Transform your next open house or property showing into a sensory experience for your visitors by employing the help of the five human senses… sight, smell, sound, taste & touch!
As we get immersed in the process of selling real estate for our clients, certain tasks can become repetitive and mundane.
One of these tasks is the open house.
You’re a busy REALTOR® so you host open houses or property showings all the time, and maybe you don’t think too much about them.
In fact, a property showing is a chance for you to create an unforgettable brand experience for anybody who walks through the doors of your property.
Think about the process of attending a property showing or open house… Visitors make note of your listing, drive to it on their day off, park, walk inside, interact with you and consider purchasing the property.
This process is much more of an immersive experience for your visitors than browsing the same listing on the web. The amount of time and energy they are committing to this activity makes them a high-quality lead, which means they deserve more of your time and energy.
Today we’ll talk about the various ways that you can elevate your open house experience for guests. Not only to better sell the listing but to create a positive brand experience for visitors. Painting you as the consummate expert who goes the extra mile for their clients…
… which, by the way, can earn you NEW clients along the way!
When thinking about how to elevate the in-person experience of an open house, it’s important to consider the various human senses:
- and Touch.
Let’s look at each of the five senses in further detail, and think about some ways to enhance your next open house or property showing by catering to each of them.
1. Sight – Make sure the property looks sharp!
Sight is the most obvious of the five senses when it comes to a property showing. It’s one that almost all agents are already focused on enhancing during an open house. Regardless, let’s cover a few ways to make sure your listing is visually poised for a successful showing.
- Declutter the hallways, closets, storage, bedrooms… everything! Make sure everything unessential is out of sight. Nobody wants to see shoes and toys laying around. It makes it difficult for people to picture themselves in a space and can detract from the perceived size of the property.
- Clean all the counters, floors, windows, mirrors and walls. Make sure the space looks spic-and-span before visitors enter. Tidying and decluttering is important, but actually cleaning will make the property feel new and unused.
- Light up the property so it’s nice and bright. Make sure all – or most – of the lights are on, and all the curtains are drawn so as much natural (and unnatural) light as possible can enter the property. Dark and dingy properties don’t feel very warm and welcoming to visitors.
- Stage the property by removing any excess furniture and potentially renting new, more appealing furniture. Old stinky recliners are not sexy and don’t help the appearance of a home. Get that thing out of there to open up space, and maybe replace it with something more minimalist and visually appealing.
- Depersonalize the space so that visitors can feel like it’s their home before making a purchase. Artwork is a great touch, but tons of family photos all over the place can be a bit of a turnoff, and can also divert visitor attention from the property to the life of the current owner.
2. Smell – Good aromas can lift our mood.
It’s been long known that sense of smell is the most powerful memory trigger. A pleasant aroma can teleport us to another place and time in our lives and can load joyful memories and feelings faster than any other sense. Don’t overlook the importance of good smells when hosting your next open house. Here are some ideas to elevate your property showing with pleasant aromas:
- Scented candles can be lit around the home. While their scent may be subtle, the added benefit of scented candles is the intimate lighting they provide around the property. Depending on the season of your open house, different scents can be chosen.
- Essential oils offer various different scents as well as other positive properties. There are many different types of essential oil diffusers out there, like the reed diffusers or the steam diffusers. Place a few of these throughout the home to breathe life into each room.
- Fresh baked cookies are one of our favourite smells of a home. Whip up a batch of cookie batter either that morning or the night before, and throw them into the oven right before the showing begins. That magical aroma will waft through the property and give it a “homey” feeling for visitors.
- Fresh coffee might not be everyone’s cup-a-tea (ha!) but there’s no doubting the beautiful smell it produces in a home. Grind and brew some fresh coffee during an open house and let people imagine what waking up in the property might be like. As a bonus, some of your guests might even drink a cup of coffee!
- Flowers are not just a treat for the nose, but also for the eyes! It’s a doubly-whammy. Fresh, flagrant flower arrangements can be placed all around the property in different rooms to bring life to the spaces and naturally perfume the home. Who doesn’t love flowers?
3. Sound – What’s the soundtrack of the property?
Music can really elevate our lives. For instance, working out at the gym while listening to high-BPM music in your headphones and provide you with an energy boost. Or listening to some calming harp music while at the spa can put you in a very relaxed state. Similarly, providing the right sounds to accompany your open house can elevate that experience as well. Here are some thoughts on introducing sound to your property showing:
- Live musicians can be a real treat for the ears and the eyes, depending on the type of property you’re showcasing. I wouldn’t hire a pianist to play at a 600 square foot condo showing. I might consider it though if I was showing a 4,000 Sq Ft luxury house that had a piano!
- Streaming music on Bluetooth players or through the home’s speaker system is an excellent way to provide a soundtrack to the open house. Beware of the type of music you’re introducing though. Metallica is usually not the right choice. Which leads me to my next point…
- Match the music to the property you’re showcasing. The sounds that work best in a luxury penthouse will be different than sounds that suit a small suburban home. Your business has its own brand, and so does each property you’re showcasing. Try to find the middle ground.
