The Good Life in Austin Texas

head_left_image

The sign said "OPEN HOUSE" but I felt like I was entering a Used Car Lot!

 Used car salesman                                                                           

Hello...hello??? Are you open today?    

I walk out from the kitchen to see the woman cautiously peering through the door and say "Sure...Come on in! There IS an Open House sign out front and several more planted at various nearby intersections so it should be obvious. The woman opens the door further and steps in followed by a man who quickly darts into an adjacent room before I can begin to introduce myself and start some kind of conversation.

This was how it used to be!

What changed everything was the day a close friend repeated the title of this post "The sign said "OPEN HOUSE" but I felt like I was entering a Used Car Lot!What is worse is the fact that it was his home I was holding open that day! He went on to explain that though I was different in almost every way from his previous experiences with Realtors, Open House's always made him feel pressured. So here I am talking to a close friend who knows and trusts me and I realize that if he feels uneasy then imagine what the general public must think! The general public has all kinds of misconceptions, fears and misgivings when it comes to Realtors on many levels and open house are no different. Some of the reasons the public is uncomfortable with the Open House are well founded. Often new agents are stationed in the open house to find buyers. Nice concept but a hungry, inexperienced new agent and a person "just looking" is a prescription for failure. Sometimes an agent will hold a house open for the seller and does not want to be there and is only doing it to get the seller off of his back. Again, another situation that is not positive for the agent or anyone who walks into the house, with a genuine interest in the home and the market!

I still do a couple of houses a month but I have a completely different attitude and expectations!                                                                                            Open House welcome                   

1) I do not expect to sell someone this house today! (I do not care for pushy sales persons either!)

2) I always provide a list of similar homes in the area and a description that will help the prospects when they leave and "drive by" other homes in the area. It is alsoa good way to start talking!

3) I always welcome neighbors and over the years have developed a large clientele from the folks I have met at open houses. It is an incredible referral and information base.

4) I take my work and laptop with me to stay busy in case the time goes by s l o w l y...(It's a great time to catch up on Active Rain)

5) Because of my laid back attitude I actually end up working with 2 or 3 buyers a year and at least one listing.

6) The best thing that has happened is that I now post a sign on the front door that says in big red letters "This is NOT a Used car Lot" and some verbiage to put the prospects at ease. Now, when they walk through the door they are usually laughing and the folks that want to visit are more comfortable while the "lookers" do not have to scurry around avoing any sontact with the "Realtor".

There is not a neighborhood where this will not work. My most recent open houses ranged from $970,000 to $3,875,000 so don't take anything for granted or be afraid to use some humor and always know what your talking about (don't EVER fake it).

If your searching for a different approach (or attitude) try it and send me a comment later and let me know how it works out!

 

 

Russell M. LewisPage copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

If you enjoyed this post, why not connect with me in these other communities?

Follow Me on Twitter   Become My Friend on Facebook   Time to get LinkedIn!   Subscribe to The Good Life in Austin Texas      

120 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • August 23 2008 11:16AM

Comments

I have heard of pushy agents. Guess who I heard that from? New clients!

Open houses should be warm and welcoming and so should the agents. You are not there to force people into contracts you are there to showcase the house!

Posted by Shane O'Gorman Eau Claire Wisconsin Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell (Eau Claire Realty, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Bottom line - Buyers buy from people they like!

Aloha, and have a great day

 

Lance Owens (RS)

(808) 936-8383

Lance@KonaHomeTeam.com

www.KonaHomeTeam.com

Aloha Kona Realty Inc.

78-6740 Alii Drive

 

Posted by Lance Owens (Aloha Kona Realty Inc.) over 2 years ago

Russell, I love your approach. You are too right about "hungry" new agents. Sometimes you can almost see them licking their lips as you walk through the door. I'm glad you've found a way to make this stereotypically negative experience a positive one for you and your clientele.

Posted by January Financial over 2 years ago

When I do an Open House, the mindframe I try to put myself in is that of an Ambassador.  Having answers about the neighborhood, other homes on the market, history of the area, etcetera allow people to be more relaxed--they may see the sign & stop by, not necessarily for that particular house, but to see what the neighborhood is like. 

When cruising open houses, people tend to be in "idea mode" rather than in "buying mode."

Posted by Kent Simpson 520.302.5368 Tucson Homes Land & Investment (Tierra Antigua Realty) over 2 years ago

I haven't had much luck with the open houses that I have done.  I do them to please the sellers mostly.

Posted by John Walters (Licensed in Slidell, Louisiana) (Slidell, Pearl River, Lacombe) over 2 years ago

I'm not a big fan of open houses as they ususally aren't very successful in my market. I have heard that open houses have less than a 10% effectiveness in selling the home. Putting the sign on the door is a great idea! One thing that works to generate traffic to an open house is to knock on the 20 closest neighbors doors the evening before an open house and give them flyers about the home. It is a good way to generate business.

Posted by Real Estate Fergus Falls, MN 56537 Ryan Field (998home.com Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Shane I also try to do the same and filter out potential "problematic clients" (there are plenty of agents out there willing to put up with almost anything!)

Lance I hear you and agree that our clients work with people they like! 

January Financial Thanks for your comment, they are like hungry sharks at times and are giving us a bad name!

