It’s almost time for the big day, your first open house. You want it to be a success, but you are not 100% sure how to do it. Don’t worry, we have been selling homes for over 20 years and have done hundreds of open houses. Yes, they can be stressful, but if you prepare for them, they will go smoothly and hopefully(!), you will achieve your goal and get an offer on your house. So, what can you do to prepare, you ask?
We are sure you know the basics – make sure that your house is clean and de-cluttered. We are going to share with you some tips for you take it beyond this and pull in the serious buyers (without them, what is the point of the open house, right?). A lot of these things are things your agent should be doing for you, but it doesn’t hurt to ask them that is being done.
Technology – use it to your advantage. This offers a way to target a lot of people for little time and cost, and most importantly, target buyers. Make sure your agent uses the latest technology to market your house. Agents can advertise open houses on a host of popular real estate sites, such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com, and portals on Yahoo and Google. The biggest thing to know here is to make sure you are listed, and that it has a professional appearance. Pictures are a must. People like to see what they are walking into. By showing more information, you will get a more qualified buyer walking into your open house (they have seen what the house looks like, they know what it has to offer, now they are doing a visual inspection to make sure your online profile is accurate). These buyers have an interest in the home before they even walk into the open house (Good potential buyer!).
Don’t forget to have some printed materials available. Yes, we are so technology driven today that sometimes we don’t think people want printed materials. They do! Not everyone will, but some will. If you don’t have them available, this could be a strike against you. There may be people who do not like to use the internet or may not have access to it. By having printed materials on your house available, you are keeping interested buyers informed.
Don’t forget your Open House and For Sale signs. Sometimes there are people just driving around looking for them, or maybe they are in the neighborhood looking for a house and if you don’t have the signs, you can lose buyers. Also, it is good to point people in the right direction. You don’t want them to drive by and miss your house. Put the Open House signs up a week before your event and lets them know when and where your Open House is. And make sure your agent has advertised it online.
Consider sending invitations to your neighbors, let them know you have an open house. They may have friends or family looking to buy a house, and where would they want them? Close by, most likely. So, use your neighbors to get the word out that you are selling and having an open house.
Choose the time for your open house wisely. Know what others in the area are doing and keep yours open earlier and later. You will not only have less open house competition at those times, but you draw attention to your house. Chances are buyers will hit several open houses the same day. In the beginning, they are excited about all the houses they’re going to see and by the end of the day, if they’re still looking, you will have the last impression in their memory.
A couple of other things to be aware of for the day of your open house are your security and yourself. If you have an agent, don’t be home. When buyers walk into an open house, they want to feel comfortable. When homeowners are there, they don’t feel they can speak freely or as openly as they would like to. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves in the house and talk about how they would redecorate to make it their own space.
Security is a big concern. You are letting total strangers into your house to meander around. This can be scary, but if you think it through ahead of time and plan for it, you will put your mind at ease. Have everyone sign in and show a driver’s license. This way you get true identities if an issue does arise. Ensure you have nothing in medicine cabinets that is worth taking. Cash, jewelry, credit cards, bills, liquor, valuable tchotchkes, and personal electronics all need to be secured as well. Take it with you or lock it up somewhere that people don’t see. Depending on the crowd, agents are not always able to escort people through the house individually.
There are a lot of things that go into making your open house successful. The best thing is to have an experienced agent that knows the ins and outs to do so. The ultimate goal is getting an offer. If your agent sets it up properly, your chances of getting the offer go up significantly.