Most people seem to agree that we are currently in a seller’s market, and most reasonably priced homes are almost flying off the shelves. Even so, holding an open house is one of the best things you can do to give your home the visibility it needs to attract potential buyers. Below are some tips and advice to help you have as successful an open house as possible.
NINE OPEN HOUSE TIPS
- First impression: Depending on your personal situation, you may be selling a house that is fairly new or up-to-date. On the other hand, you may be selling a house that has been in the family for 30 or more years and is in need of cosmetic repairs or updates. In either case, you want to make sure that the first impression that potential buyers get is a good one. At the very least, you should do your best to make sure that the exterior is as clean and presentable as possible. Simple things such as basic landscaping or a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your open house.
- Keep it clean: This should go without saying, but your house should be as clean as possible. It may just be human nature, but it is very easy to notice dirty corners, window sills and blinds, walls, etc. Especially if you are not going to stage your home during the open house, these dirty spots will become extra noticeable. If it is within your budget, it is recommended that you hire a Molly Maid or other similar service to clean your home before the open house. This same theory also applies with furniture and your personal items. If you are still living in your home, try to keep your furniture and other items as organized as possible. You don’t want a lot of clutter during your open house, as this may distract potential buyers from the house itself.
- Staging: If you are still living in your home, this will be less of an issue, but you may want to consider staging your home if it is vacant. While there are differing opinions on whether staging increases the prices you will get for your home, most experts seem to agree that at the very least it will increase the appeal of a vacant home. Staging does not come cheap, so I would not consider it a must-have if your budget does not allow it. For sellers still living in the home, HGTV offers some tips on how you may want to stage your own furniture.
- Pets: If at all possible, there should be no pets at home during your open house. Not everyone likes pets in the house, and for those that do, it may distract them from the real reason they are there. If you cannot have someone watch your pet for the few hours of your open house, you want to at least make sure they are confined and causing as little of a distraction as possible.
- Marketing: For those sellers listing their house with a real estate agent, this is where they will be worth their weight in gold. For those of you who are not, you want to make sure that you spread the word about your open house in as many places as possible. Craigslist, social media, and For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sites should all be used to attract the attention of as many people as possible. Make sure to also tell your coworkers, friends, and neighbors, as they may know someone who is looking to buy a home.
- Open House Signs: You want to make sure that people who are looking for your open house can find it, so it is a good idea to post signs pointing the way to your home. Even with GPS available on most phones, you need to take into account potential homebuyers who may not be using it. An additional benefit of open house signs is that you will attract Ventura County residents who did not already know about your open house. Again, the more visibility your open house has, the better.
- Lots of light: Adding light is one of the biggest and easiest tips to do when having an open house. You want to make sure that all of your blinds and curtains are open to let in as much sunlight as possible. You also want to have as many of the lights in the house on as possible, even if it’s the middle of the day. Not only does lighting make your house appear bright, but it also makes it appear cheery.
- Leave handouts. Always make sure that you have brochures or pamphlets for the prospective homebuyers to take with them. If they are really in the market for a home, they are probably visiting more than one open house that day. You want to make sure that they have something to remember your house by when they get home later that day. This is another thing that a good realtor should provide during your open house, but if you are not working with one, you probably want to make and print some out yourself.
- Listen to Opinions: During and after your open house, you want to collect feedback from the visitors and analyze their opinions. Sometimes homeowners get emotionally attached to their homes and do not see things rationally. Not only that, but serious homebuyers will likely have seen more than one house and can give you a feel of how your home compares to others on the market. If you get one or more offers within a day or two of the open house, this may not be much of an issue. However, if you did not get the results that you were looking for, you may want to go over all of the feedback you received and see if there is a common theme. If multiple people are voicing the same concern, you probably want to think seriously about addressing whatever that concern may be. Obviously some things cannot be changed or fixed, such as the location of the house, so these things may have to be rectified by adjusting the asking price accordingly.