Kent  That is a great quote "people tend to be in "idea mode" rather than in "buying mode." Thanks for contributing!

John I agree that selling the house does not happen much which is why I utilize the time to improve my business in the other ways that I discussed! Thanks for your comment!

RyanI forgot to mention contacting the neighbors, i do that and it's a good way to visit on a one to one basis. i also forgot to mention that i mostly hold open houses in the sections of town where I specialize and also farm! thanks for mentioning it!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell! Great post. Open houses CAN be a source of business and it is also a good way to stay in touch with the people in areas where you already work!

Posted by Karen over 2 years ago

Russell Good article and a good plan to spend time constructively while at any open house although I am with you and only do open houses where I consistently do business!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Karen and Anne I have always enjoyed the time (I limit my open houses to two hours ONLY) and as I stay in a limited area many of the open house visitors are people with whom I also stay in contact by mail and other places in the community!

Thanks for commenting,  

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

hahahah....I like that comment above ....  Sometimes you can almost see them licking their lips as you walk through the door.  I think that's okay....they're enthusiastic.... There are some that just stand there like dead door nails that have been in the business for years and act like they're all bored.

 You have a good set of to do's while doing an Open House. There was one I did for fellow agent in my office during the summer and I did not get to sit down once! 21 groups of people came through that day...and I have been working with a buyer who went back to Japan and coming back the first week of September.

Have a good Friday night blogging! (I'll be heading home shortly :)

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman HAWAII Real Estate & Relocations (Century 21 Liberty Homes) over 2 years ago

I don't like doing opens..but I do like your attitude...I has given me a new perspective on opens..

Posted by Konnie McKee. Associate Broker VA & MD CDPE, RDCpro (MAC REALTY, LLC/REALTY DIRECT, LLC) over 2 years ago

so don't take anything for granted or be afraid to use some humor and always know what your talking about (don't EVER fake it).

Hey Russell,

I like your idea of using humor!  If you get people to laugh, it takes away some of their tension.

Posted by Not Yet Licensed over 2 years ago

Hi Russell, I'm not a huge fan of open houses either but my clients expect me to have them... so I do.  Opens generally do not sell homes... buyer agents do!  I try to market my homes to other agents in my area (reverse prospecting) and hope that they have a buyer interested in my listing.  Feedback from my clients certainly tend to agree with some of the above comments... they do not like "pushy" agents and they want to feel comfortable with their decision to buy.

Posted by Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (Keller Williams Chervenic Realty) over 2 years ago

Sally I love your enthusiasm too and we seem to have the same sense of humor along with the ability not to scarefolks off! I was also amused at the video your husband shot of you at your computer awhile back! Glad to see mischief runs in the family!

Not Yet Licensed You are so right because humor can often diffuse most tense situations. So....i don't want to be "pushy" but when are you getting your license? I think your comments show you would be a great agent!

JonI am with you in that department and constantly market to buyers agents. Here in Austin, my business is split about 60/40 with buyers and sellers so I have a pretty balanced idea of what is going on with both (at least for this week)!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I know I hate going to them exactly for your stated reasons.  Hopefully others will read and think from the buyers perspective, and I must assume you do well, BECAUSE you do things the way you state!  In the end, that should pay off well for you!

Signature

Posted by Ronald Gillis, CNSA Southwest Florida Notaries, Port Charlotte, 941-7-NOTARY (Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent)) over 2 years ago

Good Article. I will say I don't like the use of the term laid back, as it seems you don't care and you just take what comes. To liberal of a term and seems you are hyping the hippie era which seems to turn most people off. I know that is not the case and yet I can see you are taking a more professional and realistic approach to the business. We wwork that way and have tried to always work that way. You can be prodcutive and focused and still not be a pain in the side. I do believe it builds better relationships and in the end a better business model for production and happy customers

Great artticle

Posted by Hollis Tidwell (MoneyCafe USA,llc) over 2 years ago

Konnie I used to feel the same way and I changed my attitude by looking at what would make my time more productive while working an open house!

RonaldThanks for the compliment to our State! You sound like you have great attitude in your business too and it will pay off!

 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

What a fabulous post.  Loved the sign idea to put prospective buyers at ease!  Brilliant!

Posted by Jacki & Jerry Shafer, The Shafer Team Call 502-643-SOLD (7653) (The Shafer Real Estate Team, Keller Williams Louisville East) over 2 years ago

Hey, Russell. Great post!!!! Thanks for the advice; I wish you all the best, Jim

Posted by Jim & Maria Hart ~ Charleston, SC Real Estate (AgentOwned Realty) over 2 years ago

So Russell, are you saying you would not like to purchase a home from the handsome gentleman you pictured in the top of your post?  He might be one heck of a Realtor!  Regards,Aaron

Posted by Aaron Cullen: Folsom, El Dorado Hills & Sacramento Real Estate & Short Sales (Brokers Inc. Residential Real estate) over 2 years ago

Great picture. I have never been pushy at open houses.  I have been through some that you feel like you are at a used car lot so I know what you are saying.

Posted by Chuck Carstensen (Re/max Associates Plus/The Discovery Coach) over 2 years ago

Pushy isn't my style either.  I accompany the visitors throughout the home & answer questions but don't knowingly hustle anyone on the home.  I've obtained listings & a couple of sales from open house visitors over the years so I can't be totally wrong.

