By Katy Robinson

RE/MAX of New England
Event Planner

As an event planner my goals are often lofty ones considering the short time that our guests are with us.  Often I am looking for them to be educated, persuaded, entertained, impacted and most of all, for them to feel like their time spent at the event was worthwhile.

An Open House is no different, homebuyers are attending an event where YOU are the host.  They may stay 5 minutes or an hour but your goals for each visitor is the same – to get them to buy that house!

Each visitor is dynamic and may be moved by different things so you want to make the most of the time you have with them and do your best to access them on as many levels as possible in order to make a lasting impact. You want have them talking about the time they spent at your property long after they have moved onto the next Open House.

Your best shot at this is to cast a wide net and be paying attention to all five of their senses since you never know which strategy will really stay with them.  Several of these ”value adds”  can be a mutually beneficial opportunity for you and the community you are listing in.

There is nothing more appealing than the SIGHT of some fresh tulips in the Spring or a simple arrangement of evergreen branches around the holidays.  This will freshen up the look of any home and with the right partnership of the most popular florist in town you may be able to do this at no cost to you!  What florist wouldn’t want the opportunity to showcase their work to a number of potential new residents in town?  Offer to display some business cards of the proprietor in exchange for a simple arrangement.

The same strategy is likely to work with the local bakery or specialty food shop.  In exchange for a display of their cards and your commitment to some great word of mouth advertising for them, most shops would be happy to provide you with an offering that is just the right size to keep your potential buyers happy.  The added benefit to this is that they are going to want to show off their most appealing selections so as to really drive business for themselves and when the buyers SMELL and TASTE the delicious treats you and the shop with both look good!

It’s important to put the lifestyle of the new neighborhoods with in in reach of the buyers.  Swing by the community center in the town and pick up an activity’s brochure as well as a train schedule if relevant.  Put these things out for the buyers to TOUCH and feel as they take a look at what their new town could offer.  Also spend a few minutes on the towns website and borrow a few photos of happenings in the area such as the Annual Tree Lighting or Harvest Festival and display 10-15 of them on a digital picture frame in the home near the listing sheets – really help bring to life just how good it could be to call your listing home!

HEARING some music playing in the background can go far to break that potential awkward silence when the first few people arrive.  Take a few minutes and put together a play list that is reflective of the listing and who you think your target buyer might be.  If you are listing a vacation home on Sebago Lake in Maine the mood you are attempting to set is very different than a loft in the South End of Boston.  With very little investment you can make a playlist on your phone and get a set of speakers that travel very easily and have each open house set to just the right music!

No matter the strategy you choose to use – choose one, be thoughtful and treat each buyer that walks into the front door as a guest and you will be surprised how far your hospitality will go.