There are several ways home-buyers find properties for sale, whether online, by a drive-by, or by word of mouth. Sooner or later, they will set an appointment with the realtor and have a viewing of the property.
For the real estate novice, an open house is basically where a gaggle of prospective buyers descend upon a property and mill around, looking it over and picturing themselves living there. Open houses are a great way for realtors to connect buyers, sellers and other realtors—but they can pose certain concerns for boards, property managers, and neighbors in terms of safety and security, nuisance, and traffic.
For seasoned brokers and real-estate agents, open houses are essential to the sales process.
According to Laura Steinbruckner, a realtor associate who heads up the Jackie Teplitzky team at Douglas Elliman in Miami Beach, the key to holding a successful open house is all in the presentation.
“It’s all in the way you present your open house,” she says. You always want to entice people with food, music, flowers and good marketing material. For example for every one of our listings we do a brochure. Depending on the building we’ll do the brochure in Spanish, English and sometimes Portuguese and then we will include square feet and square meters and the basics about the building, and parking. We always want to have what I call ‘leave behinds’ so people will have something they can take away with them even though we live in an age of technology. You want to present a warm environment in an open house. We try to adapt to the building for the open house. Sometimes we will have food catered from a kosher restaurant or there is this place that everyone likes called ‘Healthy Empanadas,’ that is usually a safe bet.”
Many buildings require an appointment and notice for holding an open house and some will limit the amount that can be held simultaneously at one time. Real estate insiders believe a smart move is to choose a time frame that includes other open houses in the surrounding area to capitalize on the flow of traffic and increase the overall turnout and that another important aspect is communication. “Common sense and communication is everything,” says Abrams. “It’s common for me to receive calls after work hours.”
There are a number of ways that condo associations can do their part to keep the disruptions from an open house to a minimum. This includes everything from notifying the neighbors that an open house is taking place, limiting traffic, keeping track of all visitors and making sure that the realtor knows all rules and expectations.
An open house is a great way to bring in people that might otherwise have missed the buying opportunity and show people all that’s great about your condo.
“The most important thing is to make sure everyone has the correct information,” says Steinbruckner,” “You want to be a good hostess and make sure everyone falls in love with the apartment and if it’s realtors you are holding the open house for, you want to make it so nice for them so they will entice their clients to come in and see the place.”