- Lower the volume of your music so that it’s faint and not overwhelming. You don’t want yourself or your guests to have to yell over the music. It should be a gentle background melody to the affair, and not the whole affair itself. It’s an open house, not a concert.
- Different sounds for different rooms can make for an exciting journey through a property as well. Imagine walking into the bathroom and hearing spa music, then entering the kitchen to hear upbeat classical music.
4. Taste – Amuse-the-bouche and amuse the guests!
The kitchen is often referred to as the soul of a home, so providing some treats for your open house guests can make them feel right at home before they buy. Providing a small snack during your open house will make you a favourite Realtor®, and can totally transform the property showing to an event. Here are some tips:
- Hire a chef to prepare hors d’oeuvres in the home’s kitchen. Sushi chefs usually make for a memorable experience, but any type of professional who is using the home’s kitchen the way it’s meant to be used is a win. Let guests imagine what their house warming party might be like in their new home.
- Cater the event with delicious treats from a local eatery. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, because the act of catering the open house is fancy in and of itself. Simple crostinis, sliders or even pastries served on platters in the kitchen will give guests something to hold and chew on while they peruse the property.
- Low maintenance food is essential to an open house or property showing. Your job is still a real estate agent, not a chef and janitor. Make sure you’re not running around doing too much clean up. Provide easy access to trash bins, and try to keep your snacks to finger-food if possible.
- Hire a bartender and/or server to carry champagne or cocktails to guests. Obviously you’re not trying to turn the open house into a booze-fest, so limit drinks to one per guest. This is not an open bar, you’re simply trying to elevate the experience for guests. Be sure to provide non-alcoholic options as well.
- Match the food and drink to the home you’re showcasing. Don’t spend your entire commission cheque early by over-catering for a 500 Sq Ft condo. If the property is luxurious and lavish, then perhaps a sushi chef makes sense. If it’s a modest suburban condo, perhaps fresh-baked muffins and doughnuts are enough!
5. Touch – Keep your guests’ idle hands occupied.
The final sensory elevation we’re covering today is a bit of a tricky one… you may not think “touch” has much of a place in an open house. Compared to the other four senses, you’re right. However, there are still ways to elevate your property for the sense of touch. Here are some ideas:
- High-quality paper or packaging can go a long way when you’re handing out marketing materials. Every time I’ve been to a property showing or open house, the feature sheet I received has been printed on regular paper. Why not consider spending a couple of bucks more to print your materials on high-quality stock? The feeling of quality in the hands of your guests will trigger a positive response towards you and your property.
- Encourage guests to run their hands on the different features of the property. For instance, the marble countertops are very smooth, invite guests to touch them. The carpets in the bedroom might be exceptionally soft, point that out to guests while they walk on them. Maybe the staircase has very finely detailed wood carving on the railing… make sure you know of these details, and invite your guests to touch!
- Providing food or drink? Try to avoid dollar store grade plastic plates and cups that you’d find at a 3-year-old’s birthday party. If people are going to be holding cups, plates or serviettes, think about the quality of these materials they will feel in their hands.
- Pens, pads & promotional materials can be useful to keep your visitors’ idle hands occupied. People don’t always feel comfortable with empty hands… a lot of us don’t know what to do with our hands when they’re empty. Don’t leave your guests feeling uncomfortable, give them a free pen to hold… a mug to take home… a notepad when they enter!
- iPads and other tablets can provide users with a high-quality touch screen experience while they’re at your open house. Use these screens to give visitors a way to view interactive elements of the property, such as a video, virtual tour or just more information about yourself. Screens keep our hands busy, and they also help brand you like the modern, technologically savvy Realtor® that you are.
If combined correctly, an open house or property showing that integrates sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch will create an unforgettable brand experience for your visitors.
That being said, I’m sure many of you are thinking “this sounds like a lot of work and a lot of extra cost for an open house.” I totally understand and sympathize with you. Nobody said that creating unforgettable brand experiences was going to be cheap or easy.
However, you don’t need to accomplish every single bullet listed in the categories above for every single open house. Just try a few of them here and there to learn which one best suits your brand and style of doing things.
Some of you may end up hosting 5 or 6 open houses before selling a property. Maybe only the first open house is the sensory catered event, and the rest of them are very basic.
It’s really up to you how you want to use the tactics above and how much time and money you want to spend. I’m only suggesting that there are numerous ways for you to elevate your property showing experience for guests.
I hope you found these ideas useful and inspiring. Please let us know how your next property showing goes! Good luck, Ninjas.
PS. This whole blog post was inspired by one of our Daily Marketing Ninja Tip emails. To receive a daily real estate marketing tip in your inbox, use the form below to subscribe! Or learn more here.