As a real estate agent, it’s a given that you know all about your city and your market — you know the different neighborhoods, you know the hot spots, you know the different needs of buyers. One thing many miss, however, is that the way you’re staging your open houses and promoting them is likely preventing over 25% of possible buyers from ever coming through those doors.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 Americans (that’s 61 million adults) have some form of disability. For those whose business depends on being easily accessible to clients, ignoring this fact can be detrimental to your bottom line. To take things one step further, accessibility doesn’t just mean including ramps for those with physical limitations, it means taking all of your advertising (website included) into consideration.
Consider the Scope of Disability
You’d be hard-pressed to find another change you could make to your open houses that has the potential to boostyour open house traffic by up to 25% across the board. By paying attention to the 61 million people in the disabled community, you could be well on your way. The simple truth is that an entire demographic might be completely missing your open houses because you’re not being accessible. In short, it doesn’t matter how much appeal the house has, how hot the market is, or how nice of a day it is — if you aren’t catering to the disabled, you can expect to be missing out on potential visitors.
Sowhat does it really mean to have an accessibly staged open house in 2021?
Stage the House Thoughtfully
We’ll start by acknowledging that in some ways you are limited in what you can do to alter a house your showing – some houses have stairs, or uneven surfaces that aren’t going to change.However, with that said, small changes can make all the difference and they will get you in the good graces of any disabled prospects. A few things to get you started:
- Most houses have at least one step to get in the front door. It can be relatively affordable to bring a small ramp with you to cut this obstacle out.
- You can also provide navigational cues throughout the house to assist those that might be easily confused or flustered.
- Your signs promoting the open house as well as any flyers you pass out should have a very large and legible font. Stick to black letters over a white background to make it easier to read. This will help both the visually impaired and everyone who’s passing the sign fast in a car.
- Have ideas ready for how a house can be altered. Consider all disabilities and have some ideas in mind for how the house may be able to be fixed-up to meet someone’s needs. Unfortunately, those with disabilities are used to having to customize their homes, so if you can be prepared with some prices and ideas (hopefully affordable), it could help make the prospective buyer feel more confident and understood by you, the agent.
Just these changes alone open the door to many that otherwise wouldn’t want to fight against these obstacles.
Advertise Your Open Houseon Accessible Websites
As the world transforms digitally, we’re sure that you’ve moved most, if not all, of your marketing to online channels. In that case, you need to think about web accessibility.
Web accessibility refers to user interface design changes that need to be made to websites and ads in order for them to be accessible to people with various disabilities. Otherwise, people who rely on assistive technologies to navigate websites won’t be able to do so.
The list of changes you need to make to your site and advertising for them to be accessible can be daunting, so we recommend a service that stays up to date with new changes and takes care of the coding work for you to ensure even as your website changes, it remains accessible.
Automated accessibility solution accessiBe is a leader in the industry. Theymake it simpleto get your website up to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standardsand they ensure it remains that way by scanning for newly added content to fix every 24 hours.
Making sure your online promotion is accessible is an important first step to take, because if someone with a disability can’teven navigate your online listing, then you’ve ruined your chances of getting them to the open house. You can learn more about what exactly makes a website accessible here.
In the end, there is a real financial incentive to being as inclusive as possible at your next open house, both at the showing and in your digital advertising of the listing. This is the future of successful open houses in 2021!