When it comes to open houses, I always tell my team to study the competition and then do the exact opposite. We’ve all been to those typical open houses where you’re lucky if there’s a couple of water bottles, a bowl of hard candy, and maybe, if the stars align, some fresh-baked cookies. But let’s be real, that’s not going to cut it in today’s competitive market.

Imagine going to a birthday party around lunchtime and finding out there’s no food. You’d be thinking, “Are they really not going to feed us?” It’s the same with open houses. If you want to stand out and create a lasting impression, you need to go above and beyond the stale, cookie-cutter approach.

That’s why we’re all about transforming our open houses into fun, party-like atmospheres where potential buyers can actually picture themselves entertaining and living in the home. And what better way to do that than by bringing in the ultimate crowd-pleaser: food trucks!

Turn Open Houses into Mini-Events

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Food trucks? That sounds expensive!” And you’re not wrong. Our typical food truck event ranges between $600 and $1,500. But here’s the thing: this is an investment in your future success. And the returns? They’re as delicious as the street tacos you’ll be serving up.

First things first, let’s talk about creating a buzz. We don’t just want to host an open house; we want to create an event that’s the talk of the town. That’s where your catered food truck open houses come in. By transforming your home sale into a community event, you’ll generate a level of excitement that goes beyond the typical “walk-through and leave” experience.

Sourcing a Food Truck

But how do you find these elusive food trucks? It’s easier than you might think. Start by searching on Facebook for your city, county, or metro area and the term “food trucks.” More often than not, there’s a dedicated Facebook group for food truck owners in your area. All you need to do is comment with your request in the group.

Here’s a pro tip: The more specific you are in your request, the better responses you’ll get. Be as detailed as possible about your minimum spend. The higher you’re willing to pay, the more responses you’ll receive. And when those responses start rolling in, don’t forget to ask for a photo of the food truck. After all, you don’t want a jalopy parked in your client’s driveway!

Now, you might be wondering, when do we choose to have a food truck, and when do we opt for catering instead? It really depends on the property and the seller’s preferences. For luxury listings, a food truck parked out front might not align with the high-end image we’re trying to convey. In these cases, we class it up with a catered affair featuring sushi, sake, and Sapporo, or perhaps a champagne and charcuterie spread. It’s all about creating an atmosphere that complements the home and appeals to the target buyers.

Spread the Word

Remember, it’s not enough to have a “unique selling proposition” like a food truck. You still have to sell it to the customer. More specifically, let the neighbors know. 

But how do you get the word out? We use Listings-to-Leads for all our single property websites and we send a “Nearby Homeowners” letter. Listings-to-Leads is one of our team’s most valuable lead sources, and there are hundreds of marketing pieces it offers, but we can’t get into them all today. Here’s an example of what we use for a Food Truck Open House:

Once you’ve downloaded the nearby letter, you can head over to Zairmail if you’d like to send it via mail. And let me tell you, this service is a game-changer. Zairmail will print, stuff the envelopes, and mail your letters for you. If you’ve ever found yourself stuffing and stamping 250+ letters by hand, you know that this service is worth its weight in gold. Trust me, your time is better spent focusing on your clients and closing deals, not licking envelopes.

When it comes to mailing, I prefer a standard envelope, first-class stamp, and no business affiliation on the envelope. Remember, your mail’s objective is to get read. If you try to save a few bucks by using an indicia instead of a first-class stamp, your letter will likely end up in the recycling bin before it even gets opened.

The same goes for putting business affiliation on the return address. Everything that is required from a compliance standpoint is included in the letter. If you’re budget-conscious, you can always use sweat equity and door knock, leaving a door hanger. For medium budgets, you can use postcards, but I’ve found that they’ll also often end up in the trash. (Side note: Listings-to-Leads has door hangers and postcards as well.)

When you’re setting up your mailing through Zairmail, don’t forget to include your own address in the mailing list. This is known as a “seed” in direct marketing, and it serves a crucial purpose. By receiving your own letter, you’ll know exactly when your potential buyers and neighbors are getting theirs. Timing is everything in this business!

To avoid paying a 25% rush fee, I recommend processing your mailing through Zairmail on the Tuesday of the week BEFORE your open house. This gives the letters plenty of time to reach their destinations before your big event. Plus, it saves you from unnecessarily cutting into your profits.

Trust me, these little details can make a big difference in the success of your open house and the impact of your marketing efforts. So, mark your calendar, set a reminder, and get those letters out the door with plenty of time to spare! 

