Dealing With Animals Or Children When Staging

If you have decided to put your home for sale on the market, you will have to consider all types of buyers; those who love pets and those who don’t. There can be many reasons behind that thinking so there is no need to be judgmental.

Before putting a house for sale in which pets have lived with the owners, you are going to need to do a lot of retouching and cleaning. You should move your pets temporarily to some other home, until till you get a new home for yourself.

Animal or Children Damage and Solutions

Children and animals damage things, there’s no denying that. There has to be a way to fix up the damages, remove the pets from site temporarily, and make the house look as if it had never been lived in by animals or small children. Here are some solutions to help you clean up the “mess” and make your visitors comfortable with the place.

  • Stains on the Floor – If you have carpeted floors, the stains might be difficult to remove. You can seek professional help when it comes to cleaning or washing the carpets, not just to remove stains but also to make them appear clean.

Wooden floors are susceptible to pet scratches and scratches made with toys by children. Consider refinishing if that’s the case in order to make the floor look new and almost unused.

  • Pet Odors and Smells – This is one thing most home buyers would definitely not want in their new home. Living in a house with pets makes you immune to the smell, but when an outsider pays a visit, they can instantly whiff pet smells in the house.

Use some professional solution to make these odors go away but don’t use air fresheners. These only provide a temporary solution.

  • Signs of a Pet – You don’t want your visitors to sense that a pet has been living in the house. Remove serving bowls, pet toys, pet beds, litter boxes and other things that belong to your pets to give a good first impression. Make sure you remove all pet things from all rooms. Don’t put up photos of your pets.

When it comes to kids, decluttering is one thing that helps achieve a big part of their clean-up. It is recommended to start at least a week earlier than the date you want to put the house on the market. Some sellers with kids allow at least a two-hour notice period for showing. This is to clean the house, clear the clutter, and remove or hide any freshly-made stains or scratches.

If there aren’t any hidden cabinets in your home where you can dump the entire clutter if somebody wants to see your home in ten minutes, be prepared to use the car trunk to throw the debris and clean up the place quickly.

Pay special attention to kids’ bedroom when decluttering your entire house. Organize the cupboards, pack away off-the-season clothes, put away some unused or broken toys, and get rid of gear that is no longer needed.

When you are done staging, take excellent photos of the kids’ bedroom as well as the lawn or front yard, to put them with an ad. Repainting is another important step when you decide to sell off your home that has been lived in by small children. If the walls are dirty, nobody would be interested in buying your home.

If you have older kids at home, get them involved with the staging process and tell them just how great it would be to move into a new home. Ask them to clean up their own room, and provide them with boxes or cartons to store away things they don’t need.

While kids at home can pose serious threat to your staging efforts, they can also become an inspiration for some people. For example, if you have a children’s playroom or toys room in the house, you can de-clutter it and make it neat and clean to show it off to the visitors.

Similarly, children’s study area can be an attractive thing for some buyers who have kids of their own and who would like to buy a place that is child-friendly.

Promoting & Advertising Your Home Online

Way back in chapter one of this book, we spent some time talking about how to market your listings online, giving you an overview of how to use websites, video and social media to drive people from their couches to the driveway of a seller’s home.

Especially as this is the most effective way to get people to visit your listings in the real world (remember, NAR says 90% of buyers reported using the internet at least once during their search), we will now spend more time focusing on the online side of home marketing, going in depth on how to not only display the home but engage with your sellers and potential buyers.

Online ads

MLS listings are still the go-to source of information for a home.  They create a central hub for everything such as basic stats (how many bedrooms, square footage, yard size) to features such as underground sprinkling systems, out buildings, and workshops.

You can (and should) add a number of photos and even videos to your listing, making sure to effectively use as many different kinds of media as possible on a given site.

However, it is not simply enough to put the information on the site and hope that people will be interested based on mere data.

There is simply too much competition out there, especially these days where third-party aggregators like Zillow and Homes.com draw from all of the MLS data available, regardless of which realty agency they are from.  So you not only have to compete directly with your co-workers for attention, you are literally competing with every realtor in your area.  So, how do you get your listing to stand out?

Customize – First and foremost, if your agency website or local MLS sites allow you the ability to customize your listing page, take advantage of that to choose colors, themes and fonts that will give the page a warm and inviting appearance.

Using those choices consistently across your listings will also contribute to building a recognizable brand for your business. This can be used to highlight the basic data like bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage that buyers will very much be looking for.

These aren’t necessarily the things that will sell the home, but they will get it looked at in the first place.

Features – If the home has a feature that people may be interested in it should be included in the description. So make sure to talk about the smooth-top range, double ovens and sprinkler system.

Even seemingly mundane items like central air conditioning and French doors can be important.

Copywriting – Once upon a time, you could get away with simply putting all that information in a single paragraph description without hardly a single adjective.

Now, because of that competition I mentioned earlier, competition that was really tough a few years ago during the housing crisis, it is important that even the descriptions be warm and engaging. So no descriptions like this:

Three bedroom ranch for sale with two bathrooms. Two car garage. Nice lot in a quiet neighborhood. Home features central air, spa tub, and lots of shade.

Sure, there is a lot of information in a small space, but it doesn’t really say “Here is your new home! The search is over!” now does it?  Use your imagination a bit and try something more along the lines of this:

This three bed, two bath ranch has plenty to offer the first-time home buyer. With a well-appointed kitchen and an open concept design, you’ll be able to prepare meals while still interacting with friends and family. 

The garage is roomy, giving you plenty of space for both vehicles and room to walk around them and store bikes for leisurely rides on the nearby bike paths.

Tired at the end of the day? Retreat to the master bathroom and relax with a class of wine in the spa tub or sit outside in the private backyard or the inviting open front porch to talk to the neighbors.  Either way, you will find plenty of shade from the hot sun.

On days that are just too hot and humid to be outside at all, you can stay indoors where the central air system will keep you cool all year round.

Now that sounds a bit more inviting doesn’t it?

The example doesn’t contain much more actual information but it is presented in a way that treats the reader like a person, aiming to draw them in not only to the description but the home itself.

If you don’t have the necessary skill for this, consider hiring a freelance copy writer to craft your listings. There are many out there and are usually fairly low-cost.

Photos – If you don’t have any photos for your listing, it will be a red flag and most buyers will not even look at it.

The same if there are only one or two photos of the outside of the home. It tells buyers that there is either nothing worth seeing on the inside or that the realtor is trying to hide something.

Before you take your photos, make sure that your seller has done the necessary prep work of clearing out clutter and that any remodeling work done to support the sale has already been completed.

Those photos form the first impression for buyers and they will not be happy if what they see when they walk through the front door is different from what they saw on the listing.

Make sure you are taking good photos as well. Have a quality digital camera with a decent flash so you can take good pictures of a poorly-lit basement.

Try for a day with little cloud cover so you can take advantage of as much natural light as possible. Use wide angles for the most part so you can show context to the room.

Nothing is worse for a buyer than to be browsing a listing and find a bunch of close-ups of random corners and closets. Unless that closet is one of the best designed on the planet, don’t post a picture of it.

Focus on the features everyone talks about – the kitchen and the bathroom. If there is a well-done fireplace, capture that as well.  Give some shots from outside to show off the home’s curb appeal.

And don’t be afraid to work with the seller to improve that as well if necessary. It is amazing what a few plants near the front door and stake lights along a walk way can do to improve the look of a home.

Also, in the same slide show that you will create for the photos, include a floor plan of the home.

This will allow the buyer to really envision what the home looks like buy combining that plan with the photos.

Video – Video (or virtual) tours of homes have become a growing trend recently. And why shouldn’t they?

Realtors, like everyone else, are constantly working to improve their game and once most had gotten a handle on how to do photos the right way, video was the next logical step.

They have also never been easier to produce in terms of software for editing and processing and the equipment needed to shoot the video.

You’ll want to take the prospective buyer on a tour through the home, showing off the best features and highlighting how they can help make the house a home.

