Some things are blatantly obvious when preparing for an open house.
- The home should be spotless.
- Use higher wattage light bulbs.
- Pack as if you’re moving – you will be – and clear out closets, laundry rooms, cupboards, pantry, storage areas, and garage to make the spaces seem larger.
- Minimize clutter on table tops and counters in kitchen and baths.
- Kennel or crate animals, or, better yet, take them with you for the afternoon when possible.
- Maximize curb appeal.
- Make windows, mirrors and glass gleam.
- Let the sunshine in – open drapes and blinds.
- Remove any trip hazards.
- Lock up prescription medications (you just never know).
You want visitors to engage with the house – see themselves enjoying the features and comforts it provides. Of course, no list of Do’s would ever be complete without its accompanying list of Don’t’s such as:
Don’t attend your open house. Buyers don’t want to worry about offending the owner with very pointed and critical questions, but those questions have to be asked.
Don’t hang around your open house pretending to be a potential buyer. You could drive away people who might actually make an offer.
Schedule your open house at a normal time. In most markets, that’s Sunday afternoon. People who go to open houses usually like to visit several – it’s expedient.
Don’t dismiss your neighbors. Embrace them. Your neighbors can be good assets because they may know people who want to live in the neighborhood and can tell their friends about your property. Ask your agent to invite them to your open house and offer flyers they can pass along.
A little hospitality goes a long way. But don’t go overboard. People are there to see the house after all. Provide cool drinks on a hot day to make buyers more comfortable. It could actually motivate them to stay longer and see more of the house.
When considering the timing of listing your home on the market, when possible, consider seasons. What time of year will highlight its best features?
A roaring fireplace in winter or beautiful spring blooms may help you get a better offer.
When your property is being shown the showing agent should have full access to the property, including outbuildings. Unless safety is an issue, you should not make any rooms, closets, or areas off-limits to potential buyers.
Finally, there’s price. Do your best to remove emotion from the process of selling your home. Have your agent do a market analysis of the property and study it closely. If you want the home to move quickly, price it accordingly. I’m not saying under price it (but there’s some strategy to that).
Are bidding wars between potential buyers common in your market? If so, use that to your advantage. Trust your agent. Ask what’s happening with similar homes in your area. If it’s been a while since you listed your home, ask for a fresh market analysis.
Oh, and dress your front door! For your open house, I mean. There’s a science to it.
I’d love to help you with your real estate needs! Call any time.