Real estate professionals have debated the worth of open houses for years. It’s no surprise really, especially when you consider that 90% of home buyers conduct their searches online (National Association of Realtors® 2012). Still, most will point out that even if open houses don’t generate many sales, they generate something just as important: Leads.
Leads are the heart and soul of the real estate business, providing brokers a sphere of contacts with whom they can routinely correspond.
During an open house, leads have always been secured through the good ol’ sign-in sheet—a pen or pencil resting atop a notebook or neatly printed log sheet—propped up somewhere near the home’s entryway.
But the shortcomings in this system are obvious: translating unknown handwriting, people having no interest in writing down their information, disinterest stemming from the fact that a sign-in sheet provides no feedback or gratification, to name a few.
That’s why Top Producer developed the new web-based BrightOpen™ app.
According to the app’s landing page, this tool will turn your next open house into “a lead-generation bonanza,” by providing visitors with a little instant gratification in exchange for their contact information. The idea is to provide access to the app on your iPad or other tablet during your open house.
To set up, a broker simply visits BrightOpen.Realtor.com and logs in with a valid MLS ID and Market Snapshot credentials (yes, the Market Snapshot account is required to use the app). After sign-in, the broker is presented with a list of their current properties, from which s/he selects the property currently being shown.
Now the fun begins for open house visitors. They can interact with the app, using it to review details about the property they’re visiting, provide their contact information and opt-in for both a free newsletter and Market Snapshot report (this provides local neighborhood statistics).
Re-released this year in time for National Open House Weekend, BrightOpen™ also lets brokers enable an automatic follow-up feature, meaning contacts receive new market data as it becomes available.
The truth is, as many as 50% of homebuyers still use open houses as part of their home search, even if it’s just to get an idea of what they don’t want. BrightOpen™ is a way to intrigue and engage those potential buyers.
Because at this point, we all expect iPads and tablets to be a daily part of life—coffee shops use them for tips and signatures, retailers use them for loyalty cards, now realtors can use them for leads.