Posted by DALIA KIBBY (Keller Williams Realty Partners SW) over 2 years ago

Russell great post and I love the picture.

In Real Estate we have from the Top to the bottom.

Now with the slower market maybe it will flush out the used car sales agents.

 

Posted by Abiud (Abi) Montes (EWM Realtors) over 2 years ago

Russell - this is right on target and great advice.  I wish someone had told me this years ago, but instead I had to learn it for myself.  It's amazing what happens when that light goes on ....

Thanks for the chuckle - and that graphic is priceless.

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) over 2 years ago

Hollis  I have to tell you that your are correct about the "hippie" thing because at one time I did have extremely LONG hair (along with a huge number of professional in all fields) and Austin is still very "easy going. Well actually we are professional but also subscribe to the phrase "Keep Austin Weird". I am actually doing a localism post in a few weeks about the phrase. We are a little different here and if you ever visit you will learn why and probably like it! Thank you again for leaving some relevant comments! I do appreciate it!

Russell

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Recently we were followed room to room by the realtor at an open house -- we too felt rushed and uncomfortable to browse as we please.  When we left, my husband commented - what did he think -- that we were going to steal something? (the house was vacant). 

Realtors -- Welcome us - be open for comments and conversation and we will spend more time, remember you favorably and recommend you in the future!

Posted by Margaret Oscilia-Home Stager, Salem Oregon (Creative Concepts and Contracting, Salem Oregon) over 2 years ago

Over the years, I have had a lot of success with open house activity. 

I hold the house open to sell the house.

It's all in the agent's goal and perspective.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker, Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Jacki & Jerry The sign is fun and works most of the time! Try it!

Jim & Maria Thanks and best to you two too!

Chuck  You are right and I always woner why agents do not know any better. No one like to be pressured!

Abi There does seem to be a glut of agents these days but it would be nice if the good ones will stay in the business!

Margaret it drives me crazy when a salesperson "hovers" over me! Thanks agin for mentioning the "welcome" aspect of this business!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

What a great idea for holding open houses. Your sense of humor is a treaure. Can't wait to work with you Russell.

Posted by Carla Umlauf-Cheesar (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

I agree with you on the open house theory. It's all about mindset and helping the people that come through the door.  "Being of Service" not a VULTURE!

Posted by Zen Ziejewski (Keller Williams Realty) over 2 years ago

I am a new agent and I have held an open house every Sunday since April ( when I received my license) with the exception of 3 Sundays. Although I have not had a great number of people show up to the open houses I have receive a few worth-wild leads and am curently working with a buyer. I have used the approach of letting the potential buyers look around at their own pace and ask questions later. What are some of your ideas about getting people to the open house?  

Posted by Kenny over 2 years ago

Aaron That's funny and I am still laughing but Nope I would not buy from the guy!

Dalia I am outgoing but never pushy myself and like you would never "hustle" anyone!

Lenn - I have also sold a few of my open houses and though agree with the idea of selling the house, it is not all that often it happens so I am always suprised when that occurs! My point was that open houses generate a lot of other business for me. Thank you for commenting!

Carla I hope you put some the ideas you leran here at Active Rain to good use! Thanks for dropping by!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell, I've seen you in action, and I think the term is "laid back tenacity". People know that you are interested and care, but you aren't going to torment them into anything. By the way, I've always loved you in that pink jacket!

Posted by Terri Moore (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Russell - I just wrote a blog about this today (and it has sunk like a stone with no comments like my posts ALWAYS seems to do ughhhhhhhhhh!), but I held an open house last Sunday and wrote an offer on it.  We're now in pending.  To me, the trick about open houses is to "qualify" the house.  I only do homes in my farm area, with good visibility, homes that haven't been on the market for more than 30-45 days, they have to photograph well, I only hold it open for 2 hours, advertise with E-flyers posted to Craigslist, a small newspaper ad WITH DIRECTIONS, and post to the MLS under "Open Houses."  I generate good traffic, have picked up buyers and I treat people like I would want to be treated, i.e., know about the house and area, I give people breathing room, I am not pushy at all but am available for questions.  I also follow up with a thank you card if they give me the correct information on the sign in.  Oh, and I always bring with me a purchase agreement!  Have to set your intention!!  Great post Russell.

Posted by Alyce Martin in Albuquerque - THE Place To Be! (The Realty Group, LLC) over 2 years ago

Zen I like your service attitude and I am still laughing at the Vulture comment! Thanks

Kenny You have a great work ethic and you will sharpen your skills the more you do the open houses and at the same time will be more relaxed. hey, It's already paying off! Try putting up the sign I mentioned and see if it helps break the ice with your visitors!

TerriYou are right, I can be both and I am only tenacious when called for and what's this about a Pink Jacket???

Alyce Thank you for such great comments, your post was probably just as compelling! Maybe it was just the funny "salesman" picture I included but you never know! I hope folks read your comments because they dovetail perfectly in to my post and are exactly the same strategies I employ when working an open house!  Thank YOU again!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

 Hi Russell, I'm laughing out loud, I swear the guy in that photo tried to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge many years ago. I could be wrong but it sure looks like him!  ;-)  Have a great weekend.