Feel free to get into the details a bit, talking about things like the mechanicals of the home (if they are newer and well-serviced) as well as extra touches like designer handles and pulls.

There are a couple of different ways to approach video production. One is to simply make it a slideshow with artful transitions set to music or a voiceover.

This is definitely the easiest to do but also adds the least amount of value to the listing. After all, if all you are doing is repackaging the existing photos and reciting the description there is nothing new there and the buyer will likely notice the lack of effort.

By taking a video camera around and talking through the tour, pointing out things as you go, you invite the buyer into the home and allow them to hear your voice.

If you also get in front of the camera and allow them to see your face, it will go a long way to building a rapport with the buyer and they will feel like they know you and the home before even meeting.

To facilitate that bond, add in some personal touches. How do the home’s features relate to your own hobbies and interests?

Obviously, if you love cooking, then talking about that in the kitchen is a good way to build that connection. Or if the backyard is clear of trees and the home is in the country, why not talk about how that is perfect for stargazing?

Get the buyer thinking out of the box about the home’s possibilities.

Finally, concerning those third-party aggregators we mentioned earlier, they aren’t going away. So you might as well accept the fact and learn to work with them.

You can do this by actively promoting your listings through those sites. Naturally, this isn’t free but given how often buyers are going to sites like Trulia before contacting an agent, it will be worth it to help get your listing to the top of the search pile.

Facebook

Social media makes up a significant portion of the time people spend on the internet, especially for mobile devices. In fact, if you factor social media and video streaming sites into things, then mobile devices actually account for most of the time we spend on the internet.

As a realtor, you can make use of that fact and get your listings moving faster than ever.

Listings – Naturally, you will be posting your listings here.   But be creative with it.  Just posting a link back to your MLS listing is far too cold and business-like for the personal nature of Facebook.

Post a picture of the sun room, mentioning how great it would be to relax there on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and a book.  Or in the evening with a beer.

You can also change your cover photo to reflect your latest listing, or even the latest sale.

By posting your listing here, your Facebook friends will see it and possibly view and share it, extending your market penetration into areas where it might not reach otherwise.

Photos – Just as with the MLS listing, you should be making use of lots of photos here.

Personal touch – Share little bits about yourself. You can let people know that you are going on vacation or offer your view of the current housing market.

Tips – This is a great way to offer advice to all of your clients.  Give tips on what sort of remodeling projects a seller should consider and how to get them done. Include links to helpful articles and even local businesses that can help do the work.

Give thanks – When it comes to those businesses that you regularly do business with, or would like to, offering a “thank you” for a job well done and a link back to their website can go a long way to building a rapport that you and your clients will benefit from.

The neighborhood – While you should certainly extol the virtues of the area you work in the listing, especially the specific neighborhood a giving listing is in, Facebook is a great way to help your prospective buyers learn more about where they might be living in the near future.

Include posts about local attractions and events, both entertainment and charity centered. Include links to the relevant websites to help people get more information.

Share when a school is being built or a new restaurant is open or when any local institution or business receives an award or appears in the local paper.

Local customs – What makes your area unique? Is there a quirky holiday tradition that only happens where you live?  Share it and draw people in with the unique charm and character of your region.  This is also a good way to share local history, making it easier for a buyer to see himself putting down roots there.

Contests – Put up a picture of an amazing looking home, or maybe one that isn’t the best and ask your followers to come up with a caption.

The best one gets a gift card to the local hardware store or carpet cleaning service. This provides a service to your clients buy pointing them to reputable local businesses and helps ensure quality service when your clients go there mentioning your name.

Happy clients – Always post pictures (with consent of course) of your happy clients getting ready to move into their new homes or of clients starting the next chapter of their lives next to a “SOLD” sign.

Interact – Don’t just post and run!

Pay attention to the comments people are making and respond where appropriate, showing that you actually care about what your customers think and are willing to treat them like people, not just a commission.

You can also post questions. “What is your favorite exterior color?” “How many are going to the blueberry festival?”

Questions like these allow your followers to offer constructive input. You can even ask what sort of tips they would like you to post next. And always, always respond to comments.

Email

After all that talk about social media and crafting virtual tours, it may seem a little anachronistic to suddenly move into talking about email. However, this is still a very good marketing tool and can result in many an unexpected sale.

Email is a simple way to share listings with people who are either current clients or past clients who for whatever reason did not in the end buy a home at that time.

You can even reach people who have never been clients by having a sign-up sheet at open houses. Many people who go to an open house are only there casually, checking out what is available on the market, while not necessarily intending to enter it anytime soon.

By sending out listings via email, you keep these clients and potential clients engaged and thinking about buying a home, and buying it through you.

While this technique may not convert to many sales, it can provide an unexpected surprise when you are contacted by a buyer you haven’t heard from in years in response to a listing you sent them the day before.

Things to think about when sending listings via email:

  • Keep the copy personal and engaging.
  • Use the best photos for each listing.
  • You’ll only be able to use one or two.
  • Include the basic stats.
  • Link to the listing site.
  • Include links to your site and Facebook page in the signature.

Other Online Methods

There are many other ways that you can engage your clients online.

Social Media: Twitter, Pinterest, Periscope, and Instagram are all different ways that you can expand your market reach and interact with clients.

Use the same principles as for Facebook but adapt them to the individual format. For example, Twitter’s 140-character limit is perfect for asking your clients questions or thanking someone for a job well done.

Blogs: With a blog, you can write more extensively about your listing and also events in your neighborhood, allowing you to really get into the history and character of your region.

Link your posts to your social accounts so that more people will be able to find them.

YouTube: There is no reason not to set up a YouTube channel for your business. It is completely free and has the potential to place your listings in front of millions of potential clients.

Use it to host all of your virtual tours, as well as videos in which you offer insights and tips, trips to the local fair and whatever else will both relate to your business and allow you to engage people.

Single Property Websites

As a realtor, you know that for a potential buyer to find a seller’s property to purchase, marketing is a crucial part of the process to close.

It sounds downright obvious, but let’s explore this topic a little further.

More than making sure the home is properly staged, in saleable condition, and other preliminary preparations for sale, a realtor’s ultimate responsibility to their client(s) looking to sell their property is to ensure that the home is marketed in the best way as possible.

Marketing makes the difference between a fast, no-nonsense closing, or a seller’s home stuck in “listing limbo.” Again, pretty obvious.

What is not obvious is how many realtors don’t make use of the most current and effective tools available to them, relying on the tried-and-true sure-bets of yesteryear without updating their methodology.

The outcome is that the entire selling process takes longer than it should, with lower commissions at the closing. Sellers eventually are forced to drop their asking price to make it more attractive.

Have you guessed what realtors are missing out on yet? One of the most effective but overlooked tools is creating a single-property website.

Let’s take a look at this how realtors can get up to date and start raising their commissions.

What’s a Single-Property Website?

Basically, a single-property website is as exactly as it sounds: a website exclusively dedicated to advertising your client’s property. Unlike MLS, or “multiple listing services,” there are no links and advertisements to other properties held by competing realtors.

Single-property websites can include multiple listings at the same location (i.e. a condominium, apartment complex, etc.)

The effect is still the same: you exclude other listings while creating an impressive professional web presence that can go beyond an MLS listing (which is still perfectly valid as one facet of an online marketing strategy).

Let’s take a look at more specific ways that a single-property website can benefit realtors. You’d be surprised what a website can do!

Why Do I Need a Single-Property Website?

While some realtors out there may still be thinking that creating a website from scratch is unnecessary or simply isn’t worth the investment, here are some reasons that might make you think otherwise:

Staying Competitive

Want a significant competitive advantage from the get-go?

Most real estate agents don’t feature this service for their clients. Instead, they rely on the outdated online methods (i.e. only listing on MLS) that may have worked like a charm in the past, but are no match for the instant-access world we now live in.

