Thursday, March 12, 2015

Make A Boston Open House A Free Ride

If you are a home seller in the Boston area that has listed or (plans to list) your home for sale within the next 30 days, and if your home is located with 1/2 mile of an MBTA station, a little research can go a long way toward getting your home sold.

The MBTA (commuter train system serving the Boston region) has announced a "free fare day" for Friday April 24th. The reasons do not matter to you, but you should know how to benefit from them.

Let me back track. While it is true that sellers do not plan open houses, you (as a seller) should not let your listing agent stand in the way. Some agents are against open houses, and have their reasons. Many will hold them, but for the wrong reasons (for your purpose). Often times the agents hold an open house to meet the neighbors and "general" house shoppers so that they can interest them in "any" listing once they find out that your home is not a fit. You, however, hire that agent to sell YOUR home.

For those agents fortunate enough to have a listing within 1/2 mile of those train stations, drop everything (except for an offer, of course) and schedule an open house for Friday April 24th from, say, 3 to 7 PM. Impress the heck out of your seller! 

Here is why. This is a widely used commuter train line providing "free" rides that day. Your listing is within a reasonable walking distance. Think about it. This means that on that day, every commuter in the Boston metro area could take the train without cost and walk to your open house!

Those potential buyers could know for certain how long of a commute they would have, as well as the convenience of being able to walk to and from the train. He/she/they could see first hand what the neighborhood is like at an important time of the day. Maybe they can walk past a grocery store or trendy restaurant in the process, or see the school yard nearby.

Not every agent agrees with me on this in general, but from where I sit you gain another huge advantage by doing this. While other agents balk at this suggestion and maybe hold a nearby open house during the "usual" Saturday or Sunday afternoon period, chances are yours would be the ONLY available home these potential buyers would be able to see during their "free" trip to see your listing. Your listing, therefore, would not be "one of several" homes these people would visit and have them run together.

Promotions such as this (the MTBA special) are rarely announced this far enough in advance. This gives you plenty of time to plan your open house and to advertise and promote it in the right places.

"Take a FREE train ride to and from 123 First Street on April 24th and explore this 3-bedroom 2-bath home...."

Everyone that comes will ONLY be coming to view this home, since it is likely that there would not be any others in that area.

I mention all of this for those not in the Boston area. The idea is to always be on the lookout for unique opportunities such as this, and make it special. Every home is unique for one or more reasons. The more you can do to sell its uniqueness, the more successful you will be at selling homes.

Dave Kohl is Marketing Director of First In Promotions, which provides market research for realty agents and offices on a per hour or per property basis. Details at www.ForRealEstateAgentsOnly.