Posted by marti garaughty (WordPress in Plain English, blog graphics and design) over 2 years ago

I love the sign, I'm sure your clients do too!  I also think the "area homes" sheet is a great idea.  Sounds like open houses work great for you - because you've got a great plan and attitude!

Posted by Penny Hull at Stanton Homes - New Homes Raleigh Triangle Area (Stanton Homes - New Homes Raleigh NC and Surrounding Areas) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell,

Most people don't like the aggressive sales people approach. 

Catherine

Posted by Catherine Sinocruz, Broker-Salesperson,ABR,GRI,CRS (Prudential Nevada Realty (Reno, NV)) over 2 years ago

Russell. Great blog. I think it is important to be enthusiastic and all. However, I think if we should take control but let the client think they have control. Royal..

Posted by Royal Goodman @ GI Group, LLC (GI Group, LLC.) over 2 years ago

that is a great idea. It seems that mortgage brokers like myself are a minority on this site so I can say as a "non realtor" that I can not agree with the first part of your post more. Over the years I have had several friends become Realtors. Its funny when you think about how that person was prior to being a Realtor. These are people that I have known for a long time. On the outside, us non-realtors sometimes think you guys go to a class on not being a realtor, but how a realtor should act. The personal touch is missing in many cases from these people now and they seem to be after one thing, the "kill" - not saying every Realtor, but it is just funny to see this transformation right in front of our eyes as we have. Good post

Posted by Jeff Polonsky (loansnjobs.com and EasyWayToShop.Com) over 2 years ago

Great approach to open houses..you go Russell.

Posted by Susan Avant over 2 years ago

I like your humor!  I bring my labtop as well but sometimes I bring my knitting.  I've picked up clients because of the knitting  Didn't intend for it to happen but it started a conversation and one thing led to another.

Posted by Barb Van Stensel, Realtor - Chicago, Illinois (Keller Williams Lincoln Square) over 2 years ago

I like to put some cookies in the oven, a little aroma therapy candle burn, hand out flyers of nearby homes for sale, just be accomodating -  It makes it much easier for conversation and to get them to fill out a guest card.

Posted by Steve Laird (Gateway Realty) over 2 years ago

I absolutely hate open houses.  Do I still schedule them?  Yes but I grude every minute spent.

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) over 2 years ago

I love the idea of posting a sign on the door. I'm going to do that tomorrow.

A photo of me, with the caption, "Don't worry! I don't bite! Come on in and check the place out!"

 

Posted by Dee Nofziger, Toledo OH Real Estate (Danberry Co., Realtors and Floyd Wickman Team ) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell...I love the thought of some humor (although I very, very seldom do open houses as they just don't work out here in the country).

How about saying "Absolutely No Arm Twisting on Sunday (or Saturday...whatever day you're holding it open).

That way it has humor but it is not a put down of another profession.

Take care,

Kate

Posted by Kathleen "Kate" Elim LAKE ANNA, VA Real Estate (DOCKSIDE REALTY) over 2 years ago

I can't believe Dee just stole my thought. I was already visualizing fangs at the front door. Great post Russell, thanks for sharing.

Posted by Debbie Small, REALTOR® (Long & Foster Realtors) over 2 years ago

I love the picture with your post.  It's great.  I like to do open houses, I meet lots of clients at them. 

Posted by Christine Loschiavo, www.RealAZ.com (Chandler, AZ West USA Revelation) over 2 years ago

Russell, you write with and have a great sense of humor.  This year I have met and sold homes to three buyers who cam through my open houses.  One of the buyers has already sent me a referral. I have learned that a laid back and approach is best.  Used car lots are not fun!

Posted by Anonymous over 2 years ago

Russell, you write with and have a great sense of humor.  This year I have met and sold homes to three buyers who cam through my open houses.  One of the buyers has already sent me a referral. I have learned that a laid back and approach is best.  Used car lots are not fun!

Posted by Sharon Parisi (Keller Williams Premier Realty) over 2 years ago

Russell, this was a great post.  I'll use some of the tips you mentioned and also those of your "commenters".  Another thing I do is to have flyers laid out showing what sets our firm apart from the competition for buyers AND sellers.

Posted by Heather Goodwin ~ Shreveport Louisiana Real Estate (Nest Realty) over 2 years ago

I love your sign - "this is not a used car lot" - hilarious!!!  I also find that people people like to shy away from me - I try to leave people alone and just ask them for feedback on the house.  I have had a lot of sales as a result of open houses, but they have yet to buy the one I was holding open when I met them...

Posted by Emily Lowe - Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group Sotheby's International Realty) over 2 years ago

I do open houses 2 or 3 times a month.  Unfortunately, I don't always have internet.  I think I probably get one more deal a year becasue of open houses.  I have sold the house that was open only once in my 9-year career. 

Posted by Edie Lomason, BA, ABR (Venice Florida - Horizon Realty) over 2 years ago

I have sold many houses by having open houses...you can judge if someone wants help or not.  www.tracysoussi.com

Posted by Tracy Soussi -NC & SC Broker/Large Bank Foreclosures over 2 years ago

Marti Thanks so much for commenting, I think we have all run across similar characters at one time or another!

Penny Please free to use my ideas, they work for me so why not you!?!

Catherine None of us likes a pushy salesman!

Royal  Excellent points and you are correct that we do need to "guide" our clients!

JeffGood comments from a non-Realtor point of view (although you have to deal with us constantly!) And you may be right there might be a class for no class Realtors...

Susan Good to see you in the Rain and thanks for dropping by!

Barb A sense of humor is necessary in this business and I love having my laptop when an open house is slow! and knitting is a way to connect with clients of similar interests!

Steve I still go for the cookie routine but sometime eat them all! An eztra mile on the trail helps!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell What a great idea to use a light hearted sign to break the ice and I like your suggestions about other things to do when an open house is slow!

Posted by Michelle over 2 years ago

Russell One of our associates emailed me about this blog! It is wonderfully funny and I know that this works for you. I like your ideas but will have to tailor them to fit my personality!

Thanks!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Diane I used to hate them too and then started using the techniques I described. I also have my laptop to get work done and of course never go anywhere without a book to make the time pass!

Dee Definitely try it and I love your message if that does not break the ice, nothing will!

Kate I love your quote and you got me about the idea:

"That way it has humor but it is not a put down of another profession."

I have client who I met at an open house who actually is in the used car business and luckily for me he AND his wife thought it was funny too!

Debbie I am glad to be communicating with realtors like you and Dee, It is a refreshing change!

Christine Keep doing them and feel free to use any of the ideas!

Sharon Thanks for the compliment, and thanks for letting other know that a good attitude can yield results!

Heather This is a great place to find new ideas and share. I also like your idea of promoting yourself and your company at the same time!

Emily Feel free to try a sign of your own and like you I have had a number of good clients I met at open houses! Although I have sold several of the open houses, it is rare and I am always SURPRISED!!!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I too have learned to take my computer to help me in the slow times.  I can work on my listing presentation or tweak my website.  Things are a bit slower here with OH.

Posted by Latonia Parks (Paradigm Real Estate, Fayetteville NC, Home of Ft. Bragg, NC) over 2 years ago

Russell This is good and VERY FUNNY post. i still like doing open houses and fell like it's a good chance to meet people face to face. yes, it can be awkward at first but i am good at putting potential buyers at ease. I will try my own version of your sign and see if that works for me like it does for you!

Posted by Erin over 2 years ago

Michelle It is always helpful to put folks at ease and i always try and have something to do if no one shows up!

Anne Please do use my idea for a sign and add your own personal touch!

Latonia Those are great suggestions for constructively filling time during a s l o w open house!

Erin Welcome to active rain and I hope you get some clients from my sign tip!

 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I liked your post.  Many people say that Open Houses are mostly a waste of time, but I feel that it's an opportunity on many levels and it comes down to preparation. 

We always host our opens the very first weekend they are on the market.  So far, EVERY SINGLE YEAR we've been in the business, we've had a sale from our open house efforts.  NO KIDDING.  On the flip side, we've also sat many opens with no traffic at all.  But you win some, you lose some, and you just keep playing!

We also use your same approach of welcoming the neighbors over.  Some of the best long term relationships can be established there.  After-all, you have a sign that reminds them of who you are posted in their community - So stand behind it and let them know you're there. 

On nearly every open house - a couple hours prior,  we hand pass out 50-100 invitations to the neighbors in person.  If they are outside we give it to them or place it neatly on their door letting them know to come by and spread the word.  In each case, the buyers said they they didn't even know the house was for sale yet.  In EVERY case, the client was already living in the same community or knew someone that wanted to buy up.  Here's a couple examples.

The first time this happened was our very first open house on our very first listing.  We passed out 100 surrounding the home.  The person lived two streets over and came by to see it for her mother.  The next day we had a full price offer from her buyers agent.

Another time the people only lived a street over, they didn't have an agent and we represented both sides... Well three sides to be exact.  We were our sellers agent, their buyers agent and now the listing agent of their home.  My 12 year old son actually passed out that open house invite (he got a nice treat for that one).  Anyway, the very next day they gave a full price offer to our seller.  It sold in just a couple days too. 

Again it's attitude, preparation and consistency. 

Speaking of which, my husband is hosting an open here in an hour and I need to beat the streets for my back to school hand outs (Again an effort to stand behind the sign in the community and remind them that we are there - we have some simple back to school supply hand outs for the houses surrounding all of our listings.)  With all the other signs up, we're sure to be the ones they remember. 

Thanks for your post.

Amber Gardner

Posted by Amber Gardner over 2 years ago

Amber Thanks for so many great comments. This has been a good source for more ideas to share among ourselves and your comments probably would make a nice post on their own! Thanks for adding to the great suggestions, I just wish I couldcheck your blog too!

I am also an avid volunteer at the schools in my area and have been for years. They are one of the reasons the area is so highly regarded and schools need all the help they can get!

Have a great week, Russell

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell, what a neat idea - totally out of the box!  I should make a sign like that and place it at my next open house.  Personally, I enjoy doing open houses.  I have gotten listings and closed sales from open houses.  Some locations work better than others. It's a great avenue of meeting and qualifying people.  Like you, I like to provide visitors with complete list of what else is available in town and neighboring cities.  As in a second-home market, we need to look beyond our little town.  Another thing that I have done is to throw a neighborhood get-together party (at a vacant listing). Follow-up on those leads also work for me. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by Sherry Sim, SRES, E-Pro, GREEN, SFR Covering the Beautiful Central Coast CA (Keller Williams Realty-Central Coast) over 2 years ago

So....i don't want to be "pushy" but when are you getting your license?