Offering this perk for sellers and buyers shows that your business is aware of the best currently-available tools and web-trends to sell property faster than other less web-savvy realtors.

Outsmarting the competition has more its rewards.

As you’ll have more instances of the property and the pertinent information available online, which drives leads, higher search engine rankings, potential buyers, and traffic to your other related websites (i.e. other single-property websites, your business’ homepage, related social media) that other’s miss out on.

Plus, a single-property website shows you’re worth your commission by going the extra mile.

Thinking Outside the Box

The flexibility of the web allows you to have unlimited customization for websites, whether it’s on a smartphone or home computer. Every website can be tailored specifically to showcase the best features of the property.

For instance, creating a section of the website dedicated to the history of a historic home adds to the value and stokes the curiosity of buyers. The only limitation is how creative the realtor can be!

Price Negotiation

From a seller’s point of view, it is never wise to place similar properties side-by-side. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what multiple listing services do.

The property may be overlooked among price comparisons and already gives buyers leverage for negotiating the price down significantly.

Cost-Effectiveness

Worried about the cost of building a single-property website and how it affects your ROI? Creating a website has never been cheaper and the formerly time-consuming barriers-to-entry have been reduced dramatically.

With cheap hosting services and domain registration costing less than your last business lunch, it makes no sense why the majority of realtors shy away from creating an effective website.

There are a number of tools, tutorials, and templates available online (see below) that can have a new listing up and running in a few hours, even starting as a complete beginner.

If you’re time-strapped, there’s an ever-growing number of freelance web designers that specialize in creating real estate listings at affordable rates.

Lack of Distractions

There’s nothing more off-putting to your clients than seeing advertisements on the web page, especially if they’re unrelated to the task at hand, which is learning information about the home.

Worse, pop-ups can subconsciously frustrate or fatigue the buyer before they even get a chance to decide if the house is attractive. Having a dedicated website to the property ensures that only you get to.

Exclusivity

This might be the hidden X factor that wins over clients: how many people can say they had a bespoke website built for their property? Purchasing a new dream home and selling a treasured house are both significant milestones that people love to share with friends and loved ones. But then again, who doesn’t like to show off a little?

Having a website completely dedicated to the property in a sleek-looking website (without the clunky and generic look of most MLS websites) will have them oohing and ahhing when they imagine the prestige of living in such a nice home. Plus, who doesn’t take a peek at the price tag?

Don’t write off how important this fringe benefit to can be when it comes to closing the sale.

What Should Be on the Single-Property Website

So, what exactly should be included on a single-property website? While there’s no one answer that fits all budgets and properties, there are various types of content that can increase the value of the property and expand the audience that views the property.

Walk-Through Videos

Creating a video of listed properties works as a great supplement to the pictures, bringing to life the content you’ve provided on the website. House hunters want to take in as many details as possible about the property.

A walk-through video provides a physical sense of the location before they even set foot at an open house.

There are a number of options out there for including video on your website, and you’d be surprised about some of the options available to realtors.

Anything from interactive videos to flying drone-based tours is fair game, as is creating video content for your realtor profile to attach to the website. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular options available.

DIY Video

For realtors working with a limited budget, making inexpensive videos for your single-property website can give potential buyers a sense of the property that doesn’t necessarily need a full-fledged production.

For instance, creating a video introducing yourself as an experienced local realtor can be created in minutes and can be made informally. Similarly, videos that include neighborhood features accompanying each listing may need to be produced often, with very little overlap between similar properties.

Even including testimonials by local homeowners that you’ve helped buy or sell their property is valid. DIY video fits these purposes and more.

The DIY approach also includes video-editing software. Most computers nowadays have free pre-installed programs that are surprisingly versatile, including Windows Movie Maker and iMovie.

However, don’t forget to factor in the time-investment for creating DIY videos. Editing and learning how to use the software can be time-consuming, so you may want to delegate the task or consider other methods.

As for the type of camera that works best with DIY methods, most smartphones can produce remarkable-quality videos in an instant.

The advantage of using a smartphone is that it not only showcases the properties, but it also builds your brand with a familiar, informal approach.

If you’re worried that the low-budget aesthetic might make you less professional, don’t be.

The key is to convey authenticity; full-fledged productions might seem TOO flashy and worry cost-conscious buyers about how much negotiating room they’ll have when it comes to the closing. And if it’ll be billed along with the commission!

(Remember that you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to this approach, but blend it in with some of your more “evergreen” content featured on each single-property website to cover all of your buyer’s questions.)

Professionally-Produced Video

Smart realtors typically realize the limitations of their skills and wisely outsource their walk-through videos to professional production companies.

Not only do you save time versus the aforementioned DIY approach, but you also have access to a wider variety of types of video and editing styles.

With a professional production crew on hand, you can create home tours that blend in top-notch editing, appropriate lighting, and state-of-the-art drone videos.

In addition, with video technology rapidly evolving, the options of creating interactive videos has exploded. Some companies offer 3D visualization.

The catch is that these videos are pricey, with some running as high as several thousand dollars. It’s up to you to determine if the cost is worth selling a property quicker or featuring them on every single-property website.

For high-ticket properties, a professionally-produced video is mandatory.

(QUICK TIPIf you’re looking for a professional-quality video but don’t have deep pockets, there is a workaround: consider hiring film students or cinematographers looking to build their reels/portfolios. It’s a win-win decision, and you may end up getting a high-performing video at a fraction of the cost.)

Maps

Consider creating a map on the single-property website that indicates the home’s location in relation to the local neighborhood. It’s important to show how close schools are, county lines, hospitals, fire departments, parks, and so forth. This is also appropriate for when buyers are trying to estimate how much their other costs of living, like homeowner’s insurance, will really be.

Simple maps can be made via Google Maps or any other online software.

The advantage to these sites is that users can also create a satellite and terrain map, answering some of their question of just how close the neighbors really are!

Copywriting

Don’t forget that it’s not only the pictures and videos that make or break a sale on a single-property listing.

Having up-to-date information on each listing is crucially important, as well as an appropriate description of the property.

Try aim for the right tone: if it’s a luxurious property, by all means include how the backyard makes for a great place to sip pina coladas while the sun sets.

Vice versa, not using a drier tone for an unassuming property might make the realtor come off as deceptive.

Also, beware accidentally including any typos or grammatical errors; while this may just be a small oversight, buyers might assume that the realtor may overlook other details, as well.

Pictures

Having a sleek and modern-designed website helps to display pictures on your website. Include a large number of photos of the property; in fact, there may be no such thing as too many pictures. Be sure to include every angle and various lighting situations (i.e. noon vs. dusk) that highlight the property’s best features.

Don’t forget to add captions, as well, to give the viewer a sense of just where the picture was taken and what the particular features are indicated in the photo.

As a general rule, use the highest-quality photos that you can.

There should be no excuse for poor image quality, as pictures are the most important element to your single-property listing. If you cannot afford a high-performance camera, consider hiring a professional photographer to ensure that the photos are captured in the best light, as well as edited appropriately for the web.

Social Media and Beyond

Want to multiply your results and get far-reaching traffic with a single-property website?

The answer is social media. By crafting a well-organized marketing plan that includes popular social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and so forth, you maximize how your single-property website (and related links) is disseminated.

Most of these websites offer a built-in advertising platform that resembles traditional pay-per-click advertising, but the secret is the ability to share information through social networks. Word-of-mouth is especially effective, as all of your friends, family, and other social media contacts pass the links around to their contacts.

This process repeats itself, with your website’s reach growing exponentially in a viral fashion.

The advantage to this process is that the realtor becomes a part of this growth, as s/he is responsible for facilitating the sale of the property through this effective marketing strategy.

When the property eventually sells, new buyers send their network of contacts the news and details of the transaction, with the realtor’s information right along with it. This introduces you to new leads and prospects based on the verifiable social proof of your success at no additional cost and effort—it happens organically.

Virtual Tours

Buyers that are looking for a way to view property that they’re interested in can be both taxing on their gas tank and a drain on their free time.

