Who Has Time to Attend/Host Their Open-Houses These Days?

I have recently had a few Realtors(R) confide in me, saying they are fully aware of the vast benefits of holding open-houses for their clients' properties. But the common frustration that I am seeing, in Realtors(R), is that they work so hard on their listings in all other ways, that there is just no time or energy left for an upbeat, successful open-house.

I don't have to convince anyone of the reasons that open-houses still prove to be very effective marketing tools. This is, of course, as long as the event is sufficiently marketed far enough ahead of time. Also, just as important, is the fact that we really need to analyze the target market, look at the time of year, consider sports/activities children may be involved in, common meal times, bed-times, Church hours, etc.

Provided the open-house was advertised properly to the property-appropriate target-market with ample time for buyers to plan ahead and schedule the viewing into their hectic schedules, there should be a good turn-out. Remember, again, it is all about quality of buyers, not quanitity of curious individuals.

Another very important detail to include in the venue of an open-house, is one enthusiastic, personable, involved, and interested person to host the event. This party will be welcoming, inquisitive, informed, and very aware of the property's assets.

We, Revealing Assets, completely understand that, at the end of your week, as a Realtor(R), your energy stores are quite depleted, and you are virtually time-bankrupt.

What if you had a Professional whom you could hire to be your official host for the open house? You would meet with said Professional ahead of time to provide a briefing on the property specs and special considerations to be taken into account. This Professional would arrive 1-1.5 hours prior to the start-time of the open-house, and because this Professional is actually a Certified Staging Professional, they are more than qualified to do a thorough walk-through and take care of final show-casing touches to ensure a high-quality showing. Also, because we have many accessories on hand at all times, we can add items here and there, if deemed to be a beneficial upgrade to the property. You will provide spec sheets to hand out to buyers. We will provide everything else for you. It will be communicated to buyers that we are not a Realtor(R), but that we are prepared to field offers for them via phone. We are also very aware that buyers appreciate a cordial greeting, being informed that we are there if they have any questions at all, and then being allowed to take a tour at their leisure. We will remain involved, yet not intrusive. We completely understand that most purchase decisions take place when buyers feel they are granted enough privacy to discuss their options without candor.

Would this be a service that you, as a Realtor(R) would see as valuable? Would it save you time and effort that you would love to expend elsewhere? I would love some feedback, and value your opinions and expertise!! 

 

Rhonda Wilson - CCSPTM
Owner/Operator of
Revealing Assets
Home Staging and Decluttering Services
http://www.RevealingAssets.ca
RevealingAssets@shaw.ca
780-913-5589 
We transform properties into highly
sought-after products that sell in half
the time and for 7-10% more money.
Through personal experience, extensive
research and training, and a compassionate
approach, we De-clutter living/work spaces for
up-lifting and positive life changes.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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Comment balloon 4 commentsRhonda Wilson • December 15 2009 11:59PM

Comments

Rhonda,

I do my own open houses, if the property is a good one. The second to last house I open-house got me 5 ends.

Posted by Terry Chenier (Homelife Glenayre Realty) over 8 years ago

I think most agents don't know that are certain criteria that need to be met for a listing to be a good candidate for an open house.

  • It can't be too high-end. I think it need to be at the upper-end of the middle market
  • It needs to be near a major highway, local thoroughfare, or intersection.
  • it has to have great curb appeal (good landscaping, no deferred maintenance, no outdoor clutter(toys, bikes, excess potted plants. etc.)
  • It should also have updated kitchens and bathrooms

This is by no means a complete list and should be altered based on your local market conditions. I just think if more thought went into selecting the right open house they would be more successful.

Posted by Christopher Johnston (The Johnston Team) over 8 years ago

Rhonda - I really like this idea!  But I'm in Elk Grove, CA (the Sacramento area)...I guess I need to look for someone here in my area to do this!  Great idea.

Posted by Lori Mode, Real Estate Made Simple (Keller Williams Realty - Elk Grove, CA Homes for Sale) over 8 years ago

Thank you so much, Chris, Terry, Lori, and Bruce! I very much appreciate receiving feedback from Professionals such as yourselves!

To Terry, congratulations! It sounds like you truly work to make your open-houses a success, and see the value in them! Great to hear!

Chris, you are so right, and you make such valid, overlooked, important points that way too few people take the time to understand. Yes, it does all start with selecting the right property for an open-house showcasing!! This is something I didn't mention in my post, but is something that I am finding more than once a day here in Edmonton, Alberta. As a Home Stager, I am rather obsessive about browsing listings and open-house announcements. And, I can tell you, the majority of listings that have open-houses announced are NOT at all showing well in their listing photos. I am seeing very cluttered/decrepit/unclean/ properties with poor photo composition. And, yes, curb appeal is also so paramount. We speak about the "grooming process" as being comprised of a series of "first impressions". The first set of first impressions are made when the buyer views the actual listing media ad/photos/spec write-up. Obviously, the buyer has already arrived in their appropriate pricing category, preferred geographic location, and have also tailored their search to their desired/mandatory property specs (BR,BTH, SQ/FT, Fireplace, View, etc.). Now, it is up to the photographs to do their magic. The photos NEED to hold and pique their interest further. If they are lack-lustre, chances are, they will leave the listing alone, altogether.