Good evening Russell,

At the rate I'm going, I can safely estimate that it will be approximately in the year 2020!  :)

Posted by Not Yet Licensed over 2 years ago

Sherry Please feel free to make your own sign and add your own personal twist, I have gotten some great feedback from several people who tried it this weekend and had good results. Of course after breaking the ice we still have to have something compelling to say! I like the idea about the neighborhood party because i always manage to connect with MOST of the neighbors i meet!

Not Yet Licensed That's very funny and probably a good idea, you don't want to rush into anything as bizarre as real estate!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I know that you are successful with your open houses because you use them for expanding your business in ways othert than selling the house that DAY! And that picture in the post is Hilarious!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Russell - You are my type of guy.  I love the approach you take to your business and open houses.  This is an important read for any agent.

Posted by Jason Sardi, Pretty Fly for an Allentown Guy (None needed;)) over 2 years ago

Hi! Me again, I just wanted to comment on your banner at the bottom of the page. It looks great and I like that you put your AvenueOne picture and link along with the subscribe button AND the copyright button. You are really taking to this active rain thing!

Very cool!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Russell - I go out of town for a few days, and you decide it's time to write a featured post!?!  But seriously, this is a terrific technique, and I fully intend to use it on my next open house.  Mind if I steal this idea for my agents, too?

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 2 years ago

I agree that Open Houses don't really sell houses......we just do them to keep our sellers happy.  I just make sure that I have alot of things I can do during my open houses so that I am not bored if no one  comes through the house.  I always take my laptop, and I love it when there is wireless internet like at some of my condo projects.......I can actually get alot of work done!  I also take all of the realtor magazines that we get all the time.......they have great articles, but I don't always spend the time to sit down and read them.  Open Houses are a great opportunity to get that kind of reading done, too.

Posted by Francie Little (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Russell We are starting to try and get on ActiveRain more these days and I wanted to look at your blog! This one is so on the mark and as is often the case has something from your humorous point of view! I like the different approach you utilize when holding open houses and it is nice that you don't mind sharing with others!

Thanks,

Karen

Posted by Karen over 2 years ago

Mattie Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

Jason I appreciate you dropping in and commenting too! I have learned great deal about expressing myself from you in our brief time of knowing one another and THANKS!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Jason Crouch Thanks for checking in, I am as surprised as you that this was featured and I still do not know how it happens but I am glad! I actually finished my piece on Barton Springs and got it posted (i don't have that gift that you do of writing it "stream of concious style". Now if I could blog in the same as I talk it would be amazing or maybe just crazy??!?!

I really want to thank you for being so open and helping me learn the ropes here and also just encouraging me to post. I look forward to visiting with you soon and have a great week!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Francie I know what you mean and it is important to always take eithr work or play to pass the time if no one arrives. I think it is important to help maintain the mindset that I am ready to work!

Karen Thank you for yuor comment and I do not mind sharing ideas with other realtors here at active rain. They have been willing to share many things with me form the time I joined!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell This a funny and very good approach. I also like all the good ideas others have shared in the comments section! Thank you! Ally

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Allysoun Your comment points out one of the main reasons that blogging here at Active Rain is so helpful. There were so many very good additional ideas in the comments that we all learned something new and i enjoy the exchange of different opinions!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hey, I wanted to look at this blog again. It is very well written and you have some great ideas. The nicest part of the blog is that you have so many good constructive comments withy more good information that everyone is able to share!

Good Work!!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Russell.... as a rule of thumb you generally will not sell the home you are holding open..this is really almost a given. I have how ever sold like 3 this way in 10 years.. not on the spot... but within a few days.

Posted by Roland Woodworth,SFR - Clarksville Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource (Exit Realty Clarksville) over 2 years ago

Mattie I agree that one of the best aspects of this site is the fact that so many people make constructive comments and share their knowledge with others!

RolandSo true and like you have sold a few and I am always surprised when it happens!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I like the way you go about open houses. I do not really like to hold them but your attitude is really what is important and what you want to achieve makes a big difference. I am going to try posting your sign this weekend and I also plan to take along some extra work to keep me busy if no one showsup!

Thank you for writing this and also for all the great suggestions left by other realtors!

Posted by Sonya over 2 years ago

Good post and I liked the humor approach.  There was a post recently about someone doing twilight open houses.  Have you tried it?

Posted by Jerry Becker and Associates over 2 years ago

Russell, as usual, you are very clever! I so agree that this probably totally breaks the ice with a prospect. I guess that I am so going to have to come to one of your Open Houses and watch you in action!

Posted by Liz Newell (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Sonya I really had to change my attitude about open houses because if you do not want to be there, it shows and customers can feel it! That's why i started taking work with me and figuring out ways to make it a better experience for everyone!

Jerry Thanks for your comment, I will also check out the twilight open house (sounds kind of like Happy Hour but it might work)!

Liz It does help to make the visitors more at ease and it make s me more comfortable too! come on by anytime! I am doing one in Rob Roy on Sept 7th!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago
Russell - You might hit the 100-comment mark very soon on this one, my friend. Congrats on getting so much interest in this post.
Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 2 years ago

Jason I appreciate you dropping by! I am as surprised as anyone but I did say I was going to try to do posts that had more substance (I just wish they flowed as easily and as articulately as you)! Thanks again for your advice and help and I will see you soon!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hey Russell,

I decided to get on early today and start looking around the site and check out your blog! This is so cool and I am laughing at your story because so many people think we are pushy and aggressive. This is an excellent way to break the ice and I am going to put my own particular spin on my sign!

Posted by Sonya over 2 years ago

SonyaIt is sometimes an uphill battle to over come the public distrust of us and humor always helps (at least for me)! Thanks for dropping by! I hope more of our associated becomes involved her in the rain!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell,

Your enthusiasm is contageous. I usually do 1, sometimes 2 open houses a month.  I no longer do open houses in vacant, unfurnished homes however. It is uncomfortable and there is nowhere to sit.  There is this weird echo and I've noticed there really insn't enough to entice the lookers to stay for more than a few minutes. 

I actually enjoy doing open houses for my sellers.  But, I also think holding a successful open house depends on the seller's preparing the home.  If I am holding an open house, I contact my sellers in advance to give them my Honey Do list which usually involves making sure the yard is mowed, edged and watered.  I also ask them to make sure the windows are clean, the drapes and blinds are opened and there are fresh flowers on the kitchen table and the pets are gone.  In return, I bring drinks and sometimes a tray of fresh baked cookies. I also remember to leave a thank you note for my sellers and a plate of cookies, especially if they have children.  I ask everyone that enters my listing to sign-in and I make sure to follow up with them the next day. These lookers usually give great feedback.  

I usually end up working with 2 to 3 buyers from any opoen house I hold.  If my listing isn't right for them, I already know the neighborhood after doing my CMA for the listing.  Right now I am working with 3 buyers for an open house I held 2 weeks ago.    

 

 

Posted by Carla Umlauf-Cheesar (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Great idea Russell on the sign.  I might have to steal it. 

I too am very laid back and it has netted me a few clients.  When I direct them to my website (for the information they want!) it opens up a dialogue and let's them know I don't expect them to buy THIS house.

Posted by Arizona retirement homes for sale, Kathy Anderson, Sun City Grand AZ office (Ken Meade Realty) over 2 years ago

Carla Thanks for leaving your own great suggestions! I like the idea of sending my sellers a to-do list, it's perfect and I never thought of it! I have enjoyed quite a few comments to this post because it is an very good way to exchange ideas and tips to help each other in our business! I have also had good success connecting with buyers because of the non threatening way I work and like you have lots of data to share about the area!

Kathy Please do use the sign idea and tailor it to fit your own personality and way of doing business and let me know how it works out!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell,

It's my first time here and I wanted to look at a "blog" this is a really good story about open houses and I like the way you have mixed your style in with the writing! The additional comments also have a lot to offer. I just dropped by the office today and our receptionist told me to check it out! Thanks for checking this out for our company. I am looking forward to learning more about active rain!

Posted by Rebecca Freeman over 2 years ago

Hey! I already commented earlier but there are so many good ideas in the comments that add to your original post so I wanted to send the link to some associates so they can read the whole thing! This is a very good and funny post, I am sure there will be a lot of people trying the "warning sign" approach at their next open house! Thanks again!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Russell,

I commented on this earlier but now after reading so many additional comments, I realize the importance of having a community that also adds good thoughts and suggestions! Thank you again for an informative and funny article!

Anne

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Russell,

You are too much!  Those are funny stories and I like your attitude!

Posted by Michelle Keahey (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

I really like the sign idea.  Nothing like getting them to laugh before entering.  I can vision in my head already.

Posted by Brett Mumaw ~ Southern Indiana REALTOR® (Semonin Realtors) over 2 years ago

RebeccaI am glad you are trying Active Rain out, as you can see it's a great resource for the exchange of ideas!

Mattie I hope everyone tries their own version of the sign! I like the fact that we can share helpful ideas here!

Anne You are welcome and I also recently learned to use spell check! See you soon!

Michelle Attitude is about the only thing I have control over and it helps to use humor every day!

Brett Please use the sign and add you own personal twist! let me know how it goes and thanks!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

So many good comments and interesting ideas that I'm going to have to bookmark it and come back later.

I'm holding an open house today, so was looking for inspiration - and found it here!

Thanks!

Posted by Beth Larsen, Sedona Arizona (RE/MAX Sedona) over 2 years ago

Beth That's one of the great aspects about blogging here! Many of the comments contribute to the information in the original post. I am glad you bookmarked this because ther are a lot of good suggestions!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I looked this up again to copy all of the great suggestions in addition to your post and I am going to email them to everyone who has been looking for a different way to do open houses! There are so many good ideas here!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

MattieThank you for commenting again! As always I encourage any one who wants to r the sign or any of the numerous suggestions posted to please do so! I would love to hear if anyone considered this post helpful at their nect open house!!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

You are welcome! Next weekend is the company wide open house and so it will be fun to try out some of the ideas that were in the post and all of the comments!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

MattieThanks again for commenting, I hope everything goes well at the upcoming group open houses!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

The following are some Open House Success Strategy Tips:

Promotion:

Send Invitations to nearby homeowners (they love to feel welcome and know about the property)

Signs with balloons (mylar - they last a long time and look great)

Create a Virtual Open House Tour ( click on www.HomesByOpenHouse.com for sample)

Presentation

Have music playing (soft, easy listening, smooth jazz) tip - you can have a CD in your laptop

Have candle lit (vanilla scent) Have a candy jar (individually wrapped hard candy)

Work with your lender (referral partner) for team selling.