Instead of driving from listing to listing, or narrowing down the field of potential properties to a select few, technology comes again to make the process more efficient with virtual tours.

Instead of being physically present in the home in order to view some of the finer details and dimension from photos, a virtual tour creates an immersive experience from the convenience of your computer. Allowing for a complete 360° view that the user can pan and zoom to their preference, virtual tours go one step further than pictures and video can do alone.

Panoramic virtual tours aren’t necessarily new technology, but their user-friendliness has certainly made it easier for realtors to create virtual tours for each listing.

Direct Mailing

While direct mailing may not yield a vast number of sales in a short period of time, it can result in a steady flow of clients listing with you because they first saw your name in a postcard or brochure that had arrived in their mailboxes.

As a matter of fact, at least one realtor had executed an extensive postcard campaign and continued to get clients from it for five years after sending the last postcard.

But how to do this?

And does the benefit really outweigh the costs? Fair questions to be sure but rest easy, if you are willing to invest a little extra time and money into the process, you will likely be reaping the benefits of your labor for years to come.

Postcards – The typical realtor postcard will tend to feature a generic but nice looking house, the agency logo or mascot and a picture of the agent doing the mailing along with some contact information.  These are certainly well and good.

Such mailings get your name and number out there and a number of recipients may well put it in their junk drawer for later reference. But that generic approach does not really get much attention to you in particular or provide a compelling reason to act sooner rather than later.

Get creative with different designs and catch phrases to encourage those potential clients who may be riding the fence on whether or not to enter the housing market to get off the fence and jump in.

Here are a few examples to try:

Get the deal of your dreams in today’s buyer’s market! – Couple this with a picture of someone sleeping.  Include a thought bubble filled with a picturesque home with a big yard for better effect.

This can be directed at apartment complexes filled with first-time buyers or starter neighborhoods with young and growing families.

Tired of throwing money away? Stop renting and buy now! – Put this over a picture of a landfill, possibly with a bulldozer pushing piles of money around.

With a little help from Photoshop, this should be easy to accomplish. Clearly, this is directed to apartments and neighborhoods with a lot of rental properties.

Time to move up! – Include an image of a ladder.  A close up or a wide angle shot with a family climbing up it.

Maybe even with that picturesque house at the top. Again, this is marketed mostly to the starter neighborhood.

Sell high and have something left over. – The picture possibilities are endless here.

You can use a stack of bills changing hands, images of various kinds of vacations, from the beach to the mountains, a new car (parked in front of a home to minimize confusion) or even a new larger home.

This can be marketed to many people from starter neighborhoods to retirees.

It’s a seller’s market.  Move now and pad that nest egg! – The image here could be a bird carefully arranging hundred dollar bills around its nest. Send this one to older couples likely looking to downsize now that the kids have moved on.

These are just a few ideas. You can mix up the designs, change the fonts (just don’t do anything too elaborate), alter color schemes and more to suit your taste and keep things fresh.

In fact, if you are planning on doing postcards over an extended period of time, make sure that you do change this up a bit just to avoid repetition.

The big thing to remember is to always have your name and essential contact information (website, email, phone number) on the card.

You can also include postcards that feature recent listings to encourage people to buy or even postcards with recently sold homes.  Target these to the neighborhoods the homes were sold in to show that you know the area and can succeed in it.

This should help people to get off the fence a little sooner.

Brochures – Brochures offer a little bit more versatility than a postcard as they have more room for text and pictures. Again, try to avoid generic and get creative with what you include in the final product.

Things to try:

Rather than just putting agency’s office building and logo on the front cover, go with a family staring down a street of homes filled with “For Sale” signs.

Put a bold font “Confused?” or “Overwhelmed?” over the image and you have people’s attention.

Another cover option would be using a set of scales with money on one side and a house on the other. “Weighing your options?” could be your headline. The point is to use your imagination to get people interested.

On the inside of the brochure you can include some stats on the housing market in the area and even some recently sold listings to show what kind of homes are moving in the current market.

If you have homes that sold for more than asking, those should definitely be highlighted.

Throw in an image of a “SOLD” sign at the end and you have a brochure.

Feel free to get a bit outside the box here as well. Use the brochures to tell one or two stories of satisfied clients and how you helped them move from a two-bedroom ranch to a four-bedroom colonial. Just remember to use more “you” and “they” than “I.”

You are trying to get their attention but you want them thinking about how you can help them.

Newsletters – One other option is to use a newsletter format.

These can include recent listings, reports on the local market, profiles of local business that specialize in home improvement or tips on homecare and what to do to sell a home.

Think of this as the hard copy version of the email newsletter we described in the previous chapter.

Whichever option you choose, or if you use all three, make sure that you are keeping the focus on the customer and include your contact information so that when your marketing material has inspired someone to sell or buy, you are easy to reach and ready and willing to help.

Marketing Your Home With An Open House

Using an open house in order to further market your home on the market as a marketing tool will ensure that you engage potential buyers, even if no one makes an offer during the viewing.

Oddly enough, there are certain practitioners who believe that open houses are an outdated custom used to placate home sellers.

Promoting Your Open House

The first step to holding an open house, is to properly and effectively promote it well before the date that it’s to be held. Buyers are constantly lurking on the internet for listings, so starting there is a great way to get as many potential buyers to show up as possible.

Using local listings websites for your area, as well as real estate websites, such as REALTOR.com, which you can usually use through your agent, are the best places to start at.

Because the internet is such a powerful marketing tool for just about anything, promoting your open house through it will ensure that you reach buyers through every platform possible, and should be done well.

Take clear, full pictures of both the exterior and interior of your home, write a thorough, honest description, and have your real estate agent check over the entire listing before you post it anywhere. If they recommend any changes or additions, ensure that you do them.

Using Signs Across Town

For the day of the open house, go out for a few hours before its scheduled to start, and plant signs all over town. Depending on your neighborhood, you’re going to need to create your signs to a design that reflects where you live, the home itself, and the type of buyer you are trying to draw in.

For example, if you’re home is located in a high-end neighborhood, and you’re looking to attract high-end buyers, not bargain hunters, then creating and placing signs that are both specialty and company-branded through your real estate agent will be the perfect attraction.

However, should you be looking for bargain hunters, or buyers of middle class, handwritten open house signs will do the trick nicely.

When it comes to gate communities and homeowner associations, you will need to speak with your real estate agent about putting up signs on the day of your open house, as there may be some restrictions for signs that you may not know about.

Even though signs aren’t a newly modern way of promoting your open house, they are still effective if you create them the right way and have proper placement.

Using Facebook to Market Your Open House

Social media is great for listing your home, especially when it comes to Facebook. For example, you could set up a specific Facebook page that is completely catered to your open house.

Add pictures of the exterior, such as the front of the house, the back, your backyard, and your garden, should you have one. For the interior, take full pictures of each room, staircases, front hall, etc. Create a photo album using only the best photos.

Hiring a photographer for this portion of your listing is ideal as well, considering they have everything necessary for great pictures that are clear and beautiful.

For the description portion, make sure that it’s easy to read by separating paragraphs and using clear, concise words with no errors, that you’re perfectly spelling every detail of the house out, and that you go over the description with your real estate agent before you post it, just so he or she can make any necessary changes before it goes live on your Facebook page.

You will also need to add directions, what your home is located near, any interesting buildings or points, etc.

If you have a video camera, or know someone that does if you do not, creating a short teaser video that takes the viewer on a quick tour of your home is also ideal, as well.

This creates somewhat of a virtual open house, but should only be long enough to catch a potential buyer’s eye. If done right, this will attract more attention and curiosity towards your home, so potential buyers will want to come to your open house to see everything else.

For the cover and profile photos, use ones from the shots of the front of your home, but make sure that they are ones you have not posted yet.

Make sure the shots are crystal clear, has the proper lighting, and are both catching and pleasing to the eye, as they will be the first two photos that potential buyers will see when they click on the Facebook page.

