Guerilla marketing

weedyacresMay 26, 2012

Our house went on the market 2 weeks ago, priced at about the 90th percentile of local homes. Our local parade of homes is coming up next weekend (lasts a week with weekends on either end). There are typically a few higher-end homes in a golf course subdivision up the street from us, ensuring a good flow of traffic. We were hoping that would build awareness for us.

But the list just came out and there's nothing in that subdivision this year. So our great hopes of high traffic are out the window.

We had another idea that I wanted to bounce of you good folks here. There is a high-end subdivision to the northwest of us. We are considering having an open house on Saturday concurrent with the POH hours, and putting some signs in front of the high-end subdivision directing traffic to our open house. It would also give us an excuse to email the list of local realtors again, inviting them to the open house (no free food this time, though :-))

My reservations: I don't really relish the thought of lots of people tramping through our house that are looky-loos (but there is the off chance that they'd know someone...). I don't know if it would attract a lot of traffic, but when we've been touring POH houses and there are neighborhood houses with open houses we've looked at them too.

Thoughts? Any other ideas on how to use the POH to generate traffic and exposure? I suppose we could stand outside a POH handing out flyers about our house. :-)

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It's doubtful that the property owners in the subdivision would allow your signs to be displayed. Especially if there is a HOA involed. Signs on right of ways of streets tend to annoy the municipalities and incur fines.

The only way that I can see to integrate your home into the POH is to add your home to the list. How are the homes chosen for the event? Do you know any of the organizers or sponsors? Does the builder of your home have a home represented in the POH? How is your home price when compared to the homes in the POH?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 11:13AM
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"High-end subdivision?" Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 4:21PM
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"High-end subdivision?" Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron?

I'm thinking you are a troll, I see you seem to enjoy making offensive statements on this forum.
What is your game?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 8:56PM
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Go ahead with your open house but don't email realtors.

POH folks are not going to be with realtors for the most part.

If you want to email realtors again, do it as a separate email and not related to open house.

You might get away with signs on the right of way just for the weekend. Often towns/counties remove the signs in these areas but do so on weekdays when they are working.

Make sure your sign says "lake home" or similar. Plan to lose your sign if the HOA removes it. Go back to get it as soon as Open House is over if you want to keep your sign if HOA didn't take it already.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 8:42AM
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"It's doubtful that the property owners in the subdivision would allow your signs to be displayed. Especially if there is a HOA involed.'

That dpends on who owns the land you put the sign on.

"Signs on right of ways of streets tend to annoy the municipalities and incur fines."

Temporary (one day or a few hour) signs are almost always allowed.

What annoys governments is full up commercial advertising (like sub-division sale and direction signs, or store advertising) and political signs that the candidates never get around to cleaning up after the election.

You should check if there are any local laws, but it is often hard to enforce things like signs for just a few hours during an open house.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 10:28AM
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POH people around here are mainly lookers who are not a potential buyer. Many cannot afford the homes, but are curious to see how 'those rich people' live. Others are looking for builders or ideas on how to decorate their homes. The serious buyers look at these same homes, but usually look at them with their realtor.

You might get a buyer at an open house, but I don't think it is a high probability.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 10:57AM
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I'd be so leery of letting in POH drop in people who hadn't been prescreened by a realtor or since you're fsbo by yourself).

Too many horror stories of people who were there to scope out where the TVs and possible jewelry, medicine locations are in a house and then come back later. Plus it's pretty simple for a couple or two to come at the same time and then it's impossible for you to give them your full attention. The idea of lookers wandering around unsupervised would give me the willies.

While I wanted to save the money on the realtors fees and can appreciate your wanting to do the same, not being on MLS is a strike that makes competing in the terrible market almost an impossibility.

Good luck! BTW it took us 18 months to sell. It wasn't until we switched to a type A go getter realtor that things began to happen.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 4:00PM
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I'm not familiar with the parade of homes thing. And you do have to be careful of local ordinances when putting up signs.

But as to open houses? We had a number of people come through our open houses WITH their realtors, as well as a number of realtors who were scoping out the house to see if it would be good for their clients. On top of that we had serious interest from people from our open houses. The first open house brought us a couple who had narrowed their list down to 2 homes--ours and one other. But the other one won out. The second open house? A young couple came through with their realtor, they called first thing the next morning to schedule a return visit that evening. The next day we had a VERY acceptable offer. So, speaking from my own experience? I'm a fan of open houses.

And it is important to think about when you schedule them--some weekends are definitely bad choices (Superbowl weekend, Mother's day, holidays). Looky-loos don't bother me a bit, because everyone knows someone else who is looking for a home--yours may be the one they tell them about, thus generating more interest.

You do, however, want to be very cautious about security. We removed everything of value from our home before the open houses and showings. The very few things we had left, were locked up carefully or we took them with us in the car. You'll want to have someone running the open house that you know you can trust, of course.

Really up to you, but it seems to me that a weekend where people are going around the area looking at homes is going to generate a lot of foot-traffic for you, but it might or might not be serious buyers.

Oh, and don't forget to advertise on Craig's list and do some targeted ads on Facebook--great way to find interested buyers.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 8:56AM
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Well, we decided against doing an open house (both during POH and in general) for the reasons stated above: while to some extent awareness is awareness, and you never know who will tell their friend, I think the probability is not real high.

But what I DID do today is run around to a few open houses in the area. When the realtors chatted me up in the usual way "are you looking?" I told them we were selling our house, they asked who it was listed with, and I said "FSBO with a 3% commission to a buyer's agent." Some asked for more details, pricing, contact info, etc. I followed it up with an email with a link to our website. So a little one-on-one exposure-building that didn't cost me anything but time.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Good idea!

We did a similar thing before putting our house on the market. It helped us get an idea of our competition and we essentially were interviewing realtors at the same time. We were always very upfront that we weren't looking to buy, just planning on selling and wanting to look. Things were so slow that the realtors were always glad that somebody came.... they didn't care that we weren't prospective buyers.... we were warm bodies!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:08PM
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