The success of the tried and true real estate basic stock option open house remains debatable among most agents in my area. Yet, when I watch shows like “Million Dollar Listing,” it gets the hamster wheel in my brain churning out of control. Why is it that Frederick and company can have 250 people attend a broker open, but agents in my market are lucky if they see five pieces of traffic when it comes to open house weekends? From my perspective, with over five years of real estate experience as an agent and now a director of learning for RE/MAX, it all comes down to one thing: marketing.
So What’s the Deal?
While open houses can sometimes test the faith of real estate sales associates, these events do help market a property, market an agents’ experience in a neighborhood and provide a chance to establish relationships with potential buyers-even future sellers. So if you aren’t “sure” about an agent’s ability or talent when it comes to helping you buy or sell property, I have one slice of expert advice for you: check out their open houses.
An Effective Open House?
Effective open houses should go beyond a basic “meet and greet” and “here have a cookie” conversations. Great agents create a virtual office on any street, in any neighborhood, in any town. The best agents understand that they need to post signage in advance, use appropriate riders to advertise the open house and understand how to promote their event online to other area agents, as well as to potential clients. The goal? Building relationships for repeat business.
The most effective agents that I have seen when it comes to open houses will tap into neighbors’ networks and discover if they know anyone who might be interested in the home. They market online, they leverage social media, they create attractive emails. They don’t just throw something up on MLS and cross their fingers. The best of the best will even carry around a marketing plan with them to an open house.
From Good to Great
Great agents (and I know this because I train them) avoid stating the obvious with potential home buyers coming into any open house. Instead of behaving like a tour guide, great Realtors provide insight on the neighborhood, schools and even anecdotes from neighbors. They will be armed with information about the neighborhood, have printouts of nearby houses and up-to-date homeowner association information (if applicable). Bad agents? Well, these guys will just have business cards.
So if you are looking to buy or sell and you want to weed out the competent, professional agents from the agents who aren’t so great, one effective way to do so is interview your unsuspecting agent by popping into his or her open house. Because it’s not the open house that is a dud, it’s the agent holding it.
More from this Contributor:
‘Naked and Afraid’: The Real Estate Edition
So You Think You Are a Property Manager?
Don’t Go Home Shopping Naked