Adding Your Open House Listing on REALTOR.com

As previously mentioned earlier, REALTOR.com is a great way to market the selling of your home, as potential buyers are constantly cruising this website for their dream home.

Only your real estate agent has access to the website in regards to creating and posting a home that has gone up for sale, but you, as the seller, can add an open house yourself.

Listed below are bullet points on how to edit your listing and add your open house on REALTOR.com;

In the main menu, click Manage Listings, and click on the address for your listing, then click Edit Listing once the menu appears.

From there, click on Open Houses underneath Showcase Listing Enhancements and enter the information for your open house in the provided fields.

The Additional Comments box allows you to add any other information that you may deem necessary to include, such as directions to your property from the closest major intersection, for example.

Once you are satisfied with everything, click Save, and you will then see your open house date within the Open House section, where you can edit or delete it if you wish to do so.

Always remember to let your real estate agent know whenever you make any changes to any of your listings, which goes the same for your open house listing on your REALTOR.com listing.

 

Adding Your Open House Listing to Zillow.com

Like REALTOR.com, Zillow.com is another real estate tool that is perfect for adding an open house listing. Once your real estate agent has created a listing for your home on the market, and an open house date has been decided and confirmed, you can then create the listing for it, by following the bullet point instructions listed below;

First, look for Edit Listing Info, which will be located at the top of the home page.

Select the button that reads Update for Sale by Agent/Owner, which you will find at the bottom of the page.

Carefully go over and fill in all of the fields given, click Save, and you’re done!

Once again, ensure that your real estate agent goes over the listing for your open house once you have completed it.

Why You Should Never Ignore Craigslist

Even though the majority of real estate agents do not recommend using Craigslist for real estate listings in general, don’t ignore it’s use. Craigslist is one of the oldest websites used for every category of listings under the sun, but make no mistake, it’s still one of the best marketing tools that you can use to your advantage when it comes to marketing your home with an open house.

Craigslist allows its users to create their own headlines for listings, which then allows their real estate agents to pitch homes and properties to all prospective buyers, instead of just listing them.

The headlines that go into listings are extremely important on Craigslist, so ensure that you create one that will immediately catch a potential buyer’s eye, such as, “Open house for a 5 bedroom with ZERO DOWN!”.

Craigslist has also changed the usage of embed clickable links within any listing posted, as well.

Now, when a visitor of the listing wants to click a link provided in a listing, they must copy and paste it into their browser, which engages potential buyers a lot more.

When you go to post a listing on Craigslist, all you have to do is create a catchy headline, input all of the location details, add a couple of pictures, and write a full, clear description within the text box about your open house, and you’re done!

As like before, have your real estate agent check everything over as soon as you’re finished, so you can add or change something right away after it’s been live, so there’s no confusion from potential buyers.

Using Direct Mail for a Successful Open House

While almost everything done in real estate is done online these days in terms of marketing, direct mail is also a great offline way to get the word out about listings and their open houses. Potential buyers surfing the web won’t always see your open house listing, but if you have direct mail sent directly to them, you’ll no doubt have a great turnout for your showing!

While using every online marketing tool in existence has been proven to be effective, incorporating direct mail into your marketing scheme, which has also proven to be highly effective, will give you an edge against the competition.

Creating the perfect direct mail “invitation” to both your listing and your open house is incredibly easy to do, and can be done by taking the following tips within the bullet points listed below into account;

Have a phone number listed, considering some potential buyers prefer personal contact, instead of just speaking to an owner or their real estate agent through emails.

Have a QR code, a Quick Response Code that is scanned via smartphones for quick information, readily available within your direct mail, for potential buyers who like to be able to do everything, or as much as possible, using their smartphones.

Your personal URL, whether it be for your website where your listings are located or anywhere else they can be found, so they do not have to search too hard to find anything.

Your or your real estate agent’s email address, for the potential buyers who like to speak to owners or real estate agents through email, or keep things in writing in general.

To do this, creating real estate postcards are definitely your best bet, and are the best way to grab the attention of potential buyers.

Instead of using mass emails, real estate postcards are physical, get the message and invitation across, and can be crafted with a beautiful design to really reel them in.

Because pieces of mail are typically delivered in an online format to email inboxes, creating real estate postcards for your open house listing ensures that each potential buyer will see them and take your open house into serious account.

The following bullet points listed below describe ways to ensure that your real estate postcards that are to be used for your open house listen will be both clear and effective;

Go with a larger postcard, from the dimensions of 5.5″ x 8.5″ in size, just so it will easily catch potential buyer’s eyes straight away, purely from the size.

Use a bright color that is also easy on the eyes, such as a hot pink or even a baby blue.

Use text that is bolded, large, and easy to read.

Go over the text with your real estate agent in order to have messages that are designed and written to appeal to the specific crowd of potential buyers that you are looking for.

Include some graphics that will really grab the potential buyer’s attention.

Additionally, you are going to want to have your postcards sent out a couple of days before you open house is set to be held.

Check with your local mail carrier to see how long bulk mail will take to be delivered to each address once it has been delivered to the post office, so you and your real estate agent will know exactly how long you will have until you need to send out your open house postcards.

When it comes to keeping the cost down, considering using direct mail can get pretty expensive if you don’t know how to do it properly, there are many things that you can do to ensure that your costs will be reduced, but your open house postcards won’t suffer for it.

Go with a company who specializes in print marketing for real estate, and create your own, unique design with your real estate agent before you upload them to the company to have them crafted and printed for you.

If you have plenty of time before your open house is set, use a bulk mail campaign instead of first class mailing to help keep the overall cost of postage down.

Buy in large, bulk quantities, somewhere between 2500 to approximately 3000, as the majority of print marketing companies will give you a significant discount.

If you have months before your planned open house, then send out around 100 post cards each week to all of the planned addresses.

Do not be afraid to repeat the mailing process to each address, either.

Make Your Open House an Event, Not Just a Selling Point

Your real estate agent should do additional research before you have both decided on the perfect day to hold the open house, just so you both know there will be nothing going on within your local community that could create a conflict with overall attendance.

For example, if there is a festival scheduled for a certain weekend, then you should definitely hold off until it’s over, or wait until there is a weekend with very little going on locally.

Ask your real estate agent if they could send an announcement within an email to every real estate broker and agent within the area, which will include their own private mailing list, to ensure that your open house event is publicized within all open house websites that will maximize overall attendance.

If possible, their influence can be moved to all existing social media platforms, as well.

If there is room in the budget, you could also purchase a targeted advertisement on Facebook a couple of days prior to your open house event for maximum exposure.

After all, social media is extremely important when it comes to real estate in general, and the majority of potential buyers will always look at a listing, even if it’s for an open house, online before they physically go and see the home or the property.

As previously stated, hiring a professional photographer is also a great idea and will make your open house more of an event. They can help you with creating a short, videotaped virtual tour to tease potential buyers into wanting to see more, and will take and edit the perfect photographs of both the interior and the exterior of your home.

Should your real estate agent deem it necessary, they will also help you to stage your home by removing your furniture and bringing in certain pieces, or will help you to move around yours in positions that they feel will open up the space more and look better.

They will help you to set up proper lighting, present the highlights and focal points of each room, make suggestions on the arrangement of existing furniture, should they choose to not bring in any stage furniture, and will overall help you in showing your property at its best.

When it comes to landscaping a few days before your open house event, mow the lawn the day before, freshen up your garden, flowerbeds, and other cosmetic aspects, and ensure that you have a new doormat put in place.

Once the day of the open house event finally arrives, your real estate agent will post directional signs around your neighborhood and at the entry point where your street, circle, block, etc. begins, to ensure that potential buyers will easily find your home.

They will also place a sign out on your front lawn that will be adorned in a way, using brightly colored balloons, for example.

Should the weather call for rain, or if it rained prior to your open house event, ensure that you have a clear sign leading to the front door, or beside the front door, letting all potential buyers know that they must remove their shoes.

