You don’t have to have a million dollars to LOOK like a million dollars…I also wore my Target flats which concealed a hole in my tights, but thanks to my sparkling smile and eloquent knowledge of the home & community, no one was the wiser:)