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open for inspection

Make the most of your open for inspections in 5 steps

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Make the most of your open for inspections in 5 steps

Holding open for inspections can be stressful for both sellers and agents. They are still worth the trouble as they are a great way to gain exposure for listings to potential buyers and expand your client database.

To help you make the most of your inspections we’ve come up with five important steps to tick off when planning and carrying out your next open for inspection.

open house guide

Step 1. Market the open house.

First and foremost holding an open for inspection is an exercise in marketing and event planning. To get a decent amount of people through the door and increase your chances of finding the right buyer it is crucial that you spread the word about your event far and wide.

Here are some marketing ideas that go beyond simply putting out directional signs and an a-frame with balloons on the day, to help take your open house to the next level:

  • Form local alliances. You could try teaming up with other agents who have upcoming inspections in the same area and arrange an open house weekend. Having multiple inspections on offer in the same suburb will draw in more traffic and expand the reach of your combined marketing efforts. Add an element of fun to the weekend by arranging a raffle, giveaways or playing ‘inspection bingo’ where visitors win a prize if they visit every house on the list. You can also try forming partnerships with local businesses. Ask if they can display information about your open house in exchange for giving out coupons for their business at your inspection or some other mutually beneficial trade.
  • Send out invitations. Think about setting up an exclusive neighbourhood viewing by opening the house an hour early on the day for locals. Send out formal addressed invitations to people in the area and neighbouring suburbs showcasing the photos and details of the listing and special offerings, such as a kid’s corner, tea and coffee or catering to make your open house inviting and stand out. Odds are people who live in the area and want their friends and family to move close by will spread the word for you.
  • Share on social media. Post the details of your open for inspection across all your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) and community pages that allow you to do so. Also get the seller on board and have them share your post with their social networks.
  • Be daring. Why are most open for inspections held at the same time every Saturday morning? Try advertising something different and set yourself apart by offering alternative times or unique offerings to people interested in viewing the home. You could try holding a themed open house on a week night, hosting an open house party during a big football game or having catered nibbles for people who come for a look on their lunch hour. 

Step 2. Set up the right expectations.  

Explain the pros and cons of holding an open house to your sellers. Make sure they understand that they won't necessarily get an offer on the day, there are risks of damage and theft occurring, but at the end of the day having traffic and attention on their house is a good thing for attracting surprise interest and more potential buyers. Also clarify that during the open house you may also come across buyers that are suited to other homes you have listed.

Step 3. Prepare the home and marketing collateral.

Ensure the house looks its best for inspection day by making sure it is clean, uncluttered, deodorised and staged well inside and out. Some agents even go to the extreme of giving their sellers a list of tasks to complete before the house can be opened for inspection. Also, remind sellers to lock away valuables (credit cards and jewellery), weapons and prescription medications to prevent them from theft.  

On the day make sure you get there early enough to set everything up and make any minor tweaks to the staging or last minute cleaning if needed. Ensure the doors are open, all the lights are on and everything looks as neat as possible.

You should also have something for visitors to take away with them so they can easily get in touch with you. Hand out a double sided A4 sized glossy flyer highlighting the home’s features, land size, room dimensions, floor plan, photographs of popular neighbourhood amenities, a map showing the location of the nearest stores, schools, public transport and other important facilities and land marks, and your contact details of course.    

Step 4. Collect contact information and make follow-ups.

Set up a system for registering and recording clients’ details (name, phone number, type of buyer and email) as they enter the property. Use whatever you’re most comfortable with and works best for you, some people still use a clipboard and pen to sign in visitors where others prefer something more hi-tech like an iPad app. Signing in viewers serves a dual purpose: 1) it can give you some peace of mind to have their details recorded from a safety view point and 2) it gives you a way to add potential clients into your database for following up in the future.

Also try chatting with visitors on their way out to see what they thought, gauge their level of interest, get immediate feedback on the home and answer any questions they may have. It’s also worthwhile sending a follow up email or making a follow up call the next day to see if they are interested in the property or if they are qualified buyers for any of your other listings.

Step 5. Be safe.

Remember there’s safety in numbers, so consider partnering up with another agent at your office to run the open for inspection together if you’re worried about sitting in a home alone. Better yet enlist the help of a trusted lender to come and offer advice on the spot, to help you feel more safe. It is also wise to pre-plan an escape route if something does happen and avoid being alone in rooms with no exit. Having attendees sign in also helps you assist police in the event of damage, theft or a break in. If you suspect someone of theft consider taking down their licence plate and requesting to see photo ID.

