Planning an open house? Think theater

— Weichert Franchise

Here’s how to set the stage before, during, and after the showing to draw prospects to the property—and to you.

Imagine, if you will, that you’re at the theater. It can be Broadway, the movies, anything where the lights are dim and a show is about to start. Can you feel the anticipation? The energy? Now, imagine that same excitement translating to every open house you host. What experience would it create for your customers and prospects? How might it impact sales? What could it do to bolster your reputation for future business?

Weichert always encourages real estate agents and brokers to host open houses—because they work. It’s worth the effort to do all you can to optimize the open house experience for your potential customers. Here are quick stats to affirm why:

  • Open houses are one of the top three information sources buyers use in their research
  • 53% of buyers visit at least one open house
  • Two-thirds of open house visitors have a house to sell
  • One out of three Weichert open houses leads directly to a sale

Sure, it’s easy for your real estate prospects to type “open house near me” into a search bar and just show up. But from your perspective, a successful open house—like great theater—needs to be planned and promoted, designed and executed, and properly followed up on. You need props, lighting, refreshments, promotional materials, a budget, etc. OK, you get the idea.

So, here are tips to help you plan before, during, and after an open house to host showings that drive the business.

Before the open house: build pre-show excitement  

What does Broadway or Hollywood do before the release of a new play or movie? They promote the event like crazy, building hype and excitement with their key demographics. They blast social media, send out emails, and do everything in their power to raise awareness about the event to come. Same process holds true for open houses.

As the leaders in Open Houses, Weichert leverages technology to enhance our ability to garner attention. Our technology works behind-the-scenes to generate customer-facing touchpoints that raise interest in our open houses. This includes:

  • A “property boost” tool to help promote the property via Facebook to the surrounding community to reach the most likely buyers.
  • CRM tools and templates to promote open houses directly to your contacts from your dashboard via email or text to further increase exposure.
  • Ability to create landing pages to promote open houses on social media and capture lead data in exchange for property info, which goes directly into the database for easy follow-up.

Request a demo of any of the above. We’ll show you what we mean.

You can also read more about hosting a virtual open house.

In addition, we also recommend leveraging more traditional means of promotion, such as distributing flyers and door hangers to neighbors in the surrounding area.

During the open house: create a complete sensory experience

In the eyes of the prospect, the open house, just like the theater experience, is all that matters. Now’s the time to engage the senses.

What will your prospects see?

  • Make sure the living space is tidy and clutter-free.
  • Be mindful of how many personal elements are sprinkled throughout the home. Create an environment where visitors can see their lives unfolding here, not the seller’s.
  • Check that lightbulbs are working; replace those that are not.
  • Plan the event at the optimal time. If sunlight pours into the kitchen around 3:00 pm, make sure visitors have the chance to witness that beauty.
  • Display information about the property, including property brochures and flyers, area info, and buyer guides, as well as your business cards or other giveaways that include your contact information.

What will your prospects hear?

  • Play soft “elevator music” or a carefully curated playlist in the background for ambiance.
  • Practice your talking points about the property so visitors hear what you want them to remember.
  • Avoid negative sounds such as a lawnmower. Talk to the homeowner ahead of time to ensure that the landscapers aren’t pulling up at the same time as your visitors.

What will your prospects smell, taste, and touch?

  • Light a candle or open up a diffuser, but keep in mind that scents are highly subjective. Stick to scents that are simple and light.
  • Check that there isn’t an unpleasant odor, such as food or pet-related, that others might think you’re trying to mask.
  • Keep a bowl of individually sealed candies near the sign-up sheet.
  • Invite a local bakery or coffee house to sponsor the event. It’s a great way to increase your sphere of influence in the community.
  • Use sign-in materials that people feel comfortable touching! Break out the nice pens, wipe fingerprints off the iPad screen periodically, and have a bottle of hand sanitizer close by.

Make sure you have a way to capture visitor contact information and that there’s a follow-up plan in place. Consider using an open house app that can feed contacts right into your CRM for follow-up. Weichert, for example, uses an Open House app that integrates with its myWeichert CRM. Visitors sign in digitally and within four hours of the open house, a follow-up message is sent to every guest to provide feedback or schedule the next visit. This creates instant communication while the experience is still fresh in your visitors’ minds.

After the open house: prepare for an encore

In the case of an open house, an encore is an offer, a bidding war, a new customer (buyer and/or seller), a planting of a new business seed that pops up weeks or even months down the line. To help ensure that this happens:

  • Share your contact information and social platforms.
  • Follow up with attendees within 24 hours of the event.

At Weichert, we say “bravo!” to open houses because they continue to be an important selling tool. With resources from Weichert, you’ll have the systems,  tools, and checklists at your fingertips to know, step-by-step, exactly what to do to have a successful event. Your agents will wow prospects and clients, which will no doubt have a positive impact on sales.

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