Place “footies”, a wrap made out of non-slip material that covers socked feet, underneath the sign for them to put on, instead.

To get a good smell going within the home an hour or two before the event is to begin, boil some lemon slices on the stove, or bake a spoonful of vanilla extract in the oven for about half an hour, while all of the vents in your home remain open. This will help the smell to go throughout the house entirely, making the whole property smell wonderful.

At the same time, you are making sure the house smells wonderful, or just smells clean, ensure that it is clean.

Potential buyers are going to either laugh or be disgusted if they walk into an open house that is a completely messy disaster, and they will most definitely walk out. During the cleaning process, remember to remove all personal items either out of the house, or just completely out of view.

This includes children’s drawings and paintings, family portraits, wedding photographs, etc. You should also remove pets and any litter boxes or pee pads, too.

Open House Safety and Precautions

As a major precaution, do not be alone in the home during your open house. Have your real estate agent, a family member, or a friend with you, even if it’s more than one person.

Always trust your gut instinct, as well. If you hear the little voice in your head saying that something is not right, then get out as fast as you can and alert the authorities of your concern.

To avoid any robbery situations, walk through your home prior to the start of your open house, and put away all prescription drugs, mail, jewelry, any extra sets of keys, financial statements, etc.

Overall, any valuables must be out of sight and out of mind completely, which includes your purse, as well.

As each potential buyer arrives, introduce yourself straight away and direct them to a previously created sign-in sheet, which will give you time to assess their appearance and figure out whether or not they may be a threat to you and not here as a legitimate potential buyer.

Ask your neighbors to come over, or invite any buyers that they know of. Not only is this a safety precaution, but it’s an added marketing trick in disguise. Tell your neighbors that there will be food and drinks, and you’ll definitely have some company.

Because there have been incidents where sellers and real estate agents have been harmed during open house events in the past, it is extremely important that all safety precautions are taken seriously and conducted throughout the entire event. Safety should be your number one priority, and not the sale of your home.

Marketing Your Home With an Open House

By taking all of the above steps listed, you will have no trouble holding a successful open house that will no doubt attract a crowd of potential buyers. Open houses are hard work that takes a lot of preparation, but in the end, they are definitely worth it.

Mobile SMS Hotline

You check your phone 150 times per day.

At least, that’s according to Salesforce: “The average consumer checks their phone 150 times per day and checks a text within 5 seconds.”  – Salesforce.com

Why should you be really interested in this statistic?

Because if you want to reach more buyers and sell more homes, it’s time for you to really step up your game in the texting world.

Today’s consumer demands instant gratification, not only for fast food, but for anything and everything that could be had as quickly as possible. Hence, over the last quarter of a century, we have seen a booming rise in the 24-hour supermarkets, pharmacies, and fast food locations. Next-day or 2-day shipping is expected, and slow Wi-Fi in a café, hotel, or on the plane can cause tempers to flare.

Companies that don’t have websites are subconsciously deemed to be sub-par, and a customer service line that never answers kills business.

Real estate is not exempt.

When potential buyers browse online or drive through a city looking for a new home, who do you think will earn their business? The agents who can provide them with the most valuable information in the shortest amount of time. How can you become one of these agents?

Text-messaging services are available to enable you to connect more quickly and efficiently with potential buyers.

Here’s how they work.

Ditch the old, bring in the new

While the traditional “for sale” sign lists your name and number, there is a new and better way to show off your listings. By telling the potential buyer to text a specific code to the number provided or to scan the QR code right from the sign, you can give them all of the details about the property that they would want to know. While there on the curb, they can see the house on the outside while viewing more information and pictures of the inside.

Choices, choices

People love options. When buyers have these options laid out in front of them with the opportunity to view the information on their phone by scanning the QR code, to wait for the reply from the text, or to call a toll-free number listed on the sign to hear recorded details, it fills them with confidence in you as a professional and in the quality of product you have to show them.

If they didn’t have choices, they would not have any experience to help keep that house at the front of their minds.

Speedy delivery

If you use a text-messaging service like Smart Lead Capture, you can not only provide the QR code, texting option, or toll-free number to call, but you can even meet the potential buyers in person in a matter of minutes.

How?

When more information is requested via text, you as the realtor will get a text alert with the number of the potential buyer. You can then call and offer to meet the client at that time or schedule a future appointment.

The sooner you show the home, the sooner you can make the sale.

More people use mobile sites to access information than ever before. Doesn’t it just make sense to meet them where they’re at – on their phones? According to Pew Research Center, nine out of ten people in the United States own a cell phone. That’s almost everyone, and definitely almost everyone with real buying power. Do you see the beauty in this?

Traditionally, potential buyers have had to call the number listed on the sign and speak to a live person. Some people might not have time for this or might just want to avoid speaking to a live agent altogether until they have received enough information to further their interest. You know how it is.

You walk into a store to buy a new suit or a pair of shoes, and suddenly you’re surrounded by employees asking how they can help. It’s a bit overwhelming if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to see what they have to offer.

However, salespeople who give you a couple of minutes to browse before approaching you are more likely to connect with you because you’ve had the chance to warm up.

Why would it be different with a home you are selling? Once potential buyers have expressed interest in receiving more information, they can receive it digitally and have time to warm up by reading it over.

It’s a better overall way of delivering information right to their fingertips. Even if you were to use the option to call them within minutes, they’re still on the receiving end and the pressure of proactively calling a live agent has been removed.

You might say that it’s unnecessary to use a text-messaging service because your CRM has a feature to handle this side of things. That’s great.

Are you using it?

If your CRM provides the option for you to send automated information in response to text messages in addition to keeping all other records, this is a great bonus that you cannot miss out on. Get started now.

Imagine a world where technology didn’t know what a text message was. Imagine a time in which realtors had to spend countless hours and dollars placing ads in every paper and local listings pamphlet in the area, then wait for the phone to ring. Some of you don’t have to imagine, because you were there.

Look at how far we’ve come as an industry. With the ability to list your clients’ homes online via your website or other social media accounts, you can reach a much broader market than a quarter of a century ago. You can attract buyers from out of the area. You can provide details and pictures. You can let buyers schedule appointments through your online calendar. You can even provide them with instant access to information right from their mobile phones which they carry around in their pockets.

Yes, we’ve come very far, but it’s up to you to take advantage of this great opportunity of text-messaging services as the next best way to stay ahead of the crowd.At least, that’s according to Salesforce: “The average consumer checks their phone 150 times per day and checks a text within 5 seconds.”  – Salesforce.com

Why should you be really interested in this statistic?

Because if you want to reach more buyers and sell more homes, it’s time for you to really step up your game in the texting world.

Today’s consumer demands instant gratification, not only for fast food, but for anything and everything that could be had as quickly as possible. Hence, over the last quarter of a century, we have seen a booming rise in the 24-hour supermarkets, pharmacies, and fast food locations. Next-day or 2-day shipping is expected, and slow Wi-Fi in a café, hotel, or on the plane can cause tempers to flare.

Companies that don’t have websites are subconsciously deemed to be sub-par, and a customer service line that never answers kills business.

Real estate is not exempt.

When potential buyers browse online or drive through a city looking for a new home, who do you think will earn their business? The agents who can provide them with the most valuable information in the shortest amount of time. How can you become one of these agents?

Text-messaging services are available to enable you to connect more quickly and efficiently with potential buyers.

Here’s how they work.

Ditch the old, bring in the new

While the traditional “for sale” sign lists your name and number, there is a new and better way to show off your listings. By telling the potential buyer to text a specific code to the number provided or to scan the QR code right from the sign, you can give them all of the details about the property that they would want to know. While there on the curb, they can see the house on the outside while viewing more information and pictures of the inside.

Choices, choices

People love options. When buyers have these options laid out in front of them with the opportunity to view the information on their phone by scanning the QR code, to wait for the reply from the text, or to call a toll-free number listed on the sign to hear recorded details, it fills them with confidence in you as a professional and in the quality of product you have to show them.

