I never had an open house that I didn’t over-prepare for. High quality flyers, memorizing the details of the home, and spending time canvasing the neighborhood all went into my prep-time. I was ready and pumped to hold this house open and meet new potential clients. Preparation was my middle name; except that I didn’t prepare for no one showing up.
You can never control the amount of traffic an open house will get. You can do your best to pick out a marketable property on a busy intersection, but you never really can tell if anyone will actually stop by. I’ve held open houses in torrential rain that have had more visitors than on a bright sunny day. Predicability and open houses should not be used in the same sentence.
If you’re stuck in an open house for a few hours that isn’t showing any signs of life, instead of looking through their refrigerator (wait, you don’t do that?), try the following 5 things to help keep you dollar productive.
- Hop on Facebook and Twitter
- Call Expired Listings
- Email Your Database
- Call Your Network and Sphere
- Take More Pictures and Market the Property Online
1. Hop on Facebook and Twitter
Seriously? Seriously. I’m going to go against the norm and say that I can be dollar-productive while on social networks. How? Talk about the slow open house. Mention how much prep time you did with getting everything perfect today, and how you can’t believe with the nice weather that more people aren’t stopping by.
The message you’re looking to convey to your friends and followers is that you over-prepare for your clients. You spent quality time making sure everything is perfect, rehearsing what you’d like to say to anyone you met, and showed up 30 minutes early to give the house a “one over” to make minor adjustments.
This can serve as a reminder that you’re passionate about what you do, and that you’re still in the business. They might know someone whose agent drags their feet when it comes to holding an open house, and they’ll realize that you’d kill for an opportunity to show a house that will get people through it.
The key here is to not waste time chatting with friends. Talk about the property, the open house, your business, but stay away from personal issues as it’ll suck your time and focus away.
2. Call Expired Listings
Before you leave for the day, hop on your MLS and print out a list of expired properties. Make sure you narrow the list to markets and price ranges that you service, and then spend time at the slow open house cross-referencing the property addresses with public phone numbers. Here’s the free reverse address finder that I currently use.
Take the time to call the expired properties and see if they’re still looking to sell their home. If they’re contemplating re-listing with their previous agent, what do they plan on doing different? Shouldn’t they consider at least meeting with one other agent just in case there is a home selling strategy they overlooked?
Sellers are mostly concerned with getting the most money in the least amount of time, so make sure to have a script ready to tackle this concern head on. Make sure to stress that they gave their last agent three months, but all you are asking for is 30 minutes of their time (for a listing appointment).
Be careful about talking negative about a past agent; remain neutral. You could be talking about their spouse or favorite cousin.
3. Email Your Database
Take the time to prepare a nice email regarding the real estate market and send it to your entire database. You do have a database, don’t you?
Because this time is completely void of distractions, you’ll really be able to pour some serious thought into why the market is doing what it’s doing in your local area. Log in to your MLS and pull up some statistics to include and if you’re savvy with spreadsheets, use them to create a nice looking chart for visual aid.
4. Call Your Network and Sphere
This would be a perfect time to see how your past clients are doing. Pick up that cell phone and start dialing, because chances are that they know someone right now looking to buy or sell a home and all it takes is a subtle hint that you’re still in the business for that referral.
You should be calling your network and sphere, which includes your past clients and anyone you built a solid relationship with, at least 4 times a year. Here’s the long term follow up plan I used if you haven’t implemented one already. Feel free to use verbatim or customize to your heart’s content.
5. Take More Pictures and Market the Property Online
When a seller comes home and finds out that absolutely no one visited while they were out, they’re probably going to think that you both wasted your time. They might even think it’s your fault, and that someone else would be able to do it better.
Instead of attempting to explain that the amount of traffic an open house achieves is beyond your control, let them know how much quality time you spent marketing their property online and show them their home on Craiglist, Trulia, Zillow, local message boards, your Facebook Fan Page, and possibly even in search engine results (if you have a search engine friendly website).
Shouldn’t you have done this already? Of course, but you had the time to do it again and now their property’s exposure has just increased even more. You didn’t let a slow open house stop you from marketing their beautiful home. You even spent that time taking new, high quality photos that will look gorgeous for all the new marketing you have in mind.
Stay Dollar-Productive In Your Next Open House
If you offer a seller nothing for their time, they’ll look to spend it elsewhere. An open house doesn’t have to be a waste of time if you’re proactive, and by being so, you’ll reaffirm to the seller that you’re definitely the right person for the job.
Good luck on your next open house!