2013 Nationwide Open House Days – April 20, 21 – Why You Should Prepare

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Mark your calendars: Saturday April 20 and Sunday April 21 are the 2013 Nationwide Open House days.

This annual event is promoted by the National Association of Realtors. There will be literally hundreds of thousands of open houses those days all across the nation. For all of us, this is a FABULOUS opportunity to take advantage of TONS of FREE marketing!

Prepare now for this exciting weekend when buyers from coast to coast will be out touring open properties. Plan to have yours ready and check what’s happening in your area because you might want to be open both Saturday and Sunday.

Why Do Open House?

There is no better way to get out and meet the public than to have an open house. I love, love, love this opportunity to talk with potential buyers and/or tenants about:

  • who we are and what we do
  • (and this is probably even more important) – what they’re looking for and why. Best way to success? Know what the people in your area are looking for.
  • give the neighbors a chance to know who you are so they think of you when they, their friends or their family have real estate needs

Investors are strange birds in that we typically do things a bit differently than real estate agents. The public sees our “we buy houses” ads but they aren’t really sure what we do or how. Open House is a great time to answer questions and share the benefits you can offer buyers and sellers.

As an example, we started out buying much smaller houses than we do now. Years ago, I thought “tenants” had little money and lived in less expensive neighborhoods. I was shocked when prospects told me that they could pay even $1000 more than I was asking for rents if only I had larger, nicer homes available. In one month, we literally jumped from buying $100,000 properties as rentals to buying $200,000 properties because of the feedback we were getting from prospects. What convinced us to move up in price? The public told us what they wanted.

If you’re not talking to your potential clients, you’re just guessing about what they want and what to offer. Think of Open House as a way to not only market a property, but as a way to market your company and your services, as well as to find out the needs in your community.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Property

Following are just a few tips about open house marketing. The great thing about this coming April 20 and 21 is that there will be a lot of marketing already done for you!

  1. When – Don’t recreate the wheel. In our area, open houses happen on Sundays from 2-4 p.m. so that’s when we have them. Know when they happen in your area and jump on board to take advantage of agent marketing and the fact that prospects are already trained when to be out looking.
  2. How – Marketing is key. You want your open house to be busy from the time they start until the time they’re done. And more people in the home creates more excitement. Post properties on all of your websites as well as on the national marketing sites like Craigslist, Postlets, Trulia and Zillow. Along with the property description and photos, add “Open House this Sunday” and the date. When we had fewer houses, we never removed “Open House this Sunday” from the ad because we had our houses open every Sunday until they were filled. As early as your neighborhood association allows, put out plenty of directional open house signs positioned so passers-by know there will be an open house and how to find it. Day of, put balloons on the signs so they can’t be missed. Have signs and flyer boxes in the yard.
  3. What – We use a flyer template that we create for each open property. The flyers are mailed out to surrounding houses Tuesday or Wednesday prior to Open House. Depending upon the surrounding population saturation, we mail to 350-450 houses nearby. The flyer has the property details and photo along with a brief introduction to our company and an invitation to the open house. We say something along the lines of: “We recently purchased your neighbors house. We invite you to come by this Sunday between 2-4 p.m. to check it out.” You may want to offer a referral gift if they bring your next buyer or tenant. In our experience, it is not unusual for a neighbor to come by and ask if we can also buy their home!

As a bonus, we’ve actually written contracts for the property right there at Open House. Open houses really work for both retail buyers as well as for tenants.

Next week I’ll go into specific steps on How to Have an Open House.

Now tell me, do you plan to have properties open on the Nationwide Open House Days?

About Author

karen rittenhouse

Karen Rittenhouse has been investing in real estate full time since January 2005. In that time, she has purchased hundreds of single family properties, opened a full-service real estate company, a property management company, a coaching/training business, and written three books on real estate.

4 Comments

  1. Karen-

    I had no idea there was a nationwide open house. I like your approach to open houses. Most agents think they are a waste of time. Like you, I have always thought they were a great way to network.

    When I first opened my home inspection company years ago, I used to visit open houses every Sunday to meet and network with agents. This definitely set my company apart from the competition. I always took a coffee mug with our logo on and that was filled with chocolate, tea bags, note pads, pens and whatever else would fit in there.

    Real estate investors should use open houses as opportunities to network with people that really know the neighborhood and may potentially have deals for them in the future; agents.

    Great post.
    Sharon

    • Hi Sharon:
      Open houses are so valuable! I’m not an agent but have used them from the very beginning to find tenants. Some prospects would follow us for months, coming to open house every weekend until they found one they liked. Many even came with money in hand because they saw how quickly our houses rented. And our reputation spread quickly because the community was familiar with the quality of our properties since they could view them every week.
      You can never do enough marketing and this is such a simple way to interact and network with potential clients. I love open houses.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Sharon.

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