Today’s the first day in about 6 weeks that I have not held an open house in Tallahassee. Partly it’s because I’m procrastinating and need to work on my taxes before the drop-deal deadline tomorrow, and partly because I needed a break. As I am preparing for next weekend’s open houses, I had a few thoughts to share on them. Preparing for open houses is time consuming and expensive. With the internet, the success of live bodies in open houses is not what it used to be.
Realtors have had to get very creative in promoting open houses. Traditional means of signs and flyers are just not enough in today’s world. Postcards and print advertising are expensive and less productive than ever. Realtors have largely turned to the Internet to reach more people and to exposure your listing to many more people than ever before. Conversations generated around social media postings, special events are proving to bring buyers to homes and to cause people to inquire about homes than ever before. Because people do search for homes on the Internet, why not offer them every opportunity to find out about your open house on the Internet as well. Advance notice of live virtual tours during open houses are helpful. Signs are also certainly helpful, and placing them out a few days in advance to generate local passer-bys. (IF your community allows that!)
First, Realtors have an easy place to announce their open houses, the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Realtors who are providing lists for their customers need only to search for open houses in a given date range, and have access to them immediately. Would you like an email list of Tallahassee area Open houses like this list? If so, contact me and I’ll set you up!
Second, there is always print advertising. In my area, most people, if they still get a paper, get the Sunday paper only , or will pick it up if they are really searching for a home. Maybe it’s me, but it seems like open houses are like garage sales, people getting a paper to map out your route? There is an easier way! At least at garage sales more folks walk away with a smile on their face than from most open houses! Realtors hate print advertising. The cost has more than tripled in less than 10 years, and the effectiveness has been cut down by as much as 3/4. So, why do we still do it? Customers expect it,… unless that is, you tell them the truth. Flyers, brochures, specialty books, and listing information cards are much more effective and likely to be held onto much longer than a newspaper ad.
A third option for advertising is multi-media and social networks. This is probably the most powerful tool of all. Most people check their email at least four times a day, mobile phone users much more. Facebook users check their profiles like they check email anymore. It’s one of the first windows open in the mornings, and last to close in the evenings for most. Twitter is a niche-marketing device and real-time engagement of locals and interested people that savvy Realtors are in-time with. Postings of listing event pages, photo albums, videos, e-flyers, links loaded with neighborhood information are available in seconds via these mediums. If you want to know an answer to a question, just ask it on Twitter and watch what happpens! Savvy marketing professionals are not just posting, but strategically planning and monitoring views and responses to their open house posts and announcements.
Other options include special events and alternative exposure. Recently I held my second annual Art and Open house event. Last year I featured just one very unique contemporary home, this year there were 7 and I combined this with other Realtors. Local artists were asked to participate and it was a huge success, both for visits to these homes in Myers Park, and for the artists who participated. What a great way to build community involvement in selling your home!
Realtor luncheons, wine and cheese socials, meetings, Top producer caravans are all ways to help promote your home. The more events you have in your home, the better. The talk at the water-cooler generated by these events is better than any print advertising you can ever hope for. Rare are the sales that occur from a single open house, but more occur from other Realtors and neighbors seeing your home and folks that will mention it to someone else.
How can you help? Keep your home clean, showing well from the street to draw a customer in to a well appointed, aromatic and sensual home.If it looks good, feels good, and smells good, people will remember it well. Help your Realtor by making your home accessible for showings both during open house days and throughout the term or your listing. Post and repost events your Realtor is having, share some link-love! Everyone wins!
Some open houses can be seen on our local television station Wctv.tv’s Open House website as well.
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