If you plan, prepare and do something to set your open house apart you're bound to impress your sellers and potential buyers. Going about an open for inspection in the right way is a great way to boost your database of clients and gauge the interest in the market place for your listing and others like it.

Have you taken a look at our suburb reviews for the areas your real estate agency services lately? You're welcome to contribute to our suburb reviews or help answer questions about your region on our Q&A forum.        

 

Happy selling!

From the Homely Team

 

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

 

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7 handy apps for Australian real estate agents

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7 handy apps for Australian real estate agents

With so many real estate and property apps out there it can be tricky to figure out which are the most user friendly, cost effective, efficient and beneficial for you and your business. 

We've come up with seven of the best apps you should download to your smart phone and tablet to make your life easier, get more leads and improve your ability to service clients.

What are the most useful apps for real estate agents?

1. Open House ID

Description: Open House ID is a fast and easy way to manage your open for inspections and registering viewers. Open House ID allows visitors at your open house to instantly transfer their details to you through a personalised QR barcode.

Benefits: This app will save you a lot of time by automatically syncing visitors details with your CRM database, saving you from having to manually enter their details after inspections. It also keeps track of how many times an individual has viewed a particular property allowing you to identify the hottest leads. Another advantage of this app is that it gives you information on the specific criteria a viewer is looking for, so you can target them more effectively when new properties become available in the future. This app also saves you the trouble of having to decipher handwriting on a registration forms, lessens the likelihood of being given false information at inspections and having visits from nosy competitors.

Cost: Free.

2. Open Home Pro

Description: This is another fantastic app for managing and making the most of the information you gather at inspections. The app allows you to collect clear information from visitors by creating an easy sign in process.  

Benefits: Following an open for inspection the app automatically follows up visitors for you by sending a professional email containing a welcome letter and your contact information. The app also helps to qualify leads by compiling and sending you lists of potential clients that don’t have an agent yet or have a home to put on the market. It is also easy to spread the word about your upcoming open for inspections with one-touch email systems and social sharing features.

Cost: Free.

3. CamScanner

Description: CamScanner allows you to scan, securely store, sync and collaborate on PDF or JPEG files across smartphones, tablets and computers. 

Benefits: You can scan all your client’s important documents from your mobile device while on the go, so you don’t have to worry about rushing back to the office to use the scanner and inconvenience clients.

Cost: Free or a premium subscription costs $49.99/year.

4. Tap Mortgage Australia 

Description: Tap Mortgage Australia is a user-friendly app that helps you calculate mortgage repayments for your clients and potential buyers. 

Benefits: The app also allows you to calculate and graph loan repayments, and estimate government costs such as Stamp Duty, Transfer Fees and Registration of Mortgage for all Australia's states and territories. You can easily share and email your clients Stamp Duty costs and estimates on weekly and bi-weekly loan repayment options to assist them in making an informed purchase decision. 

Cost: Free.

5. MagicPlan

Description: This app allows you to quickly create professional floor plans and work estimates (i.e. costs to paint a room or replace the carpeting) by taking photos of rooms.  

Benefits: The great thing about MagicPlan is that you can generate the floor plans for your listings by simply taking pictures, so there's no fumbling with a tape measure to get the room dimensions right. You can also easily add objects, annotations and photos to your floor plans. You can access your saved floor plans as PDFs or JPG files and publish them as an interactive floor plan online. 

Cost: Free.

6. Dropbox

Description: With Dropbox you’ll never need a USB stick or lose files again. Dropbox is a simple cloud-like storage method where you keep files and documents that are accessible anytime and anywhere.

Benefits: Using Dropbox allows you to organise your clients’ files and be able to access them or share them whenever and wherever you need.

Cost: Free or Pro accounts for $129.99/year.

7. LightTrac

Description: LightTrac allows you to quickly determine the best time of day and date to shoot a specific location in the best light. 

Benefits: LightTracs easy to use interface helps to ensure your listing photography is as light and bright as possible. The photos of a property always look best when the sun is facing it and shining. LightTrac is your secret weapon to get the best listing photos by allowing you to know when the sun will be in an optimal position to get the best shots and make your listings glow.  

Cost: $6.49

 

We hope you'll find these apps useful and helpful in simplifying and streamlining what can be a very busy and demanding existence as a real estate agent. Are there any other handy apps that you and your business couldn't function without? Feel free to share in the comments area below.

 

Happy selling!

