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By Craig Proctor

RISMEDIA, June 11, 2008-Industry statistics reveal that traditional open houses are not very effective at selling homes. In fact, less than 1% of homes are sold as a result of a traditional open house. They’re a huge waste of your time and effort, and they’re a shameful waste of your client’s time and effort as well.

Despite this, thousands of agents waste an average of $150-$300 (and 3-4 hours of their time) every single week advertising traditional open houses. This is like throwing your hard earned money out an open window 99% of the time. In the vast majority of cases, traditional open houses don’t benefit the seller or the buyer. They certainly don’t benefit you. In fact, the only one who benefits is your local paper who keeps pocketing your wasted advertising dollars.

As a result, the agents I teach don’t run traditional open houses (and neither should you.)

What you should do instead is conduct a highly effective “Tour of Homes.” Just as the name suggests, your Tour of Homes makes it easier for buyers by giving them the opportunity to view several homes in one afternoon, and represents a great way for you to easily showcase several of your listings at once.

proctor_craig.jpgHere’s how it works. For a Tour of Homes, you advertise the tour as running during a set time period – for example between 1 and 3:15 p.m. on Sunday. It is typical to put six homes in a similar price range on the tour, and each home should be “open” for a specified 10-minute period with an allotment of 15 minutes to get from one home to the other. (For example, house #1 on the tour might be open from 1:00-1:10, house #2 from 1:25-1:35 etc.) Prospects are told they can meet you at any home on the tour at the specified time.

There are multiple benefits of this approach. For your sellers, it means that the tour of their home only lasts 10-15 minutes, so they don’t have to give up a whole afternoon of their weekend (and neither do you.) More importantly, it’s a proven fact that the tour format attracts a larger number of motivated buyers than a traditional open house. In my own experience, I’ve also found that buyer prospects attending the tour are better qualified because they have chosen to view our client’s home at this specific time. Net, net, a tour of homes tends to set up an auction-like atmosphere (multiple buyers all viewing the house at one time creates a fear of loss in those buyers who are interested in the home), which ends up benefiting your clients in terms of a faster sale and a higher price.

Even if you’re currently operating with a small listing inventory, you can still conduct, and benefit from, a full-fledged Tour of Homes. All you need is a reasonable inventory you can choose from, and there’s no rule that says they have to be yours.

Try this. Approach another agent (or two or three) in your office and ask if you can “borrow” their listings. Specifically, ask them if you can open house some of their listings this weekend.

Why would you want to do that, they might ask? Well, you will explain, it will give you an opportunity to get face-to-face with some buyers, and in return for giving you this opportunity, you’ll be giving their listings some bonus exposure.

What you’ll find is that other agents are usually more than happy to let you do this.

“The Sunday Tour of Homes has served as a great improvement on the traditional open house giving me and my team much greater leverage to attract a group of buyers versus a sporadic flow of tire kickers. This serves our listing clients very well as we can increase the demand for their home and help them get it sold for more money in less time.

“The Sunday Tour of Homes also allows us to group specific homes by category. For example, we can now run a tour for just short sales and bank owned properties, or in contrast, a luxury homes tour. The Sunday Tour of Homes has been a very valuable part of our arsenal and serves as a great reason to do business with Danny Griffin Real Estate versus all other options!” – Danny Griffin, MA

To find out exactly how to target and then convert these Sure Thing prospects, you can visit where you can learn about my 3-day SuperConference where I train agents on the marketing and step-by-step systems they need to put in place to have these lucrative prospects lining up at their door.

Billion Dollar AgentTM Craig Proctor has been in the top 10 for RE/MAX Worldwide for 15 years and is the only real estate trainer who actually does what he teaches. Craig consistently sells over 500 homes per year to earn almost $4 million in commission. Over 25,000 agents nationwide use Craig’s system to make more money in less time. To receive free training from Craig with no obligation, visit: This Free Training includes free weekly teleconference training calls with Craig and some of his most successful agents where they discuss the cutting edge strategies they’re using right now, in this market, and explain how they work. You’ll also receive a free weekly email newsletter that reveals the tested and proven marketing strategies that continue to make Craig one of North America’s top agents. By taking advantage of this free training, you’ll also get advanced notice of Craig’s free half day seminars that will provide you with the tools you’ll need to start implementing these ideas immediately. These seminars are held year round in cities across the country. To receive free training from Craig with no obligation, visit: