The Science Behind a Successful Open House

Jul 31, 2017 4:19:42 PM

There’s no doubt about it. Holly Koester of the Arlington (Texas) market center is a master at getting her clients’ homes sold through open houses and generating leads for listings in the process. It’s no surprise after you learn about Koester’s background. Starting her real estate career in new construction sales, Koester spent her first years in the business working open houses every day of the week and has been rocking them for 38 years.

Her hard work and determination is evident in her numbers. Over the past two years Koester closed 75 units per year while going through chemotherapy.  

“I worked through my cancer treatment and was hitting my goals despite my illness,” Koester says. “But at the start of the year, I reached a point where I was worn out and needed some time to regain my energy.”

Since getting back to work after three months off, Koester has taken 21 listings and closed on 19 to date with the help of the Career Growth Initiative. She is not stopping until she reaches 60 listings!

“The CGI calculator is louder than my conscience and lets me know where I need to be,” she says. “I wanted to be at 100 listings sold this year but I reset my goals and am on target to hit 60.”

By consistently hosting successful open houses, she will undoubtedly get there. After years of refinement, Koester has figured out the science behind an effective open house. And it’s not as complicated as you think. “It’s all about being strategic and consistent,” she says.


Koester gives her play-by-play: 

Before the Open House

  • Connect – A week and a half prior to the open house, Koester connects with sellers to discuss tasks that must be done to ensure the home is aesthetically appealing to attendees.
  • Mindset – Koester says that before every open house, she makes sure that she has the right mindset. “My goal for the day is to find one person who wants to buy or sell.”
  • Promote – Koester is very strategic about the placement of her open house signs. She places a sign in the front yard of the home on the Tuesday before the open house and around the neighborhood early Saturday morning. The number and location of signs depends on where the home is located and how easy it will be for people to find it. 
  • Beyond the signs, Koester walks the neighborhood to personally invite the neighbors and emails anyone in her database within a mile and a half radius from the home in addition to sellers and past clients. She also promotes the event on social media through video. 

During the Open House

  • Position – Koester says that she waits at the front door and greets every visitor and then invites them in to explore what could be their next new home. The key is to be at the front door when they arrive so you can capture their information and share your value proposition right away.
  • Capture – To make sure she doesn’t miss an opportunity to capture leads, Koester has every visitor sign in before they begin the tour of the home. She completes at least one line of the sheet to prompt others to fill in their information as well.  
  • Pro Tip: If someone leaves an item blank, such as a phone number, Koester fills it in with her number as a placeholder so others don’t think it is an optional field. 
  • Inquire – While visitors are filling out the contact form, Koester asks them how they learned of the open house. She says this single question is so important and provides a wealth of information. For example, if they were just driving around the neighborhood and saw the sign, you can ask if they have an agent. If they don’t, you can share your value proposition with them right there and offer to help. If they are working with a real estate agent and the agent isn’t present, Koester asks for the agent’s name so she can thank them for sending their clients to her open house.
  • Communicate your value...
    • To Sellers: Koester says that a lot of people who come to open houses are sellers in disguise. While they may not be looking to purchase the home, they are checking out how the agent is marketing it. This is a time to shine for your potential future clients, so take every open house seriously and put it together with a solid strategy.
    • To Buyers: When an unrepresented buyer comes to an open house, you have an opportunity to help them. “I love open houses because the clients come to you,” Koester says. “They are already a captive audience.” When Koester determines that a potential buyer does not have an agent, she shares with them the ways that she can help.
    • Offer to set up a search for them and help them find their next home.
    • While they are at the open house, have them download your branded KW Mobile App.
  • Minimize – During downtime, Koester avoids working on other tasks as it’s important to be 100 percent present mentally and physically. She’s found that the less she brings into the home, the easier it is to focus on the visitors and avoid distractions. When there are small moments of downtime, she conducts what business she can using her phone and that’s it.
  • Pro Tip: Ditch the fliers! What is most intriguing about her strategy is that Koester doesn’t hand out fliers at her open houses. “If I handed out a flier, they would hide behind the paper and focus on the words, not me,” Koester says. “I tell them I will email them the details later in the day after the open house.”
  • Thank – Koester not only emails the listing flier to each visitor, she also sends them a handwritten note and calls them to thank them for coming to the open house.

After the Open House

Once the visitors leave and the doors are locked, it is not time to rest, it is time to get to work. Koester has a systematic follow-up plan following every open house.

  • Saturday Evening/Sunday: Email the listing information and digital flyer to everyone who attended and provided an email address.
  • Monday: Mail a handwritten thank-you card to everyone who attended and provided a mailing address.
  • Tuesday: Call everyone who attended and provided a telephone number and put them into an 8 x 8.

After all is said and done, Koester makes sure to enter every captured lead into her database and then uses the CGI tools to help her track her appointments. 

Intimidated by open houses?

Koester says the only way to master them is to do them. “The more you do it the more comfortable you will be with it,” she says. “They are fun and a very inexpensive way to market and grow your business. Get out there and do it!”

Download our Open House Toolkit for a wealth of resources to get the most out of your open house!

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