But, let's say they have remained intrigued thus far, and have gone on to schedule a viewing, or are now planning to attend said open-house, their entire next set of first impressions begin with what impacts their five senses (sometimes six senses) as soon as they pull up to the exterior of the home. Now, if the property showed as stellar in the media ad, yet there are negative aspects within the yard or evident maintenance issues anywhere on the exterior, it literally only takes the buyer a total of 4-6 seconds to decide whether or not they are just going to drive away and cross this one off of their list.

Also, I enthusiastically agree about the overly underestimated importance of updated kitchens and bathrooms!! This is a tough one, as I am sure you will agree. Almost every client of mine has a difficult time with the thought of having to shell out any money prior to their home selling. This is especially true of my clients who are selling their property due to financial struggles in their lives. We can all relate to this. But, I explain to my clients that kitchens and baths are THE most important and closely examined spaces within a property. I explain that buyers, now-a-days, do not have the drive, desire, or time to exert theirsevles or do any work in order to move in to a property they are going to buy. And, because the baths and kitchen are so important, if they are out of date, not maintained, not open enough, or do not have "enough" counter and storage space, the buyer WILL withdraw or shy away. Also, it is so important to help the client understand how making improvements in these spaces will impact their own pocket-book in the end. It it true that when we talk money, we are now making valuable contact and striking a cord in all humans. Short-term pain, for long-term gain. We let them know that their ROI on these improvements are huge, and well worth their effort when it comes to their end profit. We then help them re-focus on their intended life-shift here, or the next stage in their life-journey. Their end goal here is to move on to their next property and calling it their new home. This is a huge new chapter in their lives, all-consuming, and absolute priority in their lives at this time. By discussing this monumental change, and explaining that improvements in their kitchens and baths will only serve to get them to their goal SOONER, more easily, and more financially prepared, this is RELEVANT for them, and gives them a real, tangible,     "Action/Consequence" motivation and drive.

Our opinion, and passion behind what we do, is that all of the above must be addressed PRIOR to officially listing the property. This way, the property photographs well, the curb-appeal draws the buyer in even further (making them more invested), and the state of the property does not disappoint when the buyer steps over that threshold. We see so many cases of homes being Staged/Showcased beautifully for listing/photographs, but none of the preparation is remaining in tact for long. Then the buyer drives by the property or shows up for a viewing, and they leave feeling mis-led, and wondering if they were even viewing the correct listing. The product HAS to show identically or consistently from listing photos right through the viewing. The product has to match, both virtually and physically.

That being said, ensuring that all of our properties are in stellar shape prior to listing is MUCH easier said than done, especially with a Realtor's(R) hectic schedule, and all of the work they already do for each of their clients.

Also a great point about the "upper-end" listings not always being wonderful open-house candidates. Although, I have now seen a few open-houses held in "upper-end" properties enter into bidding wars due to their open-houses. We believe that the reason for this is, even though you tend to have fewer attendees for these ones, the buyers who show up are pre-qualified, know what they want, and are more serious than your average "shopper". Humans tend to be a little bashful/humble, and tend to not attend open-houses unless they are confident and ready. Again, we stress, it is about Quality of buyers, not Quantity of browsers.

 This is where partnering with a Certified Staging Professional is absolutely invaluable to both the client and the Realtor(R). The Realtor(R) gets that call from a potential client to set up an appointment for the Sales presentation. When the Realtor(R) arrives at the property for the presentation, and realizes that the property could use some tweaking/repairs/renovations/showcasing, this is when the Realtor(R) throws in suggestion of having a Professional Stager come in to appropriately prepare their property so that it shows positively. Whether the Realtor(R) feels that the home-owner would benefit more from our "Basic Guidance Home Staging Package", or one of our full-service "Home Staging Packages", CSP's(TM) and their talents add incredible value to the sales presentation. We have many Realtors(R), in the case where improvements are necessary, who offer to invest in our services on their clients' behalf as part of their presentation. They find that offering to pay for our services, the majority of the time, ends up guaranteeing that they secure that listing. Not only that, the Realtor(R) can now take a deep breath, and relax, knowing that all of the delicate issues/topics can be handled by a third party. The Realtor(R) also ends up resting assured, knowing that they will then end up with with a flawless listing that appeals to everyone in the target market, and a property that is guaranteed to be showing/open-house ready. Revealing Assets has also already taken care of all of the emotionally charged client objections/resistance for you. And, the Realtor(R) is left with an educated client who understands what it will take to sell their home, and understands the crazy psyche processes of buyers out there.

Revealing Assets - Home Staging Before/After

Now, what Revealing Assets has done, is created a listing that is a perfect, prime candidate for a successful open-house with nothing other than a positive, abundant outcome.

And, finally, to Lori and Bruce, thank you also for your positive feedback. This is very helpful and good to hear. So, maybe we should move down to California to partner with you. :) This is very tempting right now, considering that Edmonton, Alberta was officially THE coldest spot in North America this past weekend, where we had a low of -58 C.

Take care to all four of you, and thank you, sincerely, for all of your comments. I Love Active Rain!!

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) over 8 years ago

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