If hosting a remodeled-home open house can be nerve-wracking, imagine the anxiety that might come with hosting five open houses in one neighborhood, in a two-hour window, on one day.
This happened less than two weeks ago in Fairfax, Va., where Fisher Group, an award-winning design/build company, spent a Sunday afternoon hosting open houses at five homes in Mantua, a modestly upscale suburban neighborhood where the company has become a remodeling fixture during the last 21 years. The event was by invitation-only to the company’s clients and nearby homeowners. Guests had to RSVP in advance, and were asked to sign the guest books at each house.
The result? “We are overwhelmed,” says Peggy Fisher, who runs the company with her husband Ken. “We had a great response and enthusiastic attendees,” she says of the 35 to 40 people who came, asked lots of questions, and several of whom even followed up within days to set up appointments.
Take-aways from Fisher Group’s successful execution:
History: Good member of your community? Work it. For many years, Fisher Group has supported the local PTA and school events, and has sponsored the Mantua directory. Last spring, it sent neighbors a 20-year anniversary mailing. By the time the open house was announced, the company was established in many neighbors’ minds as a reliable community partner.
Openness: That long history also set up some perceptions that the Fishers hoped to address and debunk. “We had recently begun to hear, ‘Oh, yes, Fisher Group is very good, but they are very high-end,” Peggy says. “We have also lost some projects to competitors who claim that they can do the same thing for less.” She and Ken had extended and open conversations with many attendees. There were lots of questions, she notes, but the biggest concerns involved the duration of the construction project. “I don’t think there was a single question about cost,” Peggy says.
Respect: Out of respect for the homeowners’ privacy, the company closed off parts of the homes, which had not been remodeled, and gave guests booties to wear to protect the floors, in addition to limiting entrance to invited guests only.
More broadly, the open house was also a chance to demonstrate Fisher Group’s respect for Mantua’s solid but low-key architecture and hilly, landscaped lots. Some of the neighborhood’s original homeowners were on the tour “and were so grateful that we had respected their neighborhood all these years -- doing quality work, not tearing down and building McMansions,” says Sabrina Blowers, a Fisher Group employee and also a featured homeowner. “I had some very interesting conversations!”
Less than two weeks after the event, the company is still following up with attendees, all of whom received a takeaway package of information about Fisher Group. “The energy was fabulous,” Blowers says.