Best of Luck,
2) Redfin site, if your Company does not block that field. If you put the Open Sunday in the Open House section of the mls, it should show as Open on many public sites. Some companies block their agents from that field. I've seen some JLS offices permit the Open House to show on all public sites, while many do not.
Put the Open House in, wait a couple of days and check Redfin for the little Open House sign. If it doesn't show, first call Matt Goyer at Redfin and see if it is an mls glitch. If it is a block by your broker, you may want to have a meeting about that due to current market conditions.
Many buyers use Redfin as a search tool, even if they are not using Redfin. Best to show as an Open House on that site.
I have sold several properties at Open Houses by allowing a buyer without an agent to negotiate the buyer agent fee, if they buy as a result of the Open House. Like an Open House discount. Clearly not a good idea to turn buyers away by refusing to work with certain business models as to commissions or public open house fields.
1) Create email flyers and send to your sphere, any agent who has shown the home already with a personal note, any other agent email list you have.
2) Pass out flyers in the neighborhood a couple of days in advance.
3) Put an "Open House" sign with day/time in the yard a few days in advance.
4) Advertise on all free websites as mentioned previously.
5) Use lots of Open House directional signs with balloons. Borrow some if need be to get traffic from as many main roads as possible.
6) Don't waste money on newspaper ads!
I have a different opinion and think open houses may be very effective depending on the location and house. I would advertise on your Company's website that it is open, Trulia and on your web page. I have very good traffic at open houses and regularly sit new construction open houses. You may certainly want to canvas the neighborhood as you have suggested. Neighbors often attend open houses and may know someone who might be interested. I find that the most successful open houses are easy access from main roads, use lots of signs (you may want to put "open house" insert inside your A boards). I definitely ask for feedback from anyone attending and pass this on to seller.
I agree that the internet is where most buyers are first viewing the homes but many are still reluctant to make an appointment with an agent to see the home and prefer a non-threatening viewing. I will not hold the house open unless it is showcased and in immaculate condition. I do explain to the seller that this is only one venue to sell their house and if activity is not good then I will not continue to use this as an avenue to sell the house. Riders on the sign that say "open Sat/Sun 1-4 are a good idea. I think we each have a special talent in marketing properties and if we do not feel open houses are productive we will not be very good expending our time doing so.
Some stands out strategies include:
Creating a Digital Home Listing Magazine
Creating a Open House FaceBook Business Page
Serving QR Cookies as refreshments
Using an iPad for registration
Videoing a hosted home tour and passing them out as DVDS
Videoing open house attendee feedback for YouTube
I always advise my sellers that too much exposure is just as harmful as little exposure.
Setting the best price and terms that are the best advertisement.
Years ago a sign on the property was one of the best advertisements.
Today when a sign is on the property for over a year it tells the story that it did not sell for a long time.
Attracting buyers with open houses unfortunately is no longer of any significance when the activity does not produce a sale Price sells. How quickly? How good is the deal?
Also consider adjusting the times of your open house to be compatable with the activity.
If the home is still occupied try pairing the open with a yard/garage sale. You get additional traffic and the added bonus of the seller getting some additional stuff out of the home.
Part of the problem is the "real estate" shows on TV all focus on getting everything done and ready for "the open house" like it's the only day the home will sell. In reality, the open house deadline is only there to create drama, usually a shorter period of time than necessary to complete the projects, in an effort to get the viewer sitting on the edge of their seat wondering if the seller will get it all done in time:)
I don't know why a serious buyer would be wandering through open house when if they call their agent and most serious buyers have an agent, they could see several homes in a few hours, on their schedule, using the agents car and gas AND by having their professional representative with them, they will get unbiased statistics and information regarding the home; rather than the listing agents positve, "I represent the seller" version. Which is exactly what a great listing agents version should be, by the way.
I have found that the few people that show up at the open house are:
2. People looking for decorating ideas
3. Peple wanting to see how "the other half" lives
and my personal favorite
4. People that can't buy today, but may buy sometime in the future, so they are getting a head start checking out neighborhoods and price ranges. (Really, they are my favorite, because I can get their info and put them on my "keep informed of the market" list, to build a helping relatuonship.
In the end everyone that seriously wants to look at the home to buy it, can preview it on the web, schedule a time see it ALONE with THEIR agent or the liisting agent.
Last but not least, opening the sellers home to strangers is just not safe. Open houses allow anyone to stop by and have a look at what the seller owns. Ask the seller if they would advertise a party at their home open to the general public. By allowing anyone and everyone access, you cannot pre-qualify them. You have no idea if they are qualified to purchase a home, or if they are just looking to see what they can steal. You also have no time before they show up to see if they are criminals, sex offenders or just plain creepy. If you do an open house make sure you have someone else there with you for safety.
That last paragraph gives me an idea, if you want LOTS of people to show up to your open house, why not advertise it as "a party" open to the public? Since most of the people that show up aren't qualified buyers anyway, what can it hurt :0)
Ads only work as much as the person posting it. Bad ads and people skip it.
Want a really good method to draw buyers? put out 30 plus signs. from the freeway exits all the way to your listing and hold the open all day long from unconventional times of 9am til 6 pm. and don't let the buyers leave your doorstep without you getting their cell number and an appointment !!
Also, why limit yourself by targeting the traditional buyer? Why not also take a moment to learn to target investors (especially non-local ones) too?
Beyond that, make sure you have a very visible location, lots of traffic on nearby streets, and an excellent price on your listing.
I think that you can have a wildly successul Open House if you approach it as a project similar to staging a trade show. I wrote a blog post about that recently ... the link appears below for "13 Steps to a Successful Open House."
But....being in this transition phase...we're stuck... sellers who are accustomed to how things were done old school believe in open houses cause perhaps that's how they found their house back in the day. The reality of it is... most open house attendees are looky-loos and neighbors. The serious buyers usually have an agent that's showing them. ....so ... to answer your question... ..there are likely no more tried and true ways to get potential buyers to attend open houses. Buyers in general simply don't view open houses like sellers want to view them.