Broker’s Open House
I have been receiving at least one invitation each week to attend a Broker’s Open House. The most recent requests have even come from agents who are not affiliated with my company, which is new for our market, and in my opinion, a wonderful development. I have attended quite a few Broker’s Opens (also known as Broker Previews) for listings within my own company. However, this uptick in invitations and opportunities to see a wider variety of properties listed by other companies has been a welcome change. Agents often work through transactions with agents from other brokerages, so why not open up new listings for all to see — ideally leading to a quicker sale.
For those who live and work in a larger market, I apologize because my recent experiences will seem like “old news” to you. I understand that Broker’s Open Houses have been a major marketing tool for years in big cities with upscale properties and clientele. For many of the rest of us, this selling tactic is finally picking up steam and becoming a useful tool to network and get a property sold. I should also mention that most Broker’s Opens have only happened at high-end properties until very recently. I honestly don’t think the price point has to be at a certain level to be considered for a Broker’s Open. Agents work with buyers with varying budgets, so it’s good to share both lower and higher priced homes. There are many benefits of a Broker’s Open and I encourage all agents and investors to consider hosting this effective preview when they have a great property to sell.
So, what these benefits of Broker’s Open, and why should you consider adding them to your marketing plans?
First, this property preview is not only a great way to get a lot of people excited about the property, but also an opportunity to inform agents about the wonderful features of a property. An excited and well-informed agent is much more likely to suggest this property to clients who might be a good match. Agents can tour this home, take pictures, assess the size and layout, and then go back to their buyers to set up a private showing. Imagine how many potential buyers could be reached if only 25 agents toured your listing! (I do realize that 25 is a small turnout for many cities that see 50-100+ agents and investors at a Broker’s Open.)
Second, these same agents will likely return to their offices and discuss the open house and property with their colleagues. These discussions give your marketing work a “snowball effect”, building momentum and reaching a larger audience by word of mouth. As agents, we like to get the scoop on properties from those who have already seen them. We trust their insight and judgment. Additionally, these agents create a sense of urgency about showing the property. If the open house is well-attended, agents can see how many people will be sharing the listing with their clients. They don’t want their buyers to miss out on a great home, so they will likely send the information immediately and work to set up a showing appointment.
A third great benefit of the Broker’s Open is that it is aimed at a target audience. A traditional open house literally opens the door to anyone who would like to see the home. In my experience, there are a substantial number of “looky loos”, curious neighbors, and casual buyers. There are a lot of agents who just don’t do open houses anymore because it is not a productive use of their time, and the majority of guests are not serious buyers. On the other hand, a Broker’s Open welcomes guests who can help get the home sold and also provide constructive feedback on staging, valuable updates, list price, condition of the home and more. Agents are notoriously competitive and blunt with one another, so rest assured you will get some useful information. If you are not having much luck getting feedback cards filled out and returned, I suggest holding a drawing for a gift card as an incentive. Gas cards, restaurants gift cards, or even plain cash does the trick for the groups I’ve been in!
The fourth and final benefit of the Broker’s Open trend is that it is an easy “sell” for the homeowners. In my experience, clients have loved the idea of their home being on tour for many agents while they often balk at the idea of random people walking through the home on a Sunday afternoon while they have to be out of their house for two hours. Broker’s Opens generally take place during the work week, often at a time appropriate for a brunch or luncheon to serve guests. This timing is more convenient for sellers because they are often out of the house anyway, and the turnout is great because agents are already at work and are always happy to show up for free food (I speak from experience!).
I highly recommend looking into hosting a Broker’s Open for your next new listing. It has proven to help sell properties quicker while highlighting the fabulous features of home at all price points. While it takes a bit of time and money to put the event together, I think the result will be extremely positive.
What are some strategies and tips you’ve perfected both as a host and guest at Broker’s Opens?