If you’re a new real estate agent, you may occasionally find yourself hosting an open house for another agent.
It’s a common practice. Not every listing agent is able to host all their open houses, especially if they’re a veteran agent and have a lot of listings.
But it can also be a little intimidating. If you want to do a great job, expand your own client base, and foster your relationships with other agents, there are certain ways you can prepare.
Why Should You Host for Another Agent?
Running a successful open house is an art. It takes some time to be comfortable at an open house event. Not to mention learning how to interact with open house attendees.
As a new agent, you may not always have something to fill all your time. While you can post more on social media or chase down potential leads, networking with other real estate professionals can be better.
You can do this by hosting a house for another agent. Hosting a real estate open house for another agent gives you practice at hooking an interested buyer, in addition to helping you get your name out there.
Lastly, it allows you to work your niche. In the beginning, you may not have listings in your desired niche area. When you host an open house for another agent you can choose the area and begin consistently working that area.
Preliminary: What Are Your (and Their) Expectations?
Every Realtor and brokerage operates a little differently. Before you even start, ask the other real estate agent what their expectations are.
It’s possible they’ve already done most of the work but just need a warm body in the house. It’s also possible that they haven’t done anything at all.
You’ll need a clear set of expectations if you are to guide the real estate transaction appropriately. And this will prevent there from being any major miscommunications down the line.
If hosting for another brokerage, be sure to get written approval (text or email) from the other broker, not just the agent. If hosting for another agent within your brokerage, written permission from the agent is typically enough. Be sure to ask your broker their policy on this.
Research: Find Out More About the Listing
You’ll want to create a fact sheet about the listing that includes all the basic elements, such as when it was built, the square footage, the size of the lot, and more. Additionally, take a look at anything special that you might want to point out to a potential buyer, such as a well-landscaped garden or a brand-new HVAC.
As a Realtor, you may want to know more about the comparables in the area. But do remember that your goal is to present the open house in the best light possible. You’re not operating as the buyer’s agent (at least not yet). So, when you meet with a prospective buyer, you should refrain from discussing other open properties.
Promotion: Marketing the Open House
This won’t always fall on you.
Often, the marketing will already have been done, and there will be specific marketing processes that the brokerage will have.
But it may be that you’re marketing the open house as well as conducting it.
There are a lot of venues you can use. You can post on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and set up directional signs. Also, you may need to coordinate with the listing agent adding the open house within Zillow, Realtor.com, and the MLS (since those sources typically only let the actual listing agent update the listing).
If you have a Facebook business page and/or Instagram account, you should also post your listings there — even if they’ve already been marketed. This will make it easier for you to also develop your brand.
There are times when another agent may ask you to conduct a private showing. During those, you won’t have to go through and post an open house sign or market an open house event; you’ll just have to show up and know what you’re showing.
Hosting: Running an Open House Event
Being a hosting agent takes work and skill. Not only do you need to greet and engage each open house visitor, but you also need to know what to highlight about a property.
You also need to provide an open house sign in sheet to record each guest’s information.
Take some time to get to know the property before anyone arrives. Consider developing a short open house script before you get there, something that runs down the basics of the property and all the major high points.
If the seller is available, make sure you introduce yourself and explain that you’ll be running the open house early. The seller’s agent will have already discussed this, but you’ll want to build a rapport with the seller yourself.
Practice your answers to any challenging questions you’re likely to get. A potential home buyer is likely to ask an open house agent about the foundation, roof, and other structural issues.
They may also ask questions such as:
- Is there any interest in the property? Have any offers been presented?
- Why is this property more expensive than similar properties?
- Are there other similar properties on the Multiple Listing Service?
When dealing with a potential client, you need to be able to handle these questions delicately. If you’re wondering anything about the property yourself, you should ask the listing agent ahead of time.
Be aware that during an open house you’re likely to interact with a buyer agent, too. This means another professional Realtor may start asking you questions about the property or start the process of negotiations. Know what processes your broker has for this.
Further, know when you should and shouldn’t redirect individuals to other potential homes. A real estate agent will understand that not everyone who goes to an open house is going to express interest in that property. But they will not continue to work with someone who is actively pulling individuals off their listings and onto their own.
