Think of an open house as more than just a property showing and awesome things begin to happen.

What if your next open house was more of an event? A planned experience, rather than yet another walkthrough of a property. A memorable gathering of hand-picked attendees who eagerly arrive on time, because they would hate to miss what’s in store…

What if your next open house could paint a clearer picture of what life would be like in that property and in the community surrounding it? What if your open house could tell a story in which your visitors are the main characters?

We think it can.

Have you ever walked into a very high end retail store such as Louis Vuitton? When you show intent to purchase their extremely expensive products, you are treated like royalty. You deal with one dedicated salesperson who will act as a personal shopper, get to know you and cater the shopping experience to your needs. In some cases you will be served tea and macarons, or even champagne – this of course depends on how much you’re planning on spending, or have spent in the past – nonetheless… champagne while shopping!

My point is this: People spend the extra money with retailers like Louis Vuitton because they focus on quality of experience as much as they do quality of product.

It just so happens that REALTORS® are selling something more expensive and much more valuable than $5,000 bags. You are selling a property, a community, a lifestyle… Yet in so many cases, the real estate “shopping” experience doesn’t nearly rival that of expensive handbags and shoes. Why is that?

Us Ninjas are real estate technology experts, but we are also creatives with our fingers on the pulse of innovative REALTOR® marketing tactics. Lately, we’ve been hearing about experiential open houses and they seem too good to ignore. I’d like to share five fresh and bright ideas to help you elevate your open house experience, and your overall real estate brand.

Before I get into it, let me say one thing: these ideas are each tailored for individual groups of buyers. I strongly believe you can’t be all things to all people; the 5 tactics below aim to be everything to some people.

Kids Open House

If you’re marketing a property that is ideal for young families who have one or more young children, throw a party for the kids. For entertainment, book a balloon animal twister, get someone to do face painting, hire a magician or a stilt walker.

Open House for The Kids

Kids get hungry fast, so include some healthy, nutritious, and FUN snacks and beverages. Tell the story of what their kid’s next birthday party could look like if they lived here. Don’t forget the parents, though…

Having a nice cheese platter with some wine for the parents can go a long way – and can give you an opportunity to take them away and show them some of the finer details of the listing.

Social Mingler

As a 30 year old single professional who is a property owner, I can speak to this idea with a great deal of confidence. Hosting a social mingler at a one or two bedroom condo would be an exceptional way to attract the right buyers for that property (and filter out the riff raff!)

For entertainment you could bring in a DJ to spin some tunes while your guests sip on craft cocktails made by a local bartender, on site. Go as far as laying out a spread of appies, donated by a nearby eatery – a great cross promotion in their eyes.

Craft Cocktail Bartender

Set a dress code, send out invitations and tell potential buyers the story of how their future events could look when they live here.

Backyard BBQ

A backyard barbeque is the quintessential spring/summer event. It’s probably the one type of household event with the highest attendance rate – everybody loves a burger and a beer on a sunny day (veggie burgers included!)

If you find yourself marketing a home with a beautiful yard during the rare Canadian sunny months, why not turn your open house into everyone’s favourite event? Pair the eats and sips with some live local music and a ‘photo booth’ where guests can have their photo taken with an assortment of props (see: tickle trunk).

Backyard BBQ Prop Trunk

Not only does this provide a comfortable atmosphere to promote the home to guests, it also tells the story of their own backyard BBQs at their soon to be new home.

Community Showcase

If you’re marketing a listing in an up-and-coming part of town, think about inviting some local businesses and public figures to speak or host a table at the open house.

Perhaps you invite a representative from the local golf course, or a local farmer’s market vendor to answer questions but also promote their products and services. Send a letter to the local MP for that area and invite them to join their potential new constituents for a brief discussion or Q&A session.

Artisans from BC Farmer's Markets

Try to strategically partner with local businesses who can provide refreshments and light snacks during the open house. That way you’re providing a tasty, hyper-local experience to your visitors while telling them the story of life in this new neighbourhood.

Neighbours Open

A great way to build a solid buzz around your open house is by getting the surrounding residents involved. A day or two before the official open house, host a private open house just for neighbours. If the listing is a house, invite 10 households on either side and 20 across the street. If the listing is an apartment unit, invite the whole floor, and potentially some upstairs and downstairs neighbours.

Invite Nice Neighbours To Your Open House

Share your knowledge about the neighbourhood and become the expert in the eyes of the neighbours who attend. Make them privy to some exclusive information that won’t be prevalent in the public open house. Include a light lunch and some refreshments to really stand out!

Be social and build a rapport with the neighbours, and they might tell the story of life in this neighbourhood to your next buyer for you.

Of course, not all of these ideas will always be possible. Some may cost more than others, some rely heavily on the sun shining. My objective is by no means to tell you exactly how to do your job or how much to invest in your marketing. I simply hope to open your mind to some outside-the-box marketing opportunities for your future open houses. With the sunny season right around the corner (or already here in some cases), it may be the perfect time to try something new and creative!

In any case, I wish you the best of luck, I thank you for reading and I will see you next time, Ninjas [-_-]~~