Follow-up

Send "Thank You" handwritten note cards to attendees

Work with your lender (referral partner) to follow-up with phone calls to cross-sell you and pre-approve potential buyers.

This is just a brief list of items so you may have a successful Open House.

Wishing you "The Best of Success"

"Open Houses Sell Houses"

Posted by Mike Albers (HomesByOpenHouse.com) over 2 years ago

Mike Wow! what great comments! You should use this as a post yourself! And thank you for:

( click on www.HomesByOpenHouse.com for sample)

I am still a proponent of Open Houses (but you already knew that) and appreciate all the new suggestions!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Wow, Russell, what a huge number of comments! I usually read through the comments before commenting, but didn't do that here.

I've also found that holding an Open House in the neighborhood I live in (and in which I've sold over 100 homes) is a comfortable way to stay in touch with clients, as they are more comfortable dropping in at an Open House than they are stopping at my house or my office.

Posted by Sharon Simms St Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (ALVA International, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Sharon I was surprised at the number and great quality of the comments. Thank you for the comment and like you I still enjoy meeting and making contact within the areas where I am already known because I like interacting with people face to face!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Sharon I was surprised at the number and great quality of the comments. Thank you for the comment and like you I still enjoy meeting and making contact within the areas where I am already known because I like interacting with people face to face!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Sharon I was surprised at the number and great quality of the comments. Thank you for the comment and like you I still enjoy meeting and making contact within the areas where I am already known because I like interacting with people face to face!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Great post and so true...people hate pushy anything whether it be a Realtor or a shoe salesman or a used car guy...Its great to see that you put people at ease...great job!

 

Rick Goates

Posted by Rick Goates about 1 year ago

Rick I just like to treat my clients (and soon to be clients) the same way I want to be treated! Thanks for commenting!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell, I missed this one and it was great!  It sounds like you do Open Houses like I did. I am not a pressure salesperson, don't like those that are so it would not be in my nature.

I love the sign idea...hope to use it once the market changes here. That's a fabulous idea.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) about 1 year ago

Hi Gena I hope our market does improve sooner rather than later and from the comments it looks like most people are like you and me and do not appreciate high pressure sales tactics. (and it will be fun to see how many people use the sign idea!)

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Great post...  I have gotten 2 listings from meeting folks at an open house.  They're happy to find a not pushy but great attitude!

Posted by Colleen Cooley, CRS - Jupiter Florida Realtor (Seacrest Florida Properties) about 1 year ago

Colleen I am glad to hear that. I think it is all about attitude and making the best of meeting people!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell. Thanks for your great post- it motivated me!

I'll pass along one of my favorite open house stories. Several years ago, I had an open house scheduled on a day I didn't feel well. I dragged myself to the open house and had just one couple through the entire time. I was closing the house up, had the door locked and the sign just in front of the house was down. I still needed to pick up my directional signs. As I walked past the front door after turning my last light off, I noticed 2 couples through the sidelights and one lady was peeking in! "Drats!", I thought, "I want to go home. I don't feel good and these people are probably just lookey-loos."

I opened the door, and invited them in. Twenty minutes later, we were talking about furniture placement in the house. I offered to contact the prospective couple of the two the next day with additional information (I always try to figure out a reason to get ahold of people again), including a floor plan and room sizes.

My phone call the next day led to a CMA on the prospect's current home, followed by my listing of the home and selling it myself within a week. I also sold the open house to the couple, and within a week of listing their home, they referred me to a family member. I sold that family member's house right away and referred them to an agent in another part of my state. Off of that one open house, I had sales of approximately 1.6 million. I'm very happy I opened that door, flu or not! 

Posted by Leslie Hampton Realtor Boise and Eagle Idaho Homes (Keller Williams Realty Boise) about 1 year ago

Dear Russell,

What a great approach. If they are laughing when they hit the door that is a great sign and worth every penny! Have a great Sunday!

Betina

Posted by Betina Foreman-Serving Lake Travis, Lake Austin and the greater Austin area! ((512)771-6318 Prospect Real Estate Solutions, LLC) about 1 year ago

Great post---In several neighborhoods where I do open houses, I've been surprised at how many neighbors are coming out these days.  They seem to be much more involved.

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) about 1 year ago

Leslie Thanks for that story, you should put that into your blog. As you can tell from the comments here, it's an issue that has two sides and like you, I think that an open house can be a great resource depending on a person's attitude! Great comment and thanks for adding to the discussion in a constructive way!

Hi Betina You and i  both understand that a sense of humor goes a long way towards easing peoples apprehension when meeting new potential clients. I am so glad you dropped by and you should try your own version of the letter. it;s a great ice breaker!

Diane I agree about the neighbors and enjoy visiting with them in the areas that I work most often. It's such a good way to learn more and connect with them! Thanks for adding to the discussion! 

OKAY...I am not sure about all the blank "comments" but thanks for dropping by and next time say something, it's greatkly appreciated!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Participate



(optional)
What does the graphic say?