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No Brainer Listing FAQ’s

(Continued)

FAQ’s preparing for and conducting the open house

FAQ’s about the No Brainer Listing Program

FAQ’s about FSBO, discount, flat-fee, limited service & full-service brokers

Open houses don't work, this is just a gimmick, right?

I can speak from first-hand experience that open houses can work as I have literally written offers at kitchen tables for the open house I just hosted. But, and it’s a big but, they can also be a total bust (no traffic). 

It’s also worth mentioning that some people think that brokers do open houses do open houses to find other clients. This is mostly true for other brokers. The other thing about open houses is they are oftentimes a way of pacifying the seller. Saying we did an open house tends to make sellers happy even if it didn’t attain a buyer.

The other thing that needs to be considered is this, who knows the home best? Some agent that has probably spent no more than two hours in your home, or you?

Have you ever asked yourself why new construction builders have a sales office and models that are typically staffed during the week but especially on weekends? It’s basically an open house for potential buyers. 

An open house is just a tool but it may be critical at finding the buyer that eventually buys your house.

 

How do I prepare for the open house?

A few things……

  1. We will deliver the open house materials in advance of the first open house (signage, flyers, registration link, etc).
  2. De-Clutter as much as possible. If you aren’t using something daily, please find a place for it (out of sight).
  3. Make sure the house is clean and picked up. Any smells should be pleasant.
  4. Make sure you look at the house from a potential buyers point of view (not the full-time inhabitant). 
  5. Jewelry, firearms, valuables, prescription drugs, etc should be locked up or hidden.
  6. Install the easy to use open house signs in the highest traffic areas and lead them to the house.
  7. Scheduled open house hours should be honored from beginning to end. Our marketing typically has open house timeframes. It’s not uncommon for visitors to show up a few minutes before the scheduled timeframe.
What is the best day and time to do an open house?

That depends on your availability. Literally, if you have an extra hour or two during the week and the house is ready to show, go for it. But, generally speaking, weekends are best. The more you put in, the more likely you are to get out. If you have set time(s) that you would like to host an open house, please let us know so we can get our marketing ducks in a row and hopefully drive some traffic to you.

What should I do/say during the open house?

The seller-hosted open house is an opportunity to allow your house to do the talking. But, we definitely have a few suggestions that may be helpful.

  1. Greet people as they come in. If you are talking to others while others are walking in, be sure to greet anyone that comes in the door.
  2. Provide them with a property flyer/brochure. We do not list the prices on our print material, so offering the list price is perfectly fine.
  3. If only one party is currently present, offer to give a personal tour. Please keep in mind, some people just want to be left alone. Most people give off a vibe one way or the other.
  4. Pay attention! If a party is out of your sight, you’ll want to be aware of several things including: how much time they spent in a particular area (and why), did you hear them talking, etc? You’ll want to know these things for to make sure your belongings are safe, anticipate questions and the like.
  5. When people appear to be finishing their tour, ask if they had any additional questions.
  6. Thank them for coming.

One of the most critical aspects of conducting the open house is to get the visitors name and contact info. With our No Brainer Listing this is commonly referred to as registering them. It’s up to you and your comfort level as to when you ask visitors to provide their information and offer feedback. If you do it before they see the house, they may not know enough about the house to answer a couple of the feedback questions. If you ask for feedback after, you risk them walking out the door before you get a chance to register them. It’s a bit of a catch 22 but we generally recommend asking them to fill out your registration form upon entering. Getting their info is not just a safety issue but it’s very important for them to be registered so that you can take full advantage of the No Brainer Listing Program. Keep in mind, it’s your house and you have every right to ask for someone’s contact info. 99.9% of the public is aware that this is a customary request and will likely fill out the feedback form, no questions asked.

