So far, the 2022 housing market is a sequel to 2021: inventory is still low and listings are tough to come by. However, a million or so homes are still actively for sale, and every state has lifted pandemic restrictions. Which means, everything is open!
If you’re thinking of holding an open house, this article is for you. We’ll tackle the basics of prep and planning, and tips for how to promote and host. We’ll also cover important ways using RPR (Realtors Property Resource) can help you sell this listing (and hopefully line up some new prospects.)
Once you and your client decide to hold an open house, there are a few basics that need to be taken care of and thought out ahead of time. Here are few ways to prep and plan to find success:
- The Date: Most open houses are held on Saturdays or Sundays, starting in the late morning or early afternoon, and scheduled for three to four hours. And of course, that’s because people tend to have the most spare time on weekends. However, you might also want to consider other days and times. For example “Happy Hour” open houses are quite popular nowadays. Pick a weeknight, Thursdays are great because the weekend is close, and hold it from 5-8PM. Promote it as a casual, after work, happy hour with beverages and snacks. Working singles, and moms and dads who have busy weekends, will find it especially appealing.
- The House: This is common knowledge for most agents, but in case we have some new agents out there… Before you open it, the house needs to be presentable! Decluttered, depersonalized, cleaner than a whistle, and perhaps even staged. Crank up the curb appeal by having the gardener come the day before, too. You’d be surprised how much a freshly mowed lawn does for first impressions. Also, any little nagging repairs such as paint touch ups, squeaky doors, carpet stains, pet odors etc., should all be taken care of in advance. And of course, no owners or pets in the house on open house day.
- The Promotion: These days, social media is your best friend and a great way to add some sizzle to your open house. It’s called emotional storytelling and it can do wonders. Take two to three pictures of the home, or one really nice one, and create a post for your Facebook feed. Include some anecdotes and observations about certain features of the home, and of course, the address, date and time, and your contact information. (Be sure to also do a quick Facebook live stream the day of the event, as well.) You should also consider conducting a video walk-through on your Instagram Story a few days before the big day. And, you might even want to try Tik-Tok. It’s the fastest growing social media platform and it’s not just for dancing teenagers anymore. Do a search for “Tik Tok real estate open houses” and you’ll see what we mean. Any or all of these social media tips are highly encouraged. Be sure to also include open house dates in your newsletters, emails and website, as well as using door hangers in the immediate neighborhood a few days before. Neighbors know buyers and word of mouth works!
The day of the open house
- Signage! This is another obvious tip, but you have to put out signs. Cover as many corners and high traffic areas as you can. Some agents use ten, some use up to thirty. Doing a drive-through of the neighborhood the day before is a good way to plot out where to plant your signs. It’s a little tedious, but well worth it.
- Arrive early: You don’t want to be the second person to show up and have someone waiting. Come at least a half hour in advance, get your clients out the door, and then conduct a walkthrough of the home to make sure everything is clean and no personal items are on display. Then set out your refreshments and snacks, and any takeaway promotional items, such as flyers or brochures, etc. Baking cookies is cliche, but it works. You can also use a deodorizer or air freshener in high traffic areas and each room.
- Home base: Find a good place, near the entrance, to post up and greet your guests. If the kitchen is close to the front door, kitchen islands or tables work great. Somewhere to welcome people, answer questions, and ask them what they thought of the house when they’re done touring it. This is also a strategic place to get some contact information after they’ve toured the home. (More on that below…)
- Wrap up: When you go from open to closed, do one more lap around the home and pick up any brochures or water bottles or anything that may have been discarded. Gather up all of your promotional materials, and then go retrieve your signs. Some agents leave the refreshments behind for the owners, others keep unopened items to use again in the future. Be sure to make some kind of contact with the owners to give them a summary of how the showing went.
Those were some general on-site tips and things to keep in mind when hosting an open house. Now we’ll share some ways that using RPR can really help and add to the experience, for you, the guests and your client(s).
The RPR app–where it all comes together
On game day, lean on your open house secret weapon: the RPR mobile app. Make sure it’s downloaded to your phone and with you at all times on open house day.
The reason? Ahead of time, you can run a variety of different reports on the home and the area. Everything you do on the RPR website syncs with your phone app. So when you create the reports for your property address, all those reports will be one touch away. You can also create reports right there in the house, on the fly, and instantly send them to open house goers.
These reports will arm you, and prospective buyers, with data and information so you’ll be ready to have conversations about the home itself, the neighborhood, the schools and the market.
Here are the reports you should run ahead of time:
The Neighborhood Reports you can generate in RPR will give you a summary and details about the people, economy, quality of life, and charts and graphs on local market activity. Data and info such as this can help you prepare to handle all types of questions and position you as a local expert. For prospective buyers, they’re a great digital, branded takeaway item. They can also help agents get familiar with a neighborhood, in case it’s out of your usual area.
For people with children, schools are at the top of the list when it comes to relocating. And you’ll get an “A” from these parents when you keep the RPR mobile app handy to help them with school related questions. Just ask them the age of their kids, and you can create and then text or email the school report directly to them.
The RPR School Reports provide a wealth of information on schools, including student populations, testing outcomes, reviews, ratings and school zones. You can also compare schools within a district or a specified radius, and/or include up to 20 nearby listings.
Market Activity Reports are a perfect way for prospective buyers to see what’s moving in the market. Having this information also positions you as a local market expert.
RPR’s Market Activity Report can help you discuss what the local market has to offer by presenting recent price changes; as well as active, pending, sold, expired and distressed properties.
Mini Property Report/Property Flyer
Before the open house, run an RPR Mini Property Report. These scaled down versions provide just enough data to give buyers a solid understanding of the property, including price, value, comps, home facts, taxes, photos, and neighborhood information.
An even more scaled-down version is RPR Property Flyer, which is a one page promotional piece with the most basic of facts. Plus you can write your own headline, and include your own photo and contact info. They’re perfect for open house promotions.
Having these reports at your fingertips during the open house goes a long way in positioning you as THE local real estate expert.
Deliver the reports and collecting contact information is a solid way to gain a warm lead. You simply have the property in your app, hit “Recent Activity” and all of your reports for that property are displayed, then you hit “Share”, and your new prospects receive it within minutes, maybe even seconds.
Here’s another way to use the reports: print out one copy and leave it in a high traffic area. Then, when a guest starts reading it, you can break the ice and say, “Isn’t that Property Report, great? Unfortunately, it’s my last copy. But I can send you one directly. I just need your number… ” This conversation-starter is a keen lead generation tactic that helps you connect with prospects, without coming on too strong.
RPR open house tips wrap up
With the right amount of prep and planning, and RPR at your side, your next open house is sure to be a success.
A solid game plan and the reports you create in RPR, will no doubt impress your client and those that tour the home. Which can help you go from open house to closed deal in no time. Download the RPR app today and hold a memorable open house tomorrow. Good luck!