I am conducting my first open house this weekend, any tips or advice I can get would be great, thanks!

Asked by Anthony Cozzitorto Jr., Englewood Cliffs, NJ Fri Nov 2, 2007

Looking for general information regarding conducting an open house

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10
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Fri Nov 2, 2007
I keep an “Open House Bag” that has everything I repeatedly use at an open house. Come prepared. You never know who you will meet.

A few days before, put out a sign rider that announces there will be an OH this “Sunday 1-4"

I carry:
CIS (Extremely important - Read notes later about recent spot checks on this!)
Open House Sign Up Cards or Sign Up Sheet
Extra Pens (They have a way of disappearing.)
Highlighter
Hagstroms Map (Even if I have notebook computer...I still bring a map.)
Mini stapler
Scissors
Blank Contract Forms
Lead Paint Booklets
Biz Cards
General Community Info for the County or Recreation Areas
Pewter Dish to Hold Mints

To my prepared bag, I add....
Listings of similar properties, above and below the price point of the open house
Specific neighborhood info relative to the open house location
Bottled water
Mints

Grab signs, balloons, and perhaps fresh flowers and go..........
Use lots of directionals....Check the town ordinances as they all have different rules. Some allow no directionals; some have limitations. Signs are good and important, but follow the rules or you will find yourself paying fines, or losing signs. Put out as many directionals as you can.

Be knowledgeable about the area, and know the properties for sale in the immediate blocks surrounding the OH, even if the price point is quite a bit different. Recently there were a few instances in NJ, where spot checks on Ohouses caused a few licensees to be fined for failing to hand out a CIS. I was told about this from a few sources. Error on the side of caution and make sure you provide CISs, and soon.

If this is not your listing, arrive a bit early and really get to know the property. Expect that an OH Visitor may ask where the electrical panel is, where the crawl access is. Is it FHA? Where is the hot water heater? What are the taxes? Is this “X” school? Where is the elementary school from here? Spend a few minutes so that you can answer most buyer questions. Sure, if you need to, you can always reference the listing. The more you can simply answer without reading or looking, the better.

I was surprised to hear in this thread that OH visitors were allowed to tour on their own. I take my visitors around, and will not allow them to tour a home unescorted. I remain concerned and responsible for the personal property items. If a home is vacant, I still take them on a tour. Exception: If an agent comes in w/ their client, I establish the fact it is a Realtor.

When touring, utilize that time to exchange information with the OH Visitor. Give a bit of info about the property, and then ask a question. Continue touring, give a bit more info about the property, and ask another question or two. (CIS is important.) This allows you to find out their reaction to the property, if they have a Buyer Agent, how long they have been looking. Your first purpose and obligation for being there is to promote the listed property (even if it is not your listing.) If you establish that the property does not meet their needs, you can then pursue discussions that may create a relationship with you as their Buyer Agent. The more knowledgeable you are about the local listings, the greater chance you will have of establishing yourself as a credible source. If the OH Visitor does not find your OH right for them, perhaps they will find you, as a Buyer Agent, good for them.

Best of Luck! Come back and tell us how it goes.
3 votes
Mr.P, , Arizona
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Anthony,
Join our National Open House This Weekend.
http://www.National-Open-house.com
sign up your clients will appreciate it. Free exposure
check here also
http://www.trulia.com/voices/General_Area/Hey_How_about_A_Re…

At your open house. This always works for me

Sign front yard
OPEN HOUSE- STOP HERE-FREE INFORMATION
* FREE Maps
* INFO on all Open Houses, and Homes for Sale
* Info on Neighborhood
* Info on other areas & Houses
* Free Buying Guide
* Free Loan Info
* New Construction Info
* Your contact info

You want to get them in the house!

Do some research in your area and find the answers and what you need.
Collect every ones email, phone, and what they want. Drip and call.

That sign will be your best friend

Later Gator
3 votes
Carrie Crowe…, Agent, Southaven, MS
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Do your homework before you get there. Know what else is available in the neighborhood or area. That way when you talk about the house you are an expert in the neighborhood. That will get you a long way to making clients out of some of the participants. As far as showcasing the house, have all the lights on, put some fresh flowers out.
2 votes
Brett Dunne -…, Agent, Upland, CA
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Anthony:

Safety first. Have your guests sign in, again for security reasons and lead generation.

