10 tips for rocking your next open house

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It was once believed that open houses were just another way to meet potential clients. With agents spending more time expanding networks online, they may just be neglecting the one sure way to make an instant connection with a captive audience. With the summer market in full bloom, here are a few tips for nailing your next open house.

Tell 40. Deliver printed feature sheets to immediate neighbors: 10 on each side of the house and 20 across the street. Invite them over for a sneak peek a half hour before the open house starts. Okay, they likely won’t be looking to buy BUT they might know someone who is or, at the very least, remember you when they’re in the market.

Promote your open house online. It’s one thing to tweet about your upcoming open house, but to really capture interest, highlight a unique feature and provide a link to your website for more information. Tweeting it once isn’t enough, either. Aim to send messages before, during and after. Don’t forget your other social media assets like Facebook and LinkedIn, too.

Do your research. The last thing you want is to draw a blank when a potential client asks you about a sale down the street. Have a handle on active listings, recent solds, restaurants, schools, parks, grocery stores and transit. It’s important to share any “scoop” you might have on the neighbourhood; doing so helps build trust.

Provide snacks. Source out a local delicacy. Custard tarts in Little Italy or walnut cakes in Korea-town can be great conversation starters. And, let’s face it, the more time you have to make a connection, the better.

Get signs out early. If you feel like you’re encroaching on someone’s property, knock on the door and ask permission. While you’re at it, invite them to swing by the open house, too. Make directions to your house easy to follow by tying balloons to your signs, or consider an open house rider on your lawn sign.

Be punctual. Arrive at least 20 minutes early, turn the lights on, close the toilet seat covers and make sure the house is looking its best.  Have ample brochures available and a sign in sheet. People hate signing in, so let them know that the seller has requested it for security reasons and that they can opt out of future contact.

Go digital. Consider looping a slide show of your electronic brochure on your tablet. It saves paper, can be sent directly to the visitor and facilitates easy sharing.

Don’t lose control. We have had situations where there have been 80-90 people through in one afternoon. It’s stressful. If you suspect it might get nuts, consider having another agent working with you.

Treat agents as you would clients. If an agent is bringing clients to the open house, you know they are serious. Offer feature sheets to them, instead of their clients. If a visitor tells you they are working with an agent, get the agent’s name and follow-up to let them know their clients have just been through.

Follow up! The work doesn’t stop once the open house is over. Touch base with your top prospects as soon as possible and send out thank you notes via email or snail mail.

How do you ensure a successful open house? Share in the Comments, below!

A veteran of the real estate industry for over 20 years, Mark McLean’s focus has always been towards a creative approach to real estate. In January 2010, he joined Bosley Real Estate in Toronto as both a Broker/Manager and Marketing Director with a goal of expanding the brokerage. Mark has served on several committees for both The Ontario Real Estate Association and The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and is TREB’s current President-Elect for 2014/15.


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