The Evolution of the Open House

By Melanie Robitaille, Sr. Staff Writer and Graphic Designer

As one of the largest investments in a person’s life, buying a home sight unseen was a rarity at the best of times. With doors closed more often than opened, and people distancing instead of gathering these days, we’re witnessing the evolution of the time-honored real estate tradition known as the open house.

It’s more vital than ever to stay connected with your clients and customers and their dreams of homeownership, however it’s no longer about attracting as many local onlookers as possible and hosting visitors en masse, but rather curating a series of welcoming, personalized, by-invitation-only engagements. If you haven’t already put a good time management app or appointment system into place, now is definitely a good time.

Rather than spending a Saturday afternoon visiting open houses as they did pre-pandemic, prospective buyers can drive the neighborhood, pull up in front of any listing and utilize EXIT Realty’s Smart Sign™ Technology and the EXIT Realty Connect app to view property details in the palm of their hand. This empowers those customers digitally searching in any given area, and helps you stay informed on those activities. Also, well-shot videos or professional 3D home tours through companies like Matterport are now must-have tools in the digital selling space to create experiences for those seriously interested in listings.

If and when you’re able to welcome multiple prospects into a home, come prepared with all the essentials that you’ll need to adhere to guidelines. Whether you create your own kit, or purchase one online through companies like House of Magnets, ensure you have all the necessary signage to welcome, instruct and direct prospects, as well as individually packaged items like wipes and/or masks. Depending on the size and layout of your listing, you may also want to use the buddy system to have eyes on all floors, designate a single point of entry as well as one for exiting, open all cupboards and doors, and establish a specific path to maintain a good flow.

When dealing with strict guidelines or comfort levels you can also offer independent showings. Thanks to text password lock box technology or a recent trend toward telepresence robots in vacant homes that tour home spaces and allow you live, digital interaction with buyers, you can be there but not there.

But before that door even opens, think post showing by being prepared and educated to answer questions regarding public health or governance related to cleaning and sanitizing between owners. Whether it is or isn’t mandatory in your market, state or province, it could come up as a condition of sale, and knowing a specialty cleaning firm  could put you ahead of the competition, even if only as a thoughtful closing gift.

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