If they didn’t have choices, they would not have any experience to help keep that house at the front of their minds.

Speedy delivery

If you use a text-messaging service like Smart Lead Capture, you can not only provide the QR code, texting option, or toll-free number to call, but you can even meet the potential buyers in person in a matter of minutes.

How?

When more information is requested via text, you as the realtor will get a text alert with the number of the potential buyer. You can then call and offer to meet the client at that time or schedule a future appointment.

The sooner you show the home, the sooner you can make the sale.

More people use mobile sites to access information than ever before. Doesn’t it just make sense to meet them where they’re at – on their phones? According to Pew Research Center, nine out of ten people in the United States own a cell phone. That’s almost everyone, and definitely almost everyone with real buying power. Do you see the beauty in this?

Traditionally, potential buyers have had to call the number listed on the sign and speak to a live person. Some people might not have time for this or might just want to avoid speaking to a live agent altogether until they have received enough information to further their interest. You know how it is.

You walk into a store to buy a new suit or a pair of shoes, and suddenly you’re surrounded by employees asking how they can help. It’s a bit overwhelming if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to see what they have to offer.

However, salespeople who give you a couple of minutes to browse before approaching you are more likely to connect with you because you’ve had the chance to warm up.

Why would it be different with a home you are selling? Once potential buyers have expressed interest in receiving more information, they can receive it digitally and have time to warm up by reading it over.

It’s a better overall way of delivering information right to their fingertips. Even if you were to use the option to call them within minutes, they’re still on the receiving end and the pressure of proactively calling a live agent has been removed.

You might say that it’s unnecessary to use a text-messaging service because your CRM has a feature to handle this side of things. That’s great.

Are you using it?

If your CRM provides the option for you to send automated information in response to text messages in addition to keeping all other records, this is a great bonus that you cannot miss out on. Get started now.

Imagine a world where technology didn’t know what a text message was. Imagine a time in which realtors had to spend countless hours and dollars placing ads in every paper and local listings pamphlet in the area, then wait for the phone to ring. Some of you don’t have to imagine, because you were there.

Look at how far we’ve come as an industry. With the ability to list your clients’ homes online via your website or other social media accounts, you can reach a much broader market than a quarter of a century ago. You can attract buyers from out of the area. You can provide details and pictures. You can let buyers schedule appointments through your online calendar. You can even provide them with instant access to information right from their mobile phones which they carry around in their pockets.

Yes, we’ve come very far, but it’s up to you to take advantage of this great opportunity of text-messaging services as the next best way to stay ahead of the crowd.

Marketing Your Home With An Open House

Marketing Your Home with an Open House
POSTED 27 JUNE 2016

Using an open house in order to further market your home on the market as a marketing tool will ensure that you engage potential buyers, even if no one makes an offer during the viewing.

Oddly enough, there are certain practitioners who believe that open houses are an outdated custom used to placate home sellers.

Promoting Your Open House

The first step to holding an open house, is to properly and effectively promote it well before the date that it’s to be held. Buyers are constantly lurking on the internet for listings, so starting there is a great way to get as many potential buyers to show up as possible.

Using local listings websites for your area, as well as real estate websites, such as REALTOR.com, which you can usually use through your agent, are the best places to start at.

Because the internet is such a powerful marketing tool for just about anything, promoting your open house through it will ensure that you reach buyers through every platform possible, and should be done well.

Take clear, full pictures of both the exterior and interior of your home, write a thorough, honest description, and have your real estate agent check over the entire listing before you post it anywhere. If they recommend any changes or additions, ensure that you do them.

Using Signs Across Town

For the day of the open house, go out for a few hours before its scheduled to start, and plant signs all over town. Depending on your neighborhood, you’re going to need to create your signs to a design that reflects where you live, the home itself, and the type of buyer you are trying to draw in.

For example, if you’re home is located in a high-end neighborhood, and you’re looking to attract high-end buyers, not bargain hunters, then creating and placing signs that are both specialty and company-branded through your real estate agent will be the perfect attraction.

However, should you be looking for bargain hunters, or buyers of middle class, handwritten open house signs will do the trick nicely.

When it comes to gate communities and homeowner associations, you will need to speak with your real estate agent about putting up signs on the day of your open house, as there may be some restrictions for signs that you may not know about.

Even though signs aren’t a newly modern way of promoting your open house, they are still effective if you create them the right way and have proper placement.

Using Facebook to Market Your Open House

Social media is great for listing your home, especially when it comes to Facebook. For example, you could set up a specific Facebook page that is completely catered to your open house.

Add pictures of the exterior, such as the front of the house, the back, your backyard, and your garden, should you have one. For the interior, take full pictures of each room, staircases, front hall, etc. Create a photo album using only the best photos.

Hiring a photographer for this portion of your listing is ideal as well, considering they have everything necessary for great pictures that are clear and beautiful.

For the description portion, make sure that it’s easy to read by separating paragraphs and using clear, concise words with no errors, that you’re perfectly spelling every detail of the house out, and that you go over the description with your real estate agent before you post it, just so he or she can make any necessary changes before it goes live on your Facebook page.

You will also need to add directions, what your home is located near, any interesting buildings or points, etc.

If you have a video camera, or know someone that does if you do not, creating a short teaser video that takes the viewer on a quick tour of your home is also ideal, as well.

This creates somewhat of a virtual open house, but should only be long enough to catch a potential buyer’s eye. If done right, this will attract more attention and curiosity towards your home, so potential buyers will want to come to your open house to see everything else.

For the cover and profile photos, use ones from the shots of the front of your home, but make sure that they are ones you have not posted yet.

Make sure the shots are crystal clear, has the proper lighting, and are both catching and pleasing to the eye, as they will be the first two photos that potential buyers will see when they click on the Facebook page.

Adding Your Open House Listing on REALTOR.com

As previously mentioned earlier, REALTOR.com is a great way to market the selling of your home, as potential buyers are constantly cruising this website for their dream home.

Only your real estate agent has access to the website in regards to creating and posting a home that has gone up for sale, but you, as the seller, can add an open house yourself.

Listed below are bullet points on how to edit your listing and add your open house on REALTOR.com;

In the main menu, click Manage Listings, and click on the address for your listing, then click Edit Listing once the menu appears.

From there, click on Open Houses underneath Showcase Listing Enhancements and enter the information for your open house in the provided fields.

The Additional Comments box allows you to add any other information that you may deem necessary to include, such as directions to your property from the closest major intersection, for example.

Once you are satisfied with everything, click Save, and you will then see your open house date within the Open House section, where you can edit or delete it if you wish to do so.

Always remember to let your real estate agent know whenever you make any changes to any of your listings, which goes the same for your open house listing on your REALTOR.com listing.

Adding Your Open House Listing to Zillow.com

Like REALTOR.com, Zillow.com is another real estate tool that is perfect for adding an open house listing. Once your real estate agent has created a listing for your home on the market, and an open house date has been decided and confirmed, you can then create the listing for it, by following the bullet point instructions listed below;

First, look for Edit Listing Info, which will be located at the top of the home page.

Select the button that reads Update for Sale by Agent/Owner, which you will find at the bottom of the page.

Carefully go over and fill in all of the fields given, click Save, and you’re done!

Once again, ensure that your real estate agent goes over the listing for your open house once you have completed it.

Why You Should Never Ignore Craigslist

Even though the majority of real estate agents do not recommend using Craigslist for real estate listings in general, don’t ignore it’s use. Craigslist is one of the oldest websites used for every category of listings under the sun, but make no mistake, it’s still one of the best marketing tools that you can use to your advantage when it comes to marketing your home with an open house.

Craigslist allows its users to create their own headlines for listings, which then allows their real estate agents to pitch homes and properties to all prospective buyers, instead of just listing them.

The headlines that go into listings are extremely important on Craigslist, so ensure that you create one that will immediately catch a potential buyer’s eye, such as, “Open house for a 5 bedroom with ZERO DOWN!”.

