Dear Monty: How do we conduct a FSBO open house? We are first-time home sellers. A friend of ours just sold their home FSBO and told us it was not at all complicated. We want to start the process with an open house, but we want to avoid mistakes without having done this before. Can you give us direction on how you would conduct an open house?
Monty’s Answer: Open houses can be a valuable tool in the home selling process. The trick is mimic a good real estate agent’s tactics. These are the second-nature tactics they likely don’t mention. Here is an article on DearMonty about open houses that will be helpful. Below are some second-nature tips for a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO).
1. Inform your neighbors. Your neighbors can be great lead generators. They may know of someone that is looking for a home right now. It could be a relative, co-worker, friend, or someone they know in a service club.
2. Data sheets. Print up 25, 50, or 100 data sheets with the date and time of the open house and have a neighborhood kid hang them on the neighbor’s front door, mailbox, or porch.
3. Yard signs. On the Monday before the open house, put a sign in your front yard that says: “Open House, Next Sunday – 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.” On Friday, put out several open house signs on corners with an arrow pointing in the right direction. These signs are vital if you are not on a heavily traveled street.
4. Promote, promote, promote. Social media has become a good source of leads. Facebook, Instagram, and many others will advertise FSBO homes for free. Zillow will allow FBSOs to advertise for free, and Zillow feeds to Trulia, Redfin, and other websites. Craigslist will also run your ad for free. Because those ads are free to FSBO’s, buy an ad in your local paper or the newspaper where agents promote open houses. Make sure you include the open house information in all the ads.
5. The sign-up form and data sheet. Greet your guests near the front door. Ask them to sign in. Make a data sheet like agents hand out containing all the information about the house. Leave them in a visible spot like the kitchen counter. If they don’t take one, they may not be a prospect.
6. Safety. Besides having others with you in the house to help, they also serve as deterrents in the unlikely event someone is there for nefarious purposes. Anecdotally, in the rare instances where an incident has taken place, it has not been at an open house.
7. The open house. When they have signed in, ask them if they would like to walk through independently or if they would like you to point out the features and answer questions. Most people will opt to wander around on their own. But some will enjoy a guided tour. Be friendly, but make friends at the closing. Remove your pets from the house as they can be a distraction.
8. The follow-up. In my experience, sales and purchases are often lost because neither party acted. A seller should contact prospects within a day or two and ask the prospect if they have questions.