Open House Tips for Realtors

1. Advertise! A study conducted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that 92% of buyers use the internet to house hunt. Make sure your open house dates are available through Zillow. With over 130 million visits per month, Zillow is a great place to start.

2. Invite neighbors to a appetizers or a wine and cheese party at your open house. It’s a great way to network and prospect. Socialize and have fun.

3. Everyone who visited your open house is a potential buyer so create an automated nurturing email marketing campaign to stay in touch. Make sure to also follow up within a few days so you can reconnect and help with their home buying search.

4. Be strategic with open house signage. Sandwich boards are great, but also mix it up with signage that is legible from a distance of at least 30 to 50 feet. Place directional signs to advertise in a five block radius ro reach a wider audience. Add helium filled balloons to attract attention.

5. Depersonalize the property. Remove family photos, diplomas, awards and anything else in the home before the open house. By removing personal items, the home doesn’t belong to any particular group of people and visitors can see themselves in the home.

6. Clean and organize closets and other storage spaces. Buyers will open closets, drawers and anything else with a handle. Instead of an avalanche of boxes when they open the storage closet, make sure closets are clean and organized.

7. Target local homebuyers with online advertising. You can even target potential buyers according to zip code through Google AdWords, Bing, Facebook and other online resources. With Facebook, you can add photos of the property and link to a landing page where more images of the home are available, plus a contact form to learn more.

8. Advertise by drone. Yes, drone advertising. Hoovy advertises open houses by attaching banners to drones and flying them in public places for real estate agents. Hoovy flies the drones at about 60 ft from the ground to be closer to the public.

9. Staging can help sell a home. Group your colors. Try to limit colors to just three per room. Keep larger items lower. If you have an even amount, take one away. Always keep quantities to an odd number as it is more visually appealing. Mix throw pillows and to create a spa appeal, add white towels to bathrooms.

10. First impressions are important. Simple updates to the entry can make a world of difference. Add a planter. If the door is worn, a good coat of paint can make a difference. A new welcome matt will make it more inviting. Sweep, clean cobwebs and remove anything worn.

11. In one study, 30% of people reported scented products as “irritating.” Skip the air fresheners and candles. Instead, encourage your seller to shampoo carpets, open the windows and let in the fresh air, deodorize appliances and toss throw rugs in the wash.

12. Experiment with lighting before your open house. Try opening shades and curtains, turning on different sources of light.

13. Advertise in small local newspapers as not every buyer is internet savvy. Many retirees read local papers and you’ll get a lot of mileage for your investment.

14. Consider a themed open house. If the home is Mediterranean design, consider presenting tapas. If it is a Spanish style, nachos may be perfect. Give your potential buyers a unique experience to remember the home.

15. Have handouts with your contact info ready for buyers to take. Mortgage Loan Breakdown and a glossary are two great handouts. Neighborhood information like local schools, grocers, restaurants and the “walk score” are great information. And attach your business card to every handout. Have a sign in sheet for visitors and capture their name, phone number, email and any other pertinent information. Follow up a few days later.

16. Email prospective buyers and invite them to your open house. Showcase the home in the email and include a professionally branded email signature. And offer to preshow the home. Why wait? Give prospects the ability to schedule time with you to tour the home early. Add an online scheduling link so buyers can set a time without fussing with the phone, call backs and waiting. After all, in this competitive market, the home could be pending by the time the open house arrives!

Real Estate Photography Tips For Realtors – Don’t Do it Yourself, You’ll Lose Your Commission Check

I’ve done it myself; taken what I thought were great listing pictures and used them for my online MLS listing. My clients thought they were fine and I thought they were just fine, until I started working as a buyer’s agent in Seattle a few years back.

I worked with over 40 different buyers a week and everyday I’d hear, “Did you see those listing pictures? There’s no way we want to see that house, it’s a dump! Does the listing agent know how bad they are?” Obviously, the listing agent didn’t spend anything on real estate photography.

My buyers would also see some great listing photos and want to get in to see the home that afternoon. We’d step inside and they’d wonder if it was the same home they saw online. They felt cheated because the pictures were nothing like the real home. (but at least the listing agent got buyers walking through the house).

It all came down to the listing pictures they saw online. That’s essential marketing for listings! Give buyers a great picture and they’ll jump inside the house that day. Give them a “do-it-yourself” picture and they’ll move onto the next home. The listing pictures make the difference, especially when you spend a few bucks on professional real estate photography!

Even when the listing pictures were better than the actual house, guess what? It still got the buyers inside! That’s your goal as a listing agent; get as many showings as possible. Professional real estate photography makes that happen.

With upwards of 80%+ of buyers looking online now, the listing photos are the first thing they’re looking at and basing their initial impressions on.

How much money in lost commissions do you think you’re missing because you won’t spend a couple hundred bucks for professional real estate photography?

If you did spend the well invested marketing dollars on some professional real estate photography…….

  1. You could have more satisfied clients because the home sold faster.
  2. You could have made more cash because you didn’t have to drop the sales price when the listing became stale on the market.
  3. You could look like a top producer in the area because of the quicker sales, better looking listings and more satisfied clients. Your overall image is enhanced, big time!

Isn’t it funny how such a small aspect of your business can affect the whole thing? Anytime you realize how one issue affects your net profits, that’ll make you perk up, right?

Now don’t give me the excuse that it’s too expensive because it’s not. Look at it as a marketing and advertising expense because that’s exactly what it is. And real estate photography is one of the best things you can spend your marketing dollars on.

You have a couple options……..

You could grab a professional in real estate photography in your local area and offer them $50-$200 to come to your listing and take some fabulous photos. Make sure they’re top notch, have all the right equipment and understand the goal of these photos. You don’t want to pay for real estate photography that’s no better than your own.

Your other option is to go with a company like Vicaso.com who does real estate photography exclusively. Their business is listing photos for real estate agents!

You can schedule your photo shoot on their website, pay about $200 or so and get the most captivating listing photos you’ll ever see. Even if you have a crack house listed for sale, their real estate photography will make it look like a palace.

I’m telling you; don’t skimp on your real estate photography. Look at the cost as an investment. If you spent $200 on professional real estate photography and got back another $20,000 in commissions that year from faster sales, more clients, and higher listing prices, wouldn’t that be worth it? You betcha!