Virtual Open Houses: What and When?
The open house an agent asks you to host may not always be in person.
It’s becoming more common to have a virtual open house event, especially if there’s only a single attendee or someone looking at the property from out of town.
A virtual open house takes place online with you, the buyers, and the buyers’ agent. You’ll still walk them through everything, but it will be in digital space. This can throw off even the most experienced agent.
Before a virtual open house, you’ll want to make sure that everything works properly. Be sure you have a strong internet signal from the property (if conducting live) and walk through the house on your own before your appointment.
A virtual open house can even be offered in conjunction with a traditional open house to give individuals who can’t get into the area a chance to view the property and potentially make an offer.
Follow-Ups: Connecting with Prospective Clients
It’s understood that you will be scoping out prospective clients during the open house when you’re hosting an open house for another agent. This is one reason why it’s so valuable for newer agents.
During the open house, make sure to get everyone’s contact information. After the open house, reach out to everyone about the property and connect regarding their house hunt.
Of course, it’s not likely that you’re trying to snag someone who already has a buyer’s broker. But many people go to open houses who aren’t working with a Realtor yet. They may be interested in working with an agent.
What Shouldn’t You Do at an Open House?
In addition to the things you should do, such as following up, there are generally some rules regarding what you shouldn’t do.
- Don’t leave early. You may be booked from 9 to 10, but that doesn’t mean you should leave at 10. When it comes to looking at houses, a lot of people are going to linger and take their time. It takes time to seal a deal. Get used to a listing taking unexpectedly long periods of time, but understand that everything moves you closer to a commitment.
- Never guarantee anything. There are potentially things that you don’t know about the listing. It’s easy to become eager to ‘seal the deal’ by promising things like minor concessions, but if you can’t guarantee something, it’ll just be a waste of time for both parties.
- Don’t ignore anyone. You might be surprised to find out who is really a qualified buyer. Even if someone seems rather flippant about the property or seems rather casual about the process, they could still be a serious buyer—they may just already know they’re interested.
You should treat every listing as though it were your listing, even if it’s not. That will get you a positive reputation in the industry.
Getting Started with Open Houses
How do you even start running an open house for another agent?
It’s common enough in real estate that usually your broker will approach you first. Often, a listing agent is going to connect with other agents at their brokerage to find someone who is free.
It’s not uncommon for a listing agent to have to outsource at least a few of their open houses. And when they do have to, they’ll reach out to the individuals they trust first.
To get started with open houses, talk to the professionals that you work with. You can ask them about running open houses for them or even ask them for open house tips. Make your broker aware that you’re looking to run open houses for other Realtors.
Eventually, you’ll get enough open houses coming to you that you won’t need to ask.
FAQs on Hosting an Open House for Another Agent
Why would you host an open house for another agent?
Hosting an open house for another agent is something that many new real estate agents do. You gain exposure and experience. In some cases, you may even be compensated for your time.
When working with a brokerage, you’re often required to help out with open houses. This is done in return for the exposure that the brokerage gives you in terms of marketing and resources.
And helping out other agents is also how you get other agents to help you. Once you become an experienced agent, it will be common for you to have more listings than you can really attend open houses for.
At that time, you’ll be able to swap with other, less experienced agents and have them handle some of your listings.
What type of compensation is normal when hosting a Realtor’s or broker’s open house?
This depends on the Realtor and brokerage. Commonly, there’s no compensation exchanged. The compensation is in terms of experience and networking.
But if the other agent expects you to do a lot of work (such as marketing the listing, too), you may receive a flat fee in compensation. Unlike a referral, it’s rare to be paid out as a percentage of the sale in closing costs. It’s more likely for you to agree to a one-time flat-rate fee.
How should you procure clients at another Realtor’s open house?
While you shouldn’t step on anyone else’s toes, the majority of agents understand that you’ll be trying to reach out to prospects. Speak to everyone who comes to the open house. They may need a buyer’s agent.
If someone mentions they are already working with an agent or want to speak with the listing agent, don’t interrupt—that would often be considered “stealing” the client.
But there’s never any harm in handing out your business card.
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