A quick comment about the feedback form (you’ll be provided a link for the open house). The form is not designed to be a definitive way of collecting feedback on the house. We know that a significant majority of people that attend open houses are not real buyers. They are neighbors, people out for a ride, doing errands and happened to see a sign etc. Their feedback may be mostly opinion but likely have little means of comparison to other homes similar to yours. The real buyers feedback may be valuable but the more important issue is having a means to contact, to stay in touch and gauge interest. The feedback questions are really nothing more than a tool to continue the conversation. Those that don’t want updates or unsubscribed from our email/text list were never really interested. The form is ONLY designed for two purposes, 1) to collect their information for future follow up and 2) to register them if they are actual buyers (registering them for the No Brainer Listing Program & to know who was in your house, for safety).

Should we (the seller) tell buyers that we get a discount if they buy the house?

Absolutely not! It’s well documented that buyers will offer less if they know the seller is willing to accept less or is not paying full commissions. That’s one of the main reason’s FSBO’s end up listing with brokers, buyers will undoubtedly low-ball knowing the seller is not paying any commissions.

What can I do to be safe at my open house?

Phenomenal question! So glad you asked. Rather than us putting together a comprehensive list, we thought it would be best to reference The National Associaton of Realtors site. https://www.nar.realtor/safety/10-tips-for-holding-a-safe-open-house

The link above was created for real estate professionals but also applies here. 

Even though it’s your house, you still need to take your safety very seriously. 

 

What do I need to know about The Fair Housing Act?

If you are conducting an open house or engaging the public in anyway relating to housing (private, public or housing that receives federal funds), you should have some familiarity with The Fair Housing Act. We strongly encourage and recommend that you review The Fair Housing Act by clicking here.

 

Does your marketing have our (the sellers) contact info on it?

No, and for good reason. The whole point of offering the 2% option is for you the seller to have a chance to attain the buyer. Anyone that you register is yours even if we follow up with them. If we put your contact information on marketing pieces, you may as well be in real estate full time. Trust me when I tell you, the number of calls, texts, emails and other correspondence can be overwhelming. We have everything in place to properly respond and have been doing this long enough to gauge interest from buyers to see if we are chasing our tails or talking to a real prospective buyer. Also, giving out your contact info absolutely stigmatizes a potential transaction. If another broker brings the buyer, they will have their guard up thinking that they will be doing all the work to close the deal. The path of least resistance is going through us to manage all of the chaos.

 

 

How is this option better than doing a FSBO, a discount or limited service broker?

Glad you asked! Four words, stigma, possibilities, motivation and results. If you were a buyer and were working with a seller directly, you would have to take the sellers word for it on almost everything (no professional protecting your interest). So many things could go wrong or be out of place. If you decide to work with a discount broker, a lot of human nature is at play. The discounter wins on the discount, nothing else. No one expects someone to go above and beyond if the expectations are based on a low fee. Additionally, if another broker is working with a known discount broker, they already know how much more time and effort will be required to see even the most basic things through. Believe me, agents do not like working with sellers directly or discount brokers. The extra work required can be exhausting but the worst part is the built-in low expectations. The most important may be results. Nothing else really matters if you don’t get the results you are looking for. In this case, a sold listing. 

The other items to consider is your protection (financial & legal) and seeing the transaction through in a professional manner. Attaining the buyer is just the beginning, the amount of detail and coordination is significant. Professionalism, training and in the trenches experience is not something one should just look past to save money. The money you expected to save could be minimal compared to the money you spend if you ever have to go to court.

*Using our model, we only discount the fee (if applicable), not the service or expectations. We are basically able to offset money for time. For a seller, if you are highly motivated to attain a buyer, we give you that option. So, it makes sense for us to ‘discount’ our fee if we aren’t doing the same amount of work (like an open house).

 

 

What if I know a buyer was out my open house but I didn't register them?

This is a real dilemma. If we wrote the contract with the buyer and through the course of the transaction we can gather some intel on the buyer, in fact, attended an open house that you conducted but you didn’t register them, the only reasonable thing to do is split the difference between the 2% and 4% commission plans. The commission would be 3%.

