Kevin Johnson: the agent who shut the door on open houses

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Should you shut the door on open houses

Like most home sellers, the client of real estate agent Kevin Johnson wondered when he planned to host an open house for her property.

“I won’t be doing an open house,” he told her. It wasn’t the first time he’d surprised someone with this answer.

Kevin is an agent in Celebration, Florida. And while he’s a veteran of the professional world, he’s relatively new to real estate. And he had some very specific ideas about what he would — and wouldn’t — do as a real estate agent.

From hotels to houses

Kevin Boudreaux, the real estate agent who shut the door on open houses and uses adwerx advertising
Kevin Johnson

“I know how to put the customer first,” he told us. Kevin spent 17 years in the hospitality industry, which lives and dies by how it treats its guests. And real estate is no different. “Open houses don’t put your customer first. Ask any agent how many buyers have they found for the house they are holding the open house for, and they’ll say very few. They like making new contacts and getting buyer leads for other listings, but that’s not focusing on the seller you are working for in that moment.”

He is also taking a cue from the new buyers in the market: millennials. They don’t go to open houses. They live online, so that’s where Kevin’s marketing efforts are focused.

Kevin also feels that open houses are more of a safety risk than selling benefit. When meeting a buyer and going out to look at homes, agents are encouraged by NAR to meet at their offices and get a photo ID. But absolutely anyone can walk into an open house. And there have been several incidents in the news where agents were personally at risk. That makes open houses an open and shut case.

Building a brand. Capturing mindshare.

This marketing approach hasn’t hindered Kevin’s success one bit. While many first year agents celebrate upwards of three sides, Kevin had 53 sides in his rookie year. 

One of Kevin’s favorite methods for finding new business and promoting listings is what he calls “mindshare,” or brand awareness. “It’s not lead generation,” he clarified. “It’s about being in front of my target customer at every opportunity — so they can’t get away from me!”

Kevin uses Adwerx digital advertising for brand awareness with online ads focused on his personal brand and online listing ads to promote specific properties. And he’s proven to be a savvy marketer, experimenting with colors and layout in his agent ads. And his sellers like Adwerx, too, enjoying their daily report of activity.

“I believe in this product,” Kevin told us. “I love the ease of this product. It is so simple!”

Oh, and remember that client who asked for the open house? In the end, she completely agreed with Kevin. No open house necessary, and her house sold in 11 days!

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  • reply Rick Creel ,

    In our area, they don’t work. I just finished one today, mostly to appease the seller. 3 agents showed up (2 from our office). As I explained to the seller, people live online. They come into our office and know what they want to see. They give us a list and then ask what we know about the properties. Think about it, why would people drive all over town to look at a product? You don’t do this with anything else. You shop around and then find who has it for less. That’s where you go. Like Kevin, you have to be in front of people, online or otherwise.

    • reply Lauren Walker ,

      Great point, Rick. Thanks!

    • reply Patty ,

      Unfortunately, on two of my overpriced listings, the only time people come to see the houses are at the open houses and my clients keep asking me “when are you going to do next open house”? They just don’t get it.

      • reply Kim ,

        I hold open houses! But, I invite my friend and lender to assist me; we team up to offer advice and capture buyers. Most walk in’s are looking without agents.

        • reply Sue ,

          Patty why are you taking overpriced listings?

          • reply Patty ,

            Sue, LOL.. I know..well they got a paid appraisal before I took listing and when I initially met with them and told them what I think they should list for, they went nuts…they just don’t get it. Sooo, its either I give up the listing or suck it up till they come to their senses.

          • reply Highlands REALTOR ,

            Excellent point Sue. This does no agent nor the profession any good. No sense in “buying a listing.” It’s about as usless as an open house.

            • reply Tom ,

              In my 30 year career with over 7000+ homes sold I swear by open houses! They are you bread and butter to touching a prospect. Buyer or seller it doesn’t matter. It’s your listing in your future neighborhood that you will get FREE referrals. I NEVER paid for a lead. If your going to last in real estate for more than 10 years, have your team do open houses. When the market slows down you will thank your open houses. ?

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