By Jim Lowenstern
A record-breaking, mild winter has kick-started the real estate market much earlier this year than the usual spring start. Mild temperatures are encouraging buyers to begin their search now, and smart sellers are taking advantage of this by pricing their homes accurately and using effective marketing tools. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to heighten open house traffic:
1. Make the open house a community event. Invite the neighborhood to talk about the school system or other current events affecting the community. By opening your doors to invite people in for another reason than just to view your home, you can raise awareness about your listing while helping to unite the community on important issues. Be careful to stay away from political issues, however. There are many neutral issues, such as neighborhood watch or a nonprofit organization that can be highlighted instead.
2. Invite a speaker. A great way to stand out from other open houses is to offer a guest speaker like a home stager or general contractor. If people are looking to buy, they’re usually in the process of selling, so hiring a home stager to talk about DIY staging techniques is a great way to get serious buyers through your door.
3. Don’t forget to properly market your open house. A mainstay for my company is the use of social media and email blasts to get the word out about any of the events we sponsor. Ask your agent what he or she is doing to get the word out about your home. It’s good advice to plan a marketing strategy with your agent before you hire him/her so that expectations are clear from the beginning.
4. Always provide refreshments. A hot cup of coffee and fresh baked goods can go a long way when it comes to developing a following to your open houses. On top of that, goodies will help keep prospective buyers at your showing longer. Some local restaurants will give you a discount if you help them get the word out about their business. If they have a menu, consider placing a stack on your refreshment table.
5. Always add to your database. Raffle off a gift certificate to attendees who share their business card or contact information with you. Keep a running mailing list of the folks that attend so you can easily keep them in the loop if there’s an offer or a price change.
By following these five easy tips, you are sure to gain momentum through heightened, quality open house traffic.
Jim Lowenstern is the President of Castles Unlimited in Newton, Mass.
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