Craigslist has also changed the usage of embed clickable links within any listing posted, as well.

Now, when a visitor of the listing wants to click a link provided in a listing, they must copy and paste it into their browser, which engages potential buyers a lot more.

When you go to post a listing on Craigslist, all you have to do is create a catchy headline, input all of the location details, add a couple of pictures, and write a full, clear description within the text box about your open house, and you’re done!

As like before, have your real estate agent check everything over as soon as you’re finished, so you can add or change something right away after it’s been live, so there’s no confusion from potential buyers.

Using Direct Mail for a Successful Open House

While almost everything done in real estate is done online these days in terms of marketing, direct mail is also a great offline way to get the word out about listings and their open houses. Potential buyers surfing the web won’t always see your open house listing, but if you have direct mail sent directly to them, you’ll no doubt have a great turnout for your showing!

While using every online marketing tool in existence has been proven to be effective, incorporating direct mail into your marketing scheme, which has also proven to be highly effective, will give you an edge against the competition.

Creating the perfect direct mail “invitation” to both your listing and your open house is incredibly easy to do, and can be done by taking the following tips within the bullet points listed below into account;

Have a phone number listed, considering some potential buyers prefer personal contact, instead of just speaking to an owner or their real estate agent through emails.

Have a QR code, a Quick Response Code that is scanned via smartphones for quick information, readily available within your direct mail, for potential buyers who like to be able to do everything, or as much as possible, using their smartphones.

Your personal URL, whether it be for your website where your listings are located or anywhere else they can be found, so they do not have to search too hard to find anything.

Your or your real estate agent’s email address, for the potential buyers who like to speak to owners or real estate agents through email, or keep things in writing in general.

To do this, creating real estate postcards are definitely your best bet, and are the best way to grab the attention of potential buyers.

Instead of using mass emails, real estate postcards are physical, get the message and invitation across, and can be crafted with a beautiful design to really reel them in.

Because pieces of mail are typically delivered in an online format to email inboxes, creating real estate postcards for your open house listing ensures that each potential buyer will see them and take your open house into serious account.

The following bullet points listed below describe ways to ensure that your real estate postcards that are to be used for your open house listen will be both clear and effective;

Go with a larger postcard, from the dimensions of 5.5″ x 8.5″ in size, just so it will easily catch potential buyer’s eyes straight away, purely from the size.

Use a bright color that is also easy on the eyes, such as a hot pink or even a baby blue.

Use text that is bolded, large, and easy to read.

Go over the text with your real estate agent in order to have messages that are designed and written to appeal to the specific crowd of potential buyers that you are looking for.

Include some graphics that will really grab the potential buyer’s attention.

Additionally, you are going to want to have your postcards sent out a couple of days before you open house is set to be held.

Check with your local mail carrier to see how long bulk mail will take to be delivered to each address once it has been delivered to the post office, so you and your real estate agent will know exactly how long you will have until you need to send out your open house postcards.

When it comes to keeping the cost down, considering using direct mail can get pretty expensive if you don’t know how to do it properly, there are many things that you can do to ensure that your costs will be reduced, but your open house postcards won’t suffer for it.

Go with a company who specializes in print marketing for real estate, and create your own, unique design with your real estate agent before you upload them to the company to have them crafted and printed for you.

If you have plenty of time before your open house is set, use a bulk mail campaign instead of first class mailing to help keep the overall cost of postage down.

Buy in large, bulk quantities, somewhere between 2500 to approximately 3000, as the majority of print marketing companies will give you a significant discount.

If you have months before your planned open house, then send out around 100 post cards each week to all of the planned addresses.

Do not be afraid to repeat the mailing process to each address, either.

Make Your Open House an Event, Not Just a Selling Point

Your real estate agent should do additional research before you have both decided on the perfect day to hold the open house, just so you both know there will be nothing going on within your local community that could create a conflict with overall attendance.

For example, if there is a festival scheduled for a certain weekend, then you should definitely hold off until it’s over, or wait until there is a weekend with very little going on locally.

Ask your real estate agent if they could send an announcement within an email to every real estate broker and agent within the area, which will include their own private mailing list, to ensure that your open house event is publicized within all open house websites that will maximize overall attendance.

If possible, their influence can be moved to all existing social media platforms, as well.

If there is room in the budget, you could also purchase a targeted advertisement on Facebook a couple of days prior to your open house event for maximum exposure.

After all, social media is extremely important when it comes to real estate in general, and the majority of potential buyers will always look at a listing, even if it’s for an open house, online before they physically go and see the home or the property.

As previously stated, hiring a professional photographer is also a great idea and will make your open house more of an event. They can help you with creating a short, videotaped virtual tour to tease potential buyers into wanting to see more, and will take and edit the perfect photographs of both the interior and the exterior of your home.

Should your real estate agent deem it necessary, they will also help you to stage your home by removing your furniture and bringing in certain pieces, or will help you to move around yours in positions that they feel will open up the space more and look better.

They will help you to set up proper lighting, present the highlights and focal points of each room, make suggestions on the arrangement of existing furniture, should they choose to not bring in any stage furniture, and will overall help you in showing your property at its best.

When it comes to landscaping a few days before your open house event, mow the lawn the day before, freshen up your garden, flowerbeds, and other cosmetic aspects, and ensure that you have a new doormat put in place.

Once the day of the open house event finally arrives, your real estate agent will post directional signs around your neighborhood and at the entry point where your street, circle, block, etc. begins, to ensure that potential buyers will easily find your home.

They will also place a sign out on your front lawn that will be adorned in a way, using brightly colored balloons, for example.

Should the weather call for rain, or if it rained prior to your open house event, ensure that you have a clear sign leading to the front door, or beside the front door, letting all potential buyers know that they must remove their shoes.

Place “footies”, a wrap made out of non-slip material that covers socked feet, underneath the sign for them to put on, instead.

To get a good smell going within the home an hour or two before the event is to begin, boil some lemon slices on the stove, or bake a spoonful of vanilla extract in the oven for about half an hour, while all of the vents in your home remain open. This will help the smell to go throughout the house entirely, making the whole property smell wonderful.

At the same time, you are making sure the house smells wonderful, or just smells clean, ensure that it is clean.

Potential buyers are going to either laugh or be disgusted if they walk into an open house that is a completely messy disaster, and they will most definitely walk out. During the cleaning process, remember to remove all personal items either out of the house, or just completely out of view.

This includes children’s drawings and paintings, family portraits, wedding photographs, etc. You should also remove pets and any litter boxes or pee pads, too.

Open House Safety and Precautions

As a major precaution, do not be alone in the home during your open house. Have your real estate agent, a family member, or a friend with you, even if it’s more than one person.

Always trust your gut instinct, as well. If you hear the little voice in your head saying that something is not right, then get out as fast as you can and alert the authorities of your concern.

To avoid any robbery situations, walk through your home prior to the start of your open house, and put away all prescription drugs, mail, jewelry, any extra sets of keys, financial statements, etc.

Overall, any valuables must be out of sight and out of mind completely, which includes your purse, as well.

As each potential buyer arrives, introduce yourself straight away and direct them to a previously created sign-in sheet, which will give you time to assess their appearance and figure out whether or not they may be a threat to you and not here as a legitimate potential buyer.

Ask your neighbors to come over, or invite any buyers that they know of. Not only is this a safety precaution, but it’s an added marketing trick in disguise. Tell your neighbors that there will be food and drinks, and you’ll definitely have some company.

Because there have been incidents where sellers and real estate agents have been harmed during open house events in the past, it is extremely important that all safety precautions are taken seriously and conducted throughout the entire event. Safety should be your number one priority, and not the sale of your home.

Marketing Your Home With an Open House

By taking all of the above steps listed, you will have no trouble holding a successful open house that will no doubt attract a crowd of potential buyers. Open houses are hard work that takes a lot of preparation, but in the end, they are definitely worth it.