Great question and if you are ready to work for it, this answer will change your career forever!
Open Houses are the very best way for a new agent (or old agent that needs a little boost) to increase the number and quality of buyers and sellers to work with. I have an 8 step, golden plan for success.
1. Preview all of the homes in the neighborhood/immediate area where are doing your open house the week before.
Make special note of which properties have interesting features, pool, master bedroom down, 2 masters, guest quarters, amazing garden, etc. Also note which properties are easier to show on short notice- vacant, etc.
2. Create 5 to 10 listing books with 1/2" clear View 3 ring binders. Buy the more expensive plastic heavy weight sheet protectors (Box of 50 is $12.29) Create a 8 1/2" x 11" insert for the front of the binder with your photo, company logo, and all of your contact information. Inside the binder put a flyer for the property you are doing the open house on with any sellers disclosure, survey, features and benefits, utility costs, walkscore.com report, etc. place these sheets inside the binder front flap. The binder plastic sheet protectors place back to back all of the properties in the immediate area with a map showing each location if your MLS system makes it easy to provide.
3. Buy balloons the week before. You can buy them in bulk online. Make sure to get the "Qualatex" brand. They are made with a better quality material and stay aloft longer than the cheap balloons that most party stores sell. I like yellow or red . or a color that matches your company logo. Again start at the property, but put the balloons in groups of 2 or three (to make sure that if one pops, you have a backup waving in the wind). More balloons is better. They act like a fishing lure. Motion motivates something primal in us. We see it from a great distance and are drawn to it. Go to your local grocery store to the flower department. Ask them for the Realtor rate...or offer $.50/per balloon. They generally will blow them up, put on the strings, and put them into a bag for easy transport for you. Let them do it, you canâ€™t really do it cheaper and they seem to have the skills down to get it done quickly on the morning of your open house.
4. Put up lots of signs. Start at the property that you are doing the open house on, and go out from there. You do this so if you run short on signs, they can at least find the property as they get closer to it. The more signs will also help you catch more lookers and more sellers watching you work harder than most agents.
5. Put the open house in the MLS system early in the week. This way possible buyers will see it online and want to come see it the day of and donâ€™t call another possible agent to show it to themâ€¦.this will increase your odds that you find a buyer.
6. Host the open house from 11am to 5pm and be prepared to stay and extra 30-45 minutes if the buyers keep coming. My experience shows that buyers come between 11am and 2pm and then there is a lullâ€¦and then a new flight of buyers comes between 3:30 and 5:30pm. Many times buyers that come early will go to lunch and then bring back a friend, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, mother-in-law, or other assistant decision influencer to the property for a second look.
7. Donâ€™t be afraid to give out the listing books you have created. The goal is for all of them to be gone by the end of the day. You will get a sense at how serious a buyer is and if they are connected to the neighborhood. Make sure to hold 2-3 back for the second rush that comes later in the afternoon, but donâ€™t hesitate to give a book out when you think there is a possibility. If they are working with an agent already (and have signed an agreement) give them the regular open house flyerâ€¦no books for these folks. Let their agent do the homework for them. The best thing about the books is when they leave; they now donâ€™t have to call another agent in the immediate area to find out the price. They have it alreadyâ€¦.they will also keep the binder. They find them to have value and canâ€™t seem to part with them. Many times my clients will come back to me with the binder from our initial meeting and use it to hold other agents flyers and the documents relative to them buying a new houseâ€¦.
8. You can keep a sign in sheet, but I have found them less than useful. All of the agents use them. Many of the buyers will put a fake email address down or a phony cell number. They also seem to get annoyed when you call them later. I canâ€™t tell you the number of times that a buyer asks me where the sign in sheet isâ€¦â€¦and I ask them (half teasing) â€¦.do you want me to call you? I show them my sheet. It shows marks to count them buyers that have come throughâ€¦.the sellers only care about the one buyer and how many people came through for feedback. The names and contacts donâ€™t mean anything if they arenâ€™t willing to work with you.