From the Homely Team

 

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Seven home-staging tips to make your listings shine

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Seven home-staging tips to make your listings shine

Ensure your vendor’s house shines for its open for inspection by recommending these simple low cost staging techniques. Explain that when it comes to selling their home it is important to market it effectively to potential buyers in the most attractive way possible.

Clever staging can be the difference between a quick sale and a house that sits on the market for months, which is not good for you or your vendor. 

Here are seven easy tricks to pass on so sellers can skilfully stage their home without breaking the bank, and most importantly tempt buyers to make an offer.

What staging techniques should I focus on when getting a house ready for inspection?

1. Depersonalise

One of the most important things a buyer needs to do when inspecting the property is to imagine themselves and their belongings living there. To help make this happen recommend that sellers pack quirky, valuable and personal items away and ideally store them away from the home.

All photos and portraits should be removed from view. Generally, wedding photos and family mementos draw a buyer’s attention to the seller’s family and can stop them from seeing the house as their own family’s future home.   

Removing personal photos, collections and quirky keepsakes also means there is nothing to distract or detract from the overall home itself. The seller needs to make sure the house is the centre of attention.

2. Deep clean

Remind sellers that noticeable grime, dust, pet odours and dirt are very off putting and gives potential buyers the impression that the home is uncared for and hasn’t been well maintained.

Make sure they pay close attention to cleaning light fittings and windows (inside and out) to make sure the place is light and bright come inspection time. From shining floors to gleaming appliances and spotless bench tops, every surface should be sparkling clean and pristine.

If they have pets, have the rugs and carpets steam cleaned and remove litter trays, as there is no bigger turn off to buyers than the smell of wet dog as you enter a house.

If they cannot handle a deep cleanse themselves or their house is especially large suggest that they hire a professional cleaning service to give the place a thorough once over.

stagingtechniques.windowcleaning

3. Let there be light

Buyers want ‘light and bright’, not ‘dark and dreary’, so make sure the house is lit up like a Christmas tree for inspections and listing photography.

When staging the home for photography try to chose a sunny day and make the house appear as bright as possible. Have vendors open all the curtains and blinds and turn on every light in the home, even switch on lights on the range hood and oven to show off the appliances and kitchen.

A fresh coat of paint can also work wonders to lighten and brighten up spaces and makes a property a feel clean, new and well maintained.

4. Declutter and organise

Too much clutter makes homes feel messy, small and cramped. Have sellers clear out extraneous items, like piles of mail and magazines, shampoo and medicine bottles in bathroom cabinets, and remove toys, shoes and clothes from overflowing cupboards.

This can be tricky for some, but is worth the trouble to demonstrate to potential buyers just how much space there is for all their things.

If the vendor is moving out shortly after the sale it can be a good idea to have them pack up and put into storage off-season clothing, books, extra linen and DVDs to really show off the home's storage space.

5. Scent appeal

Prior to an open for inspection advise buyers to wipe down bench tops and surfaces with their favourite subtle all-natural cleaning product to give buyers the impression of cleanliness.

However, make sure they don’t over do it. Being overwhelmed with powerful and competing smells when inspecting a home can be very off putting for buyers. So let sellers know to keep the potpourri, aftershave, fresh coffee and air freshener use to a minimum.

6. Simplicity is key

When arranging furniture remember ‘less is more’. The aim here is to lead buyers' eyes to the room’s best assets. For example, make sure sellers don’t block off large windows with bulky furniture or crowd and take focus from a feature fireplace with a TV and armchairs.

A few simple décor touches of bright colour, like a turquoise throw rug or quirky vase help to add personality to spaces and photograph well for listings.

7. Create a sense of luxury and comfort

A seller doesn’t have to spend a fortune to make their home welcoming and to achieve a sense of luxury. By simply buying fresh fluffy white towels or bathrobes to hang in bathrooms, displaying fresh cut flowers in a crystal vase and pretty throw pillows for beds can make a home look luxurious and feel inviting.

Unlit decorative candles or bottles of luxury hand soaps are great styling tools to recommend for sellers to add a sense of comfort to their home and lightly fragrance the air as buyers move through the house. 

In preparation for an open for inspection remind sellers to focus on depersonalising, cleaning, lighting, decluttering, subtle fragrances and making the house feel comforting and homely. All this will help to make the property more attractive, allow potential buyers to envision themselves living there and hopefully achieve a good sale price.

Are there any other staging techniques you use that prospective buyers love? Please share them with us and our readers below.

 

Happy selling!

From the Homely Team

 

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

 

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