We must emphasize that the reason for registering open house is to protect you. It’s unreasonable for a seller to say “that name looks familiar” or “that person came to my open house” without some sort of documentation. That’s the whole point of offering the 2% commission. We hope you understand.

 

 

If I register someone or someone from my social networks fills out a page, how do you track them?

The technologies that we use give us the ability to create pages that when filled out, give us data as to where that particular person came from. If a buyer came to your open house and you register them (using your assigned link), we can track them. If they came from your social network (using your assigned social share link), we can track them. 

The only challenge that we can foresee is if a person fills out one of your form pages/social ads and does the same on our ours, we have a legitimate issue. In this case, who brought the buyer? It would be impossible to determine. This has not happened yet but if it does, the only fair and pragmatic way to solve this is to split the difference between the 2% and 4% commission plan. The commission would be 3%. 

 

 

What if a buyer comes to my open house and wants to write an offer with me, the seller?

Well, we know it is likely to happen but you have to stand your ground and say “contact the listing agent”.

Several things are in play if you do not insist that a buyer contact your agent. In this scenario, none of them are good. Here are some examples:

  1. A buyer may try and convince you to ‘cut-out the agent” so that they can reduce their offer price, knowing that you will not be paying commissions. It’s well documented that buyers of for sale by owner transactions offer much less than the asking price and in many cases, much less than the home may be worth.
  2. We have a listing agreement with you. It’s a mutual agreement that expresses obligations and duties to each other.
  3. What if we have a buyer come to our open house, we attained a buyer and we cancel our listing agreement with you. All of our listing agreements will include a provision for any buyer attained during the listing period is subject to the agreed upon commission arrangement. Aside from being horribly unethical, procuring cause is something that we can most likely prove in our favor.

 

*As a side note, we hold ourselves to a standard of ethics and practices that are intended to protect our clients and their best interest. In kind, we don’t believe it is unreasonable to expect our clients to honor agreements (written or otherwise).

 

 

Why don't other brokers like working discount/flat fee brokers?

From outside the brokerage community, a discount of flat-fee broker may look like a pretty attractive option. Inside brokerage community circles, it’s simply a chase to the bottom (fee, motivation, service and overall value). Sure, you get a discount compared to what most other brokers are charging but you have to think about the low fee critically. Aside from the discount, what am I really getting? It’s similar to having a legal issue, seeking out three different attorney’s and going with the cheapest one because their fee was the lowest. What you save may be peanuts compared to what you left on the table by going with a higher fee.

You emphasize that buyers should not work directly with the seller but what about the open house?

The open house is an opportunity for you to display your home, present it’s features, what you have enjoyed about the house and perhaps a little bit about the neighborhood, the schools, etc. You know a lot about the house so it stands to reason that you should be able to show it off (at the open house). If someone expressed interest, make sure they have filled out the registration form that we provided to you. At that point, you’ll need to hand it off to us and let us work our magic. Encourage the potential buyer to contact us. Even if they don’t reach out to us, they’ll still hear from us (assuming they provided solid contact info on the registration form).

After the open house, you should have no contact with the potential buyer unless we are negotiating a contract, signing documents or meeting for the closing. You’ll need to trust us when we tell you, without a third party involved (in this case us), they will try and contact you directly, knock on your door and may become a nuisance. You do not want to do or say anything outside the parameters of hosting the open house.

You offer a discount. Why are you critical of other discount, flat-fee or limited-service brokers?

On the surface, you may be thinking why is this guy being critical of discount/flat fee brokers when he also offers a discount. It’s a fair question but if you think about it, the programs are not similar at all. We are 100% full-service without compromise. We will not cut corners on anything that is critical to you what you seek, a successful closing. Using our model, there is not chase to the bottom if the seller is actively participating (trying to attain the buyer). The main difference is we will not just offer a discount for the discounts sake, we do it because it gives the seller a chance to potentially save and it’s not guaranteed. The effort to attain the buyer is significant and can come from anywhere (including your efforts and network). Why wouldn’t we offer some sort of discount if the seller was instrumental in attaining the buyer?

 

 

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