Here in S.CAL we use open house signs with balloons or flags on them. We dress professionally. We take inventory of all of the senses when we go to our property open house. How does it smell, look and feel (warm/cold).

You will receive a lot of information to supplement the above, so I will not belabor it. However, remember you are a businessperson and you are there to generate leads. Leads that might buy the property you are holding open or another listing in the area. So be prepared! Know the area listings that are up to 10% more than your listing and up to 15% below. (Most buyers look at what they wish they could buy, not what they can afford)

Enter all leads into your database before you go to bed AND write a personal note to all that you have the address for to mail the next day. Then follow-up, follow-up and follow-through!

Great luck!
2 votes
Greg Kiely, Agent, Newton, MA
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Anthony, congrats! The biggest mistake you can make is not getting accurate contact information from the guests who show up. One trick I use very successfully is printing out individual "guest sign-in" cards. I print out two on a letter sheet of thick card stock so each card is 8.5 x 5.5 in. I have found that each customer is more likely to fill out the card than put a lot of information on a single sheet sign in sheet.

Also, don't follow people around, make sure you make yourself available but make people seek you out for information. Sometimes I don't give a property flier out until someone specifically asks for it, because many times buyers run to it and hide behind it as a way to avoid talking to you.

Finally, know which alternatives are available for the guests to see and suggest that they go to specific properties at your direction. This makes you seem knowledgeable about the market and selfless in your advice.
2 votes
Lori Turoff, Agent, Hoboken, NJ
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Bring a laptop - arrange to have internet access (wifi or through the owner) and be able to look up the answer to anything they want to know right on the spot - especially other listings.
1 vote
Ruthless, , 60558
Fri Nov 2, 2007
I really like the advice of the note cards over the sign in sheet. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone will fill one out and they will not fill in all the information. You still need to do some verbal qualifying and take notes for yourself. Casually ask, "How did you hear about the open house?" Are they just a nosy neighbor or are they a serious buyer? Without them seeing, jot down reminders for yourself such as, "Short bald guy wouldn't answer questions." or "Mom with 4 kids don't know if married."

I agree with "don't follow them around" but don't confuse that with leaving them on their own. You want to take control of the situation. When they arrive, introduce yourself and ask them to sign in. Give them a 30 second commercial about the house and then ask, "How did you heard about the open house?" Jot down (without them seeing) the answers to that question as well. If appropriate, you might want to ask IF they would like a guided tour or if they would rather wander around on their own. Then absolutely say, "Please let me know if you have any questions."

Agents: What do you think about SIGNS for certain details of the home? For example, "Dual Fuel Range offers electric oven and gas stove top." or "Open. Look at all this storage space."

Also, would you leave a walk-in CLEAN closet door open, partially open or closed?

Good luck,
Ruth
1 vote
Dena Parker…, , Tennessee
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Some good advice here. Some things that have not been mentioned: Create a homey aroma by baking some chocolate chip cookies, especially if they have pets! You don't want the home smelling like animals when they walk in! Another thing you need to make sure you do is open up all of the blinds, curtains, etc. Turn on all of the lights. You don't want them walking into any dark rooms. Have your business cards out on the table with your sign-in sheet. I would also have the MLS sheets on other homes for sale in that area. If they say the house is not for them, then you have those other homes that you can talk about or offer to show them. Do a CMA report before going so you know what other homes have gone for, average days on market, the number currently on the market and how they're priced compared to yours, etc. Sometimes you get asked those types of things. You want to appear very knowledgeable on that house (Definitely) but also on the area too. Good luck! I hope you get to work with buyers from it!
Web Reference:  http://homenashvilletn.com
1 vote
Jean Doyle, , Mt Arlington, NJ
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Congrats Anthony! Be safe and Be yourself! Clients like working with someone they feel comfortable. Have MLS sheets on other homes in the area that are a little above in price range and a little below. That way if someone comes from your signs(thus don't know the price) if that house is not for them maybe there is something else out there for them. Follow up in the evening with a call. Thank them for coming. Send a note in the mail as well.
1 vote
Francesca Pa…, , Monmouth Cty NJ
Thu Nov 29, 2007
Always have a blank buyer's contract with you! You never know if someone will want to write an offer on the spot!
0 votes
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