Open houses aren’t just for individuals looking to sell their homes. As a landlord, you can also host open houses to attract potential renters. But if you’re going to host an open house, you need to do more than make things look pretty. Buying flowers and baking cookies will only get you so far. You need to engage attendees in order to earn a return on your time.
Why Host an Open House?
If you’ve never considered hosting an open house for your rental properties, then you’re probably wondering why this is helpful. What’s the value in an open house for a rental? Well, here are a few that come to mind:
- Showing prospective tenants a property takes time. And if you end up showing the same property three, four, or five-plus times, then suddenly you’re committing a lot of your time to showings. An open house allows you to consolidate showings into a single two or three hour period and saves you time in the long run.
- Lead gen. The majority of people who show up at your open house probably won’t submit an application, but even if they aren’t interested in this property, they may be interested in another one you have. This makes open houses great lead generation opportunities.
- One of the best things about an open house is that it creates urgency. Suddenly, interested prospects see others looking around and begin to wonder if somebody else will make an offer before they do. This forces people to act quickly.
This should be all you need to know. Saving time, generating leads, and instilling urgency in prospective tenants makes an open house well worth your time.
The Types of People Who Will Show Up
If you’re involved with real estate long enough – and are fortunate enough to host enough open houses – you’ll learn that the same types of people show up to every single one. Here are a few of those stereotypes:
- The nosy neighbor. There’s always a nosy neighbor. This is the individual who just wants to know what’s happening and has nothing better to do than stop by. They’ll typically complain about something – such as the yard – and are self-seeking.
- The tire kicker. Then you’ll have the people who are just there for the sake of it. They may be looking for a rental, but they’re unsatisfied with everything and do nothing but point out the flaws before leaving.
- The investor. It’s not uncommon to see an investor come by in a hot market. You can usually spot them the second they walk in the door, and they’ll fumble around with small talk before giving you a verbal offer.
- The interested renter. Finally, you’ll have a few interested renters. These are the folks who will take the showing seriously, ask questions, and fill out an application. Your job is to separate the interested renters from the others.
You’ll have plenty of other people show up, including previous owners who are curious about what the place looks like or folks who just happen to be walking through, but these are the four most common profiles.
Five Tips for Engaging Attendees
Now that you know who’s going to show up, it’s time to turn your attention towards how you’ll engage attendees. Here are a few tips:
- Never Ignore Anyone
You never want to ignore anyone who shows up at your open house. Even if you know the person is just a nosy neighbor or tire kicker. Sometimes your perception can be wrong and it’s rude to avoid speaking with someone who enters your home.
The key is to balance your time. There will inevitably be one attendee who’s a talker and will try to engage you in a lengthy conversation. This is fine, but be sure to politely step away when someone new enters so that you can introduce yourself. If someone is ignored for even 60 to 90 seconds, they may get back in their car and drive away.
- Get Information from Everyone
Remember, open houses are about more than just the single property you’re showing. If you have other properties – or plan on investing in more in the future – capturing attendee information can help you down the road.
While you can try passing around a clipboard or manually taking information, some people are reluctant to provide their information without some sort of incentive. Having a small drawing or giveaway – such as a gift card – is an effective way to get things like names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Feel free to get creative!
- Let People Mull Around
After greeting people at the door, feel free to let them walk around on their own. This is especially important if you see couples. They often prefer to discuss things in private and would rather not be shadowed everywhere they go. You can then approach them after they’ve seen everything and give them some more details.
- A Smile Goes a Long Way
This is a short and simple tip, but remember that a smile goes a long way towards establishing a positive rapport with people. Even though an open house can be stressful, you should make an effort to smile at everyone. Ultimately, this will put people at ease and help you connect with attendees.
- Ask Your Own Questions
While you’ll be on the receiving end of a lot of questions during your open house, make sure you’re also asking your own. Get to know attendees so that you can determine who they really are and whether or not they’d be good tenants. This also helps you remember who’s who when it comes to reviewing applications after the open house concludes.
Partner With Green Residential
There’s value in forming partnerships. As a landlord, you can’t afford to spend your time handling menial tasks and dealing with the small details that take your focus away from the big picture. That’s why you need to partner with us.
At Green Residential, we’re the premier property management company in Houston, Texas, and would love the opportunity to earn your business. Please reach out to us today and we’d be happy to provide you with a complimentary rent analysis!