Sunday, February 5, 2012

What is a Broker Open House?

Creating a plan for selling a house is an important part of the process. After all, how do you go about accomplishing anything significant in life successfully without a plan?

Part of the "plan" I put together for selling a home often includes a Broker Open, or Broker Open House. These events are typically done on Tuesdays in the Twin Cities metro area, and it's an open house marketed to other real estate agents, inviting them to stop in for a "preview" on Tuesdays. It usually features food - either nice snacks or lunch - and sometimes a giveaway is helpful.

Broker Opens can be very helpful in getting agents to preview a property, give feedback on staging, condition, and pricing, and potentially open their eyes to a new area of town they are not used to working.

As there is an additional cost (food, giveaways) to holding a Broker Open, a lot of agents don't do them - especially in an economy where commission income is down. They also take time - I figure at least 1.5 hours of prep time (brochures, emails, promotion at company meetings, set up and take down) and 2 hours of actual "host" time during the open itself.

I prefer my opens to have snacks or a light lunch, with bottled water for the agents, presented with nice amenities such as silver trays, table cloths, and sometimes fresh flowers. The gas card giveaway can be really helpful in getting feedback - especially on pricing. Most agents will leave a business card, so why not ask for their professional opinion on a price? Giving them an incentive such as a gas card for their help goes a long way.

Lastly, I like to thank the agents who participated with a thank you email after the event. I may never meet these agents again - why not leave a good impression? It also lets me announce who won the giveaway if there was one.

Many consumers don't think to ask if their agent includes these types of marketing activities as part of their listing. Much like advice on staging or the inclusion of 18 photos on the MLS - consumers often don't understand you get what you pay for. In this market, it's important to use multiple tools to sell your home, or you may end up owning your home a lot longer than you'd prefer, or not achieving the highest possible sale price.