Many of you who’ve followed my blog or my training know how I feel about open houses. I think they are a bad idea. I should clarify that statement. I believe that there is one single instance in which you should consider an open house: continuously until it sells. I’ll explain.
Our company, FavoriteAgent.com, is the global leader in real estate virtual office technology, and we believe very much in the independence of agents and in lowering the high cost of overhead in today’s brokerages. I’m about to share an idea that will be of more benefit to brokers than for agents, but even for an agent, it will result in a huge benefit in building market share and generating new business.
Imagine if you found and listed a nice home in a very busy residential area. Maybe it’s near the entrance to a large subdivision, or maybe it’s on a busy street. For this strategy to work well, the home must be in a high traffic area, it must be vacant, it must be attractive, and the seller must agree to a few basic terms that will be in his best interest.
The seller must agree to have the lawn maintained weekly (whether blown for leaves in the fall and winter or whether mowed in the spring and summer). He must also agree to keep the utilities turned on and to provide you with high speed internet. Most of the time, when you list the house, the utilities are on, and it already has internet so it shouldn’t be a tough sell when he sees what’s in it for him.
You agree and put it in your contract that you will set up a permanent sales office in the home and will man it every single day until the property sells. Think of a sales center for new homes. You promise to keep the interior clean, vacuumed, mopped, and windows clean. Then you put up several open house directionals and yard signs in prominent locations, and you put streamers in the yard like a model home.
Voila, you have a brand new real estate office, rent free, utility free, and without problems with zoning, signage, etc. because it is not a business location but rather an “open house”. For less than a hundred dollars, you can buy a couple of folding tables and chairs, although it might be feasible to work from the kitchen counter. You will need to purchase a plastic mobile file box (or maybe two), and some basic office supplies, but otherwise your laptop and a printer will be all you need.
If you are the broker and you are thinking this might just work, it will. Think about it. The seller wins because he has your entire company focusing on selling his home. He has a tremendous amount of exposure for very little more (if any) investment. He also has someone ensuring the home is not being vandalized. You win because you have your entire team working from that location and you have automatically created new leads for your agents, increasing sales and revenues, all while lowering your expenses.
Here is one of the really cool advantages though. Now all of the neighbors will start asking their agents why they can’t have a full-time open house. You will have the ultimate brand building opportunity and soon other sellers in the neighborhood will want you to do it for them! How cool is that?! Sure, you move your offices every few months, but so what? It only takes about 30 minutes to move and your overhead is completely free! Meanwhile you are that creative company that will host an open house until it sells! That’s huge! That’s Max-Bang!