Open House Sign-In 

Instead of greeting your guests with a bland “please sign in,” you offer them a tantalizing spread of free food. Then, almost as an afterthought, casually mention, “Oh, and by the way, please sign in at the kitchen when you have a moment.” It’s a subtle but effective way to get your guests to take action.

To take it a step further, we instruct the food truck that for buyers and neighbors to get their free food, they to get a raffle ticket. And how do they get that raffle ticket? By signing in on your iPad, of course! It’s a win-win situation. Your guests get delicious food, and you get valuable contact information.

But it’s not just about building your email list. It’s about creating an experience that leaves a lasting impression. We want potential buyers to walk away thinking, “Wow, that was the best open house I’ve ever been to!” And that’s exactly what our food truck open houses achieve.

Quick Tips

So, how do you make it happen? Here are a few tips from our playbook:

  1. Partner with a local food truck that has a stellar reputation and a mouth-watering menu. You want people talking about the food long after they’ve left your open house.
  2. Create a festive atmosphere. Think balloons, music, and a welcoming vibe that makes people want to stick around and mingle.
  3. Don’t forget the details. Have plenty of business cards on hand, along with flyers and brochures that showcase the home’s best features.
  4. Follow up, follow up, follow up. After the event, reach out to every single person who attended. Send a personalized thank-you note and keep the conversation going.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking, “This all sounds great, but I’m just starting out. I don’t have the budget for a food truck.” And that’s okay! Start small. Host a catered open house with a local restaurant or bakery. Or even just put out a spread of gourmet cheeses and crackers. The key is to create an experience that sets you apart from the competition.

And if you’re a team lead, don’t be afraid to get in on the action. Hosting a food truck open house alongside your team members shows that you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches with them. It’s a powerful way to lead by example and show your team that no task is beneath you.

Don’t Forget the Neighbors!

Now, you might be thinking, “Why would I want to feed the neighbors? What’s in it for my seller?” Well, let me tell you, inviting the neighbors to your catered open house is a strategic move that can pay off big time for your seller.

Imagine this: You’re at your open house, and in walks Susan, a neighbor from down the street. She’s enjoying the delicious food and mingling with the crowd. Now, here’s the thing. Everyone else at the open house? They’re potential buyers, and they have no idea that Susan is a neighbor. To them, it just looks like a bustling, popular open house. And that’s exactly what you want.

When we have neighbors walk in, we often hear them say, “Thank you so much, but why are you feeding us?” And that’s when we let them in on our little secret. We say, “You know you’re a neighbor, but everyone else here are buyers, and they don’t know that. To them, it’s just a busy open house, and that means a lot of people are interested in the property.”

And that, my friends, is how you create a sense of urgency and desirability around your listing. When potential buyers see a crowded open house, they start to think, “Wow, this home must be something special. Look at all these people here!” That can translate into more offers, a higher sale price for your seller, and ultimately, increased home values for the entire neighborhood.

Many agents complain about “nosy neighbors” coming into their open house, but we see it as a golden opportunity. By building a bond with the neighbors and letting them experience the quality and level of service you provide as a listing agent, you’re laying the groundwork for future business. When the time comes for those neighbors to sell their own homes, guess who they’re going to remember? The agent who made them feel welcome and appreciated at the open house down the street.

In fact, we’ve found that this strategy is so effective, we’re now averaging 2.3 additional transactions from our active listings. That’s right, by going above and beyond for our sellers and their neighbors, we’re not just selling the current listing, but also generating new business for the future.

So, don’t underestimate the power of inviting the neighbors to your catered open house. It’s a win-win-win situation. The neighbors get to enjoy some delicious food, the potential buyers get a sense of the home’s popularity, and your seller? They get the benefit of a competitive, high-price sale. And that’s what we call a recipe for real estate success!

So, there you have it. The ultimate guide to hosting mouth-watering open houses with food trucks. It’s a strategy that’s helped the Fox Homes Team generate a buzz, attract more buyers, and ultimately, sell more homes.

And if you want to dive even deeper into all of my open house secrets, be sure to check out my book, Six Weeks to Real Estate Success, available now on Amazon. It’s packed with even more tips, tricks, and strategies to help you take your business to the next level.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start hosting some mouth-watering open houses! And remember, as real estate agents, we’re not just selling homes. With a food truck open house, you’re giving potential buyers (and future sellers) a taste of the good life.

Happy selling, everyone!