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Neil Mathweg's Blog

By Neil Mathweg | Agent in Sun Prairie, WI

5 Ways Homeowners Are Selling Without Doing An Open House

Preparing for an open house is a daunting task. We all know this. But it’s even more daunting when you consider that only 1% of houses sell as a result of an open house. Yes, that’s correct … only 1%.

Ask most agents, and they will tell you that your house isn’t going to sell during that open house. They host them anyway, however, because they want to show you that they are doing something, and because it will benefit their book of business. The truth is open houses are a great way for real estate agents to meet your neighbors and tomorrow’s buyers. I know this first hand as I hosted an open house every Sunday for the first six years of my career. At that point I had sold hundreds of houses. Looking back, I realized that not one of those houses sold as a result of an open house. I never had someone come to an open house and say, “I’ll take it.” But, along the way, I met many great people who later became clients. That helped me, but it doesn’t help you as a seller. And if you’re selling your house on your own (FSBO), an open house might be your only option to get buyers through your house. But, as a rule, you don’t get qualified buyers. Instead you get tire kickers–tomorrow’s buyers, but not the people you need to talk to today. It makes you ask yourself, “Why I am even doing open houses?”

To effectively sell your home, you need to realize this basic fact: Most buyers today hire a buyer’s agent, devise a plan and go on tours of houses listed on the MLS with their REALTOR. They can search the MLS online and don’t need to rely on open houses to find the inventory.

Over the years, I’ve learned that open houses don’t sell houses. But doing these 5 things will:

1) Make sure your house looks amazing on the MLS

Buyers conduct their first showing online. Be proactive and do the work up front. Rent a storage unit. Declutter. Get ready to move. Then properly stage your furniture to bring out your property’s best features. Hire a professional real estate photographer to capture the beauty of your property. Don’t skimp on this. Don’t take pictures with your phone. When a buyer is looking at your house online, they are narrowing their search from 50 homes down to 10-20.  You want to make the cut, and great photos will help you do it. By the way, in case this isn’t obvious, you need to be on the MLS. If you are going go FSBO, make sure you at least go on the MLS.

2) Price your property with even numbers

By pricing your home with even numbers you will rank higher on your buyer’s search. If you price your home at $200,000 and your buyer puts $200,000 at the top of their price range, when the list populates from highest to lowest, your house will be first on the list. And, just like a Google search, you want to be at the top of the page. It works the other way also. If $200,000 is at the bottom of a buyer’s price range–say they’re looking at homes between $200,000 and $215,000, your house won’t appear on their search if you are priced at $199,900. You’ll miss their bottom number by only $100, but you won’t be on their list.

3) Being absent for showings

Buyers are not coming to see you. They want to see your property. They don’t want a seller following them around the house. It’s awkward, and buyers will quickly go the other way. If you ask buyers, they hate looking at FSBO homes.They feel much more comfortable with a REALTOR present. If you are going to list FSBO, setup a lock box and let the agents show your house.

4) Produce a video tour of your property

Again, your first showing is happening online. Produce a walk-through tour of your house and post it on YouTube. Then embed the YouTube video onto the website that is hosting your listing, on your Facebook page, and any place else you can. Don’t just splice pictures together. Walk through the property like you are giving them a virtual tour. Here is an example :

5) Implement an offline marketing system that captures your buyer’s inquiry

In today’s tech-driven world, we often forget about the systems available to meet buyers offline. I’m talking about brochure boxes.  And please, if you’re going to use a brochure box, make sure you keep brochures in it. When it rains, replace the wet ones! Besides brochure boxes, you must have a way to capture the buyers. Here’s how you do it: Buyers want the price. You as the seller want to talk to the buyer. So leave the price off the brochure and and invite the buyer to call you for the price. Unfortunately, buyers are reluctant to call you for the price. Here’s how you get around that: Implement a system where the buyer feels comfortable calling you. Do this by setting up a 24-hour recorded message for them to call or text for more information. Whatever you do, don’t direct them to a website. You want them to call or text you.

To learn more about these systems, please call me at 608-837-7171. I would love to help you in any way I can. Remember you CAN sell your home without doing an open house. In fact 99% of the time, that’s exactly what you will do.

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