Many people know Realtors by Open Houses. It isn’t all that we do, but it is one of the things we do.
What people don’t know is how much goes into an open house. First, you need flyers made about the property which require photographs, which should be taken by a professional to get the quality you need to properly show off the property. Of course to get great photos the home needs to be in pristine condition and staged. Staging is dressing up a vacant or nearly vacant home with a few furnishings to give it a somewhat lived-in look while not being so cluttered as to prevent those touring the home from imagining their own furnishings in it. Some agents stage themselves, some hire a professional stager.
A good agent will turn the open house into an event with snacks, water or beverages, and as much information about the area, comparable homes, schools, etc. as possible.
All of this is done before Open House day.
On open house day the agent needs to figure out how many A-Board signs are needed to direct buyers to the home and where to place them for best advantage. Before that, the agent will have checked what the local zoning laws are around signage. The agent will then gather them up along with all of the snacks, beverages, balloons, and miscellaneous tools needed including a staple gun, screw driver, etc. Then, it’s time to head out to the open house.
Placing the signs is always a challenge. You can’t always just stop where you are going to place them. You have to be aware of traffic and not get in the way. Those signs are about 5 lbs each and very unruly. Getting them set up is one of my least favorite jobs. You also have to make sure that they aren’t blocking pedestrians or bicycles.
Next, you head to the house. Carry in all of your paraphernalia and stop to get the key from the key box. That takes a minute and is sometimes an exercise in juggling.
Once in the house you have to turn on all the lights, open all the curtains, make sure there is enough toilet paper, blow up air mattresses if they are low (the “staged” beds are rarely real), set out the snacks, hide your belongings, and wait.
Hopefully, because you have done some targeted advertising through mailings and social media, you will generate a lot of traffic. You have to be friendly, but not pushy, offer information, and answer questions. Very rarely does anyone want to buy the home on the spot. The best most of us hope for is to develop a relationship with someone who would continue to work with us after the open house.
An open house can vary in how long it is open, and what day it is open. Once it is finished, you have to turn off all the lights. Make sure all windows, and doors are closed and locked, that no one is left inside, haul everything back out, drive around and pick up all your signs (providing no one has stolen one to be used later for their garage sale) drive home, unload and collapse.
It’s a lot of work for only potential gain. So next time you visit an open house be kind to that Realtor. They really are working hard.