How Buyers Find Nearby Open Houses and How to Maximize Exposure for Yours

It’s no mystery, these days the vast majority of buyers find open houses online. In fact, according to 2017 reports by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), as many as 42% of recent buyers took their very first steps towards property search online, which drastically outranks the mere 17% who began by contacting a Realtor.

In separate surveys conducted by the NAR, 88% of buyers found online websites to be the most valuable resource throughout their search, while 79% also found their real estate agent to be incredibly helpful.

So what does this mean for you, the seller?

It means that buyers are typing in “open houses near me” into Google and Zillow long before they do anything else. It also means they’re finding open houses through a variety of channels: online, in-person, and through the networking channels of their realtors.

Your plan of attack requires a multi-dimensional (both online and offline) approach, in order to successfully meet your buyers on the other end of their Google searches.

How to Achieve Maximum Exposure for Your Open House

Ultimately, you should have one goal in mind as a home seller: get as many eyes on your property as possible. The more people who see it, the better chance you have of a high-value and timely sale. With that in mind…

Here’s a list of our 4 top agent approved strategies for listing your open house:

1. Find an Agent Who Knows Your Neighbors and the Surrounding Area

Take a note from the buyers here: Hire a top Realtor.

While more and more great real estate tools are popping up online (ahem, like us), you’re still going to need an industry expert at your side to get the job done. And any realtor worth their salt is going to have a thoughtful and aggressive marketing plan that’s ready to go.

For starters, make sure they list your home in all the traditional channels, both on and offline.

Real estate agent Nico Jonville, the #1 ranking agent for homes sold in San Marcos, CA as of this post explains, “We have a very expensive marketing program and take care of open houses as a full service, with traditional open house signs and online advertising on places like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Craigslist, and our own site.”

What Jonville is describing might sound excessive, but in fact it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Expert real estate agents like Jonville will often go above and beyond traditional marketing tactics to offer something called “Pre-listing Marketing.” This involves setting up an entire campaign around your home and its best features— before it even hits the market.

By setting up the campaign early, agents can generate hype around the sale and guarantee that the first open house receives a good turnout.

2. Use Your Network to Spread the Word About Your Nearby Open House

Word of mouth can go a long way in promoting the sale of your home and your open house, especially on social media.

Someone always knows someone else looking to buy. Jonville even suggests looping in your family and friends a bit more than just a simple social share. “We suggest [clients] send info to their friends, family, neighbors, and ask them to create a snowball effect to share and get more people to share.”

By asking members of your network to tap into their own network you can significantly boost the reach of your open house event.

Matthew Bushery of Placester, a website that helps agents do better marketing, also recommends getting a little creative in the ways you use social media to share.

Bushery says, “There are many ways to use multimedia on social networks to promote your open house — including images and recordings that advertise your listing and exhibit its many top features. Whether that’s Facebook albums, Instagram videos featuring quick preview tours, Twitter event updates, or even Pinterest boards to showcase the best of the property and area.”

Go above and beyond to make your open house invite and property for sale look appealing to your network and create intriguing visuals that people will feel inspired to share.

3. Don’t Forget Basic Marketing for Your Open House

Don’t get so distracted with your beautiful instagram videos or the final cut of your new drone video (if you don’t have one of these, be sure to ask your real estate agent) to forget to do some basic marketing around the neighborhood.

Thoughtful street sign placement as well as personalized invites to the neighbors are a must for any successful open house event. Jonville mentions you’ll need “at least 10-15 open house signs, and they should go as far as the main street.” Signs should essentially lead buyers to your home, and advertise at key traffic points where they may notice them in time to attend the open house event.

At a minimum: send open house invites to your neighbors, and not just the ones next door.

Says Jonville, “We have a list of all the (nearby) homes and apartments that are tenant occupied, so we send open house invites to them.”

By capturing the interest of local renters that may be looking to buy, you can get that many more eyes on your home. Consult with your real estate agent to see what kind of lists and connections they may be able to draw on to generate the most traction to your event.

4. Choose Words Wisely When Marketing Your Open House Online

Many realtors will help you to create marketing materials for your open house event, often even writing up complete listing descriptions for you. But if you find yourself trying to come up with something on your own— here’s the information you should be sure to include.

Whether advertising on or offline, keywords and phrases are important.

If you’re creating something that will appear online, consider the search engine optimization (SEO) ranking of the words you’re using. SEO is a tool that Google and other online search engines use to rank search results- the better the SEO, the higher you’ll appear in a buyer’s search results (and the more likely they’ll click on your link).

Pretend for a minute that you’re a buyer shopping for homes in your neighborhood. What would you search for? Probably something like “Neighborhood Name Homes for Sale” or “open houses near me” or open houses in city name”.

A quick trick is to begin typing in Google and see how it finishes your phrase, as chances are this is a highly used search phrase and a good one to include in your description.

Beyond SEO, it’s also important to clearly outline all essential information- home location, schools nearby (as long as they’re good), home size, home address, and even price. Being upfront helps attract the right buyers who are looking for an investment matching your home.

Images are also important, and your advertisement should have plenty of them. At a minimum, be sure to include a picture of the following rooms:

  • master bedroom
  • the kitchen
  • the exterior of the house.

Above all, choose rooms that are the best of the house and professionally-taken images that flatter the property. Don’t include photos with unmade beds, pets in the picture, or anything cluttered.

Jonville also points out that you should engage in some basic marketing phrasing that entices buyers to visit your home. Says Jonville, “People are attracted by what’s special or rare or hard to get. We usually use a punchy title  like ‘Rarely Available Single Story Hill San Leandro Hill- First Open House, Will Go Quick.’ It needs to be catchy, not just the regular, ‘Four bedroom home in so and so neighborhood’ not just flat.”

Try These Marketing Tricks on Your Next Open House

Getting started is the hardest part of any project, which is why we’ve compiled a checklist of a few easy things you can do right now to start planning your best open house:

  • Hire a top agent to help you navigate the market
  • Send a note to your neighbors, letting them know the date of your event and asking them to share the details with their friends and family
  • Work with your agent to list your home in as many places as possible
  • Whenever posting details about your home: use the recommended keywords, give complete information, and draw interest with catchy phrasing

Preparing for an open house is never easy, but by using some of these tips and tricks employed by the experts, you can be sure to have your best possible turnout and get one step closer to a successful sale.