How To Host Paperless Open Houses For Your Real Estate Business
Real estate open houses haven’t changed all that much in the last 25 years.
Technology has changed nearly every other aspect of the business — real estate drone videos are now the norm — but open houses? Not so much.
But there is one key way to innovate when it comes to your open houses: go paperless.
Turns out, we don’t need to be dragging our clipboards, pens and printouts everywhere we go. Or trying to decipher messy handwritten email addresses. (Plus, all that paper ain’t good for the environment.)
There are solutions! Solutions that do away with paper, make your open houses more efficient, impress prospective buyers, and do a better job at capturing leads.
Here’s how to run a super effective, completely paperless open house.
1. Take Your Advertising Online
To promote your open house, go where your market is — online.
The Internet affords so many different opportunities to spread the news about an open house:
- Social media. Start a Facebook event for the open house and start inviting your local friends. Spend a small amount of money ($5 to $15) to run a Facebook ad or Instagram ad. Tweet about it and tease photos of the house on your Instagram.
- Video. Using your smartphone, create a quick teaser video of the house that you can share on social media or include in your newsletter. On the morning of the open house, try a quick Facebook or Instagram live video for one last push.
- Craigslist. Advertise your open house in the events and/or housing sections of online classified websites such as Craigslist and Kijiji.
These online promotion ideas are an add-on to – not replacement of – your outdoor signage. We think it’s always a good idea to place large flags and signs near pertinent street corners to attract car and pedestrian traffic.
2. Trade the Paper Flyer for a Digital Flyer — And Get More Names
Open house attendees typically expect to find a paper flyer by the front door or on the kitchen island, containing all the information they need about the house.
The attendees don’t have to do anything to get that flyer. The overall goal is that they’ll jot down their name and email address as they enter the open house, but in a crowd, it’s hard to capture everyone.
The paperless solution: create a digital flyer that you can email or text.
The digital version can simply be a PDF copy of the flyer you would have printed out. When an open house attendee asks for a flyer, you can tell them you’ve gone paperless and that once they sign in, you’ll email or text them a copy.
Requiring guests to register in order to receive a flyer maximizes the leads you’re capturing, ensuring you’re not missing out on any opportunities.
The sign-in part is where things get interesting. Keep reading.
3. Collect Names and Email Addresses on a Tablet or Laptop
When you tell open house attendees to sign in to receive a flyer, you won’t be directing them to a clipboard. You’ll be pointing them in the direction of a tablet or laptop.
A digital signup makes things easier for everyone, but that’s not the only upside. There are open house apps that connect to your online database of leads and clients, taking your data collection and follow-up game to the next level.
- A professional-looking, easy-to-use form for open house guests to fill out
- A way to organize and manage leads
- Branded, personalized and trackable tools for lead follow-ups
- Open house reports for sellers
These apps — which, might we add, are easy to use and affordable — also signal to open house guests that you’re a forward-thinking agent.
4. Be Savvy With Your Follow-Ups
When you run a paper-based open house, your post-open house process looks something like this:
- Look at your signup sheets
- Try to make out the correct letters
- Type all the names and email addresses into your database
- Send follow-ups to all
- Receive one or two bounces because it turns out you didn’t correctly decipher the email address correctly
Translation: time wasted and lost opportunities.
When your sign-ups are done digitally, following up becomes a breeze.
You can do it immediately after the open house wraps up for the day — which is the best time, since you and the house are fresh in the prospect’s mind, and vice versa.
Other tips for making the most of your email follow-ups:
- Include personal details. If you send your follow-ups right away, there’s a better chance you’ll remember the conversations you had with each lead. Where possible, add a detail or two that shows the lead you remembered them. For example, “Hi David and Jenny. Great meeting you (and your adorable puppy!) at 56 Chadburn Crescent today….”
- Give them content. If the house was in a neighbourhood that you’ve written a blog post or created a video about, send it to your lead. Or attach a guide you’ve written on the latest market news, or the questions buyers should ask themselves after attending an open house.
Have you taken a paperless approach to your open houses? Would you consider using an open house app? Tell us why or why not in the comments.