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Why open houses — home and away — are lead machines

November 14, 2019 | Inman

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Troy Palmquist is an indie broker in California with more than a decade of experience. His regular column, which covers a range of helpful tips for agents and op-eds on industry happenings, publishes Thursdays on Inman.

You might notice a bit of a vacation theme in my articles lately. I feel it’s important to remind busy agents that you can still take a vacation and run your business.

I’ve covered tips on what to do and what not do on social media and have emphasized five good reasons you need a vacation. But today, I want to put the spotlight on something else: How to maximize open houses, both at home and while away.

The secrets of successful open houses in your home market

How many open houses have led to other transactions in your career? The reality is that open houses aren’t always strictly for buyers. Open houses are an opportunity for agents to network and connect with other agents in different markets while picking up new tricks along the way.

There are several ways to become a master at open houses in your local market. Here are few tried-and-true tips I use:

  • Always invite the neighbors: Now is your chance to meet the neighbors, which could result in a listing or referral to someone who might be interested in purchasing the home, or even better, selling their current one. Neighbors typically know somebody that is looking to buy in their neighborhood, and if you don’t capitalize on this, someone else will.
  • Keep your branding consistent: Branding is the key to attracting more people to your open house. Be sure to have all the open house signs out front and center. Blast the open house to every single agent, broker, client and human being you know via email, social media, door-to-door flyers, direct mail or whatever you can afford. Execute this with a consistent brand image, and you’ll project a professional package while generating excitement and directing more traffic to your event.
  • Look for backup offers: When I say look for backup offers, I mean keep the house open — even with an offer in place. Many agents like to stop holding open houses when the property goes into escrow. But is this really the right thing for the homeowner? Recently, I have seen more and more agents hold properties open after the home has an accepted offer to account for the unknowns. The key here is to be honest with your homeowner. Let them know that the property is under contract, but you’re looking for a backup offer in case the current buyer has not removed all their contingencies. This is a win for everyone.

How open houses in markets away from your locale can help you, too

If you are a real estate junkie like me, you just can’t help yourself. Perhaps it’s a coastal beachfront property that just hit the market or a mountain-view bungalow with all the bells and whistles? When I see an open house that catches my eye while traveling, I make it a point to see it in person.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Open houses are a great way to network to generate referrals and new business
  • They allow you to see what an outside market affords in terms of architecture and design
  • They can inspire new marketing ideas or strategies to use back at home

Case in point: I recently took a family vacation to the Boston area and managed to pencil in a Cape Cod open house at 830 Fox Hill Road, Chatham, Massachusetts, currently listed by Sarah Keith with William Raveis Real Estate – Chatham for $2.249 million.

This was a great experience, and I ended up connecting with the listing agent on a number of levels. We had a follow up email days later, and that perfectly demonstrates how visiting an open house while on vacation can result in future deals or income. Here is an expert from the email:

Hi Troy, It was so nice to meet you and your family and friends yesterday at 830 Fox Hill Road in Chatham. It’s always great when people get to visit the Cape for the first time and appreciate its special combination of picturesque villages, dramatic coastal scenery, history, and the arts.

I looked at your fantastic website and love that your offices are gathering places for the community. You’re building something really interesting and unique. In addition, I know you’re considering an investment here, so I’m going to send you our monthly market report. It’s a snapshot of all the activity in Chatham and provides really useful data. You can also click-through and dive into more detailed statistics, and find information on other towns, too.

Thanks for asking me the questions about Eastward Ho reciprocity, the max boat size for the mooring, and estimated rental income with the renovation – I’ll have those answers to you tomorrow. In the meantime, feel free to call, text, or email if you have any questions. Have a good evening. Best, Sarah.

I share this because it demonstrates how one open house can lead to a whole host of opportunities. I can now provide a solid resource or referral to current and future clients looking to relocate or purchase a property on the East Coast, specifically in the Cape. In turn, this agent can also refer her clientele to me when they are seeking property on the West Coast, from Malibu to San Diego, Newport and beyond.

Additionally, the agent provided great feedback on my current business model and marketing. It is always an added bonus to get a fresh pair of eyes on your business, especially when it comes from someone outside your sphere of influence or designated market area.

Another perk? I was able to see how agents on the East Coast are marketing their beachfront properties. This has already sparked several new ideas. All of the above helps me not only market and build my brand, but can lead to new business in the future. This is all from a single open house!

Do you have any open house rituals or traditions you stick to while at home or away? Are you addicted to dropping into open houses on vacation like me? Let’s chat about it in the comments below.

Troy Palmquist is the founder and broker of The Address in Southern California. Follow him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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