Let me begin by saying, I do believe there is value in holding open house!
To be sure, you will be converged upon by a few neighbors, and others who just enjoy the entertainment of viewing homes they may never be interested in buying. BUT you also gain exposure and allow people to appreciate the inherent value of the home vs sitting in front of a computer looking at photos trying to interpret the scale.
Since we know that 90% of buyers begin their search on the internet, and Open Houses are posted not only in MLS but on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc, one should expect real buyers to show up to experience the home.
A major benefit as well; you get to control the showing, the timing, the mood of the home. This is your chance to focus the market on the best features of the home.
I suggest the following to make the most out these productive opportunities.
- PACK IT Trust your realtor, when they suggest you pack some items, PLEASE DO! If you are not feeling like you get what they mean (sellers often don’t) then let your agent walk through and edit the decor. You are going to be moving so the efforts are not wasted to pre-pack a little bit. It is not a personal attack on your collection of pepper mills, or family photos. The goal is to open as many surfaces as possible so the mind remembers a home of s p a c i o u s n e s s! I enjoy rearranging and editing for clients.
- MOVE IT Remove or rearrange some furniture if advised. Yes, you may need the chair ‘right there’ to watch TV but right now you want to sell your house. Sometimes arranging a room for visual or flow makes it so much more appealing. You may also want to remove some furniture too. Too many sofas, oversized pieces, awkward coffee tables all infringe on the visual planes of the room and just distract your buyer from sensing there is enough room in your square footage. You just want to show it off for the best it can be!
- CURB IT Work on the front yard so it has some character and some color. Great curb appeal makes people more curious about the interior. Clean the entry of all webs, dust, and the like. Put out a new doormat. People stand there before entering and start making assessments about the care and quality of the home immediately.
- CLEAN IT Clean the house from top to bottom. Again, a good exercise before moving. Begin making donations to your favorite charities and you’ll start to feel lighter already.
- SWAP IT If the chandelier does not sell with the house, then take it down and replace it with something inexpensive that works with the room. No sense advertising features that your buyer can’t have.
- PET IT Find a place to take your pets during open house. Put all the pet gear out of sight as well. Be sure you don’t have any lingering pet odors. Neutralize the air with citrus scented candles and/or air fresheners.
- HIDE IT Take any medications out of the bathrooms and put them in a secure place. It is not common but some addicts take advantage of accessible meds and loot homes for pain killers and whatever else. Take the same precautions with your jewelry or other small valuables. I have not had the experience of theft from a clients home, but I am still aware of the potential and don’t provide temptation.
- LEAVE IT Then take yourself to the movies or somewhere but be gone before the first looker arrives! If you do get caught heading out the door just turn to the agent and say “Thanks for the tour, I love it! I’ll be in touch!”
- OPEN IT Open house day, your agent should have plenty of well located signs to easily guide traffic. Also, your agent should be well versed in the local market. Know what’s selling, what’s listed and what the closing prices are.
- SELL IT Good marketing materials with an organized features list, pleasant background music and a helpful, positive attitude are the tools of the trade. Knock Knock!