With such a huge housing inventory, it's our moral obligation to bring out the buyers and improve the economy. Right?
With that in mind, why don't you hold an OPEN HOUSE TOUR of properties by combining the elements of an open house and showing property. It won't be easy - there are so many details:
Two weeks in advance:
- Pick 5 homes based on something in common such as 5 nearby condos or 5 waterfront properties, or 5 homes on acreage or... well, you get the idea. They don't have to be your listings and, in fact, should not be because you will conduct the tour as a buyers' agent.
- Schedule the home tour a few weeks in advance so you have enough time to promote it through advertising, mailings or whatever.
- Pick a time, such as 1 p.m. on Sunday, and a meeting place, preferably your office.
- Promote your tour to your farm and past clients (they may know someone who would be interested, even if they are not), and advertise in the Open House section of your local paper.
- Indicate that participation is limited - R.S.V.P. is necessary.
- When people R.S.V.P., obtain all their contact information, so you can remind them the day before the event, and verify that they do not have a buyer agency contract in effect with another agent.
Day before the event:
- Makeyour final selection of homes for the tour, and schedule appointments for showing the properties. You may wish to enlist the cooperation of the listing agent - i.e., some listing agents will need to replenish their supply of property info packages and others will want to be there to help manage the flow of prospective buyers.
- Make reminder phone calls and/or send reminder emails to everyone who R.S.V.P'd
- Prepare a flier with photos and directions from one property to the next. Attach customer version of mls printout for each property
Day of the event:
- Have refreshments available at the meeting place. Greet each visitor personally. You may wish to have your assistant and a lender in attendance to work the room while you wait for arrivals.
- Before departure, explain buyer agency and that you do not represent any sellers of homes on the tour. Have them sign whatever agency disclosure is required in your state and a buyer-agency contract for the specific homes on the tour. Explain that you will be asking for their feedback, and collect a feedback form at each property. ALWAYS DEPART ON TIME.
- Give your tour guests a folder with a copy of the agency disclosure, the buyer-agency contract, the tour information package you assembled, and a feedback sheet for each home. You may also wish to include information from a lender about the likely interest rate, down payment, and monthly payment for homes in this price range.
- Optional - have a magnet or a sign that can be attached to their side window that says I'M LOOKING AT HOMES WITH YOUR NAME - or whatever. Talk about visibility in your neighborhood, where housing inventory is at an all time high!
- Show the properties, doing your best to keep people together - this is where it would be handy to have your assistant, to act as a shepherd - or the listing agent present. I'm thinking maybe three couples max inside a house at any one time, while other visitors check out the exterior.
- Back at the office, invite guests in for more information and refreshments; schedule an appointment to follow up.
Day after the event:
- Send a personal note thanking participants for joining you on the tour, making some comment based on their feedback, and offering to help them with their home purchase.
- Call or send a note to thank the listing agents who opened their homes to the tour.
Be sure to follow up, as you would for an Open House or showing property, perhaps enrolling participants for automatic MLS updates based on the guidelines of the open house tour or your follow-up with them.
If this is succesful, you could make this a monthly event in your market! Can't you just picture a caravan of cars driving from house to house (perhaps with magnets on each side that say "Your Name's Sunday House Tour"). You could take some photos, issue a press release, and develop a following of buyers who yo
If you've done this before, please share your success stories!
This information was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton.
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