A chance to meet potential clients face to face

The explosion of online real estate marketing and shopping has led to a dramatic drop in the number of phone-to-phone and face-to-face meetings between real estate agents and their prospects. The open house provides a proven way to gain clear and easy real-time access to prospects that are ready to buy or sell homes.

So, what's in it for the sellers?

You're probably asking yourself, "But what's in this open house thing for the seller?" Why would homeowners agree to be booted out of their houses for the afternoon so that their agents can throw open the doors in an effort to attract prospective new clients? And why do sellers care if their agents generate new leads, anyway?

While you may have these questions, sellers rarely, if ever, ask them.

That's because most sellers have no idea of the limited results that are likely to result from an agent holding an open house in their home. In fact, if you survey most sellers, you find that they desperately want their agent to hold an open house for their home. They hold fast to the belief that an open house may sell their home. However, the odds are low: Homes are sold directly through open houses only one out of every twenty times. And it seems that every seller knows someone whose home was one of those few open house sales success stories. They inaccurately apply one owner's experience as the rule instead of the exception. As a result, they want an open house, ASAP.

To sellers, an open house is a tangible way to see agents doing something to earn their fees.

The selling of real property is a mystery to most people, but they can easily understand an open house because it isn't part of the behind-the-scenes magic that an agent performs to get the home sold.

Sellers actually see some real advantages from the open house experience. Open houses do sell homes — just not the featured home and not usually to a prospect who attended the open house. For example:

1 An open house attendee may share her home-buying interests with the hosting agent, who proceeds to sell her a home featured at an open house a week ago.

1 A couple attending an open house may find that the featured home isn't right for them but that it matches the wish list of some good friends, who end up making a purchase offer.

What's more, an open house prompts the owners to get their home ready for prime-time showing, and that alone makes it worthwhile for all parties involved. Whether the home sells as a result of the open house (as only a few do) or afterwards, the effort provides a worthwhile dry run for all the showings that'll follow.

«jjjUBEfl In addition to giving you the opportunity of meeting all the home shoppers who drop in, an open house gives you the opportunity to meet neighbors and friends of the home's owners — all of whom may end up in the real estate buyer or seller market in the future. Take time to figure out the needs, wants, time frames, and motivations behind each person's home-shopping experience. Form a connection with the home shoppers. Once they meet and visit with you, home shoppers find rejecting you as "just a salesperson" much more difficult.

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