Traditional tools of the trade come with the danger of repeating the same old, bad habits. Open houses may be a routine part of your marketing process, but here are a few bad habits you can break to make them more effective.

1. Neglecting the “Neighbors”

The Web is great, but never forget the local nature of real estate; especially when it comes to marketing. If you really want to drive traffic, make sure the neighbors nearby know about the open house in the weeks and days before it happens. In a world where 92% people trust personal recommendations, these local evangelists are one of your best marketing tools.

2. Tug-of-War Timing

One of the biggest open house hurdles is timing. Most open houses are from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. To generate real traffic, consider deviating from the norm and combining the open house with a target-appropriate activity like a week-day happy hour for the young professional demographic or a post-dinner cookie tasting for families with kids. If you eliminate your competition with timing, you’re more likely to keep buyer’s attention.

3. Over-“Helping”

Open houses are about giving a property the time to sell it itself. That means you have to resist the bad habit of hovering. When it comes time to show, you have to trust that you’ve done the best job possible preparing. Most people are attracted to open houses because they create a low-pressure opportunity to see the home. If you ruin their zen moment to view and bond with a property, chances are you’ll scare away potential buyers.

4. Showing without Security

In the mad dash to move the property, don’t make the mistake of neglecting your personal safety. While open houses are a great opportunity to sell, they can also put you at jeopardy if you don’t cover a few of these basics:
  • Schedule Check-ins – Whether with your broker, colleague, or team member, schedule periodic check-in phone calls or visits to confirm your safety.
  • Institute a Distress Code – Check-ins are good, but having a short code, such as “I need the purple folder,” to let colleagues know you’re in trouble can save valuable time if you need help.
  • Eyes up, Not on Your Phone – Until you’ve done a safety check, avoid responding to emails, text messages, or other phone activities that may capture your focus and leave you vulnerable to potential danger.
For a larger list of safety tips for open houses and other agent situations, check out the list of 56 Realtor Safety Tips from the National Association of Realtors.

5. Going Too Big on the Staging

Showing success isn’t always about maxing out on luxury; sometimes it’s the details that help a property move. Installing new lighting and renovating key rooms are a great way to bring positive attention and traffic. However, ignoring the finer details, like a fresh doormat and well-cleaned trim, can distract from or mar a property’s perceived value.

These are just five of the open house bad habits we’ve seen. What would you add to our list?

Posted on May 12, 2015 on Trulia Blog