Having an Open House for marketing the sale of your home or real estate property is a necessity. Knowing how to pull it off to make a great first impression on your prospective buyers is an art.
In this article, I’m going to share with you some important open house tips for selling your home with a Realtor (real estate agent) or as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). If you pull off a successful open house in the right market, you’ll have people fighting with multiple bids to buy your property.
Think of the following list of tips as a checklist of items. Most will apply to you and some will not. Preparing for an open house can be a challenge, but it will be super easy if you get organized first.
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Realtor Is Present
I’m not sure why I even have to write this, but absolutely make sure the Realtor is present at the open house. I’ve been to countless open houses where no one could find the real estate agent or the seller; the people viewing the home thought I was the Realtor!
This type of behavior is a huge disservice to the homeowner and is unacceptable for them to earn a commission. This kind of real estate agent will do just fine in a booming real estate market. But they’ll be out of a job when the real estate market slows down.
If you’re doing a For Sale By Owner, then you should absolutely be there since your the person showing the home.
Tip #2: Keep The Home Clean
You will want to make sure your house is in spic and span condition for the open house. After all, this is where people are going to have the opportunity to get a one-on-one view of the property.
Your home should be dust-free, organized, picked-up and the floors kept clean. You should clean it often as needed. Especially if it’s been on the market for a while and lots of people have been walking through it.
I’m not a big fan of having white carpet or dark hardwood floors in my home. But if you are the floors will get dirty very quickly. I would absolutely provide hospital booties for people to put on before walking onto either white carpet or dark hardwood.
It will be a big help keeping that floor clean!
Tip #3: Stage The Home With Quality Furniture and Decorations
Free the house of any clutter, stage beautiful furniture, and, if needed, get help from a home decorator. If the house is vacant, stage it with rental furniture to make it feel warm and inviting.
Make sure that the windows and shades are open to allow for natural light. This will really make the home stand out to the buyer.
If you have lots of family or personal photo decorations on the walls, you’ll want to hide them. I’m not sure if it’s psychological, but it seems to make it hard for prospective buyers to envision their family photos and decorations on the walls. They’re unable to build that emotional connection with the home.
Don’t overfill the home either. For example, don’t put a big bed in a small room. Or set the biggest table you can find in a dining room that is already cramped for leg room. Stage the furniture in such a way to compliment the home’s layout so you can easily walk between things.
Sell the buyer the vision of what it will be like moving their own furniture in the home. Show them how everything can fit nicely and look great!
Tip #4: Bake Cookies
Bake cookies. It may sound a little silly, but the smell of freshly baked cookies from the oven will create a lovely smell throughout the home.
It will create a real homey experience for potential buyers who picture themselves living in that space. Not to mention, it gives them a tasty snack!
Don’t want to bake cookies? Then try brownies! Or buy some Yankee cookie scented candles instead. Or any other home friendly scent. It’s all about using smell to help the buyer build an emotional connection to the house.
Tip #5: Remove All Valuables
Be careful about leaving out any expensive items such as small electronics, gold, jewelry, etc. It may be too difficult for you or your Realtor to watch out for theft constantly.
Designate a place where these types of items can be locked up or secured away from roving eyes. A safe is perfect, just make sure it’s out of site. Or a safety deposit box at your local bank is a good idea too.
For dangerous items like Guns, a gun lock and safe should absolutely be used. Also, keep those out of site.
For larger items that require two or more people to move it’s doubtful it will be targeted for theft. Such as kitchen appliances, TV’s, Furniture, or heavy power tools in the garage. I think someone would notice an Oven missing or a TV walking out the door!
Tip #6: Keep The Curb Appeal Up
Curb appeal is very important. Maintain the lawn by keeping it mowed every week. The plants should be trimmed, and trees should not be overgrown.
Definitely get a gardener to help you out. Unless you have the time to do it yourself. If you have a big yard and lots of clean up to do it’s probably not worth your time, to be honest. I’d have your realtor or neighbor recommend a reputable gardening company.
If your neighbors have junky cars on the street or nearby politely ask them to move them away from your house or property! Junky vehicles make curb appeal awful!
Tip #7: Open House Signs
Make sure your open house signs are clearly displayed on all main streets. They should direct people on how to find your property quickly. There is nothing worse than when signs are pointing in weird directions, or there is not enough of them.
If someone else is having an open house that day and the signs look the same, it will detour the buyer, and they might just give up trying to find your home and go someplace else. Especially if you send your prospective buyers in a circle driving around the neighborhood trying to find your place.
Windy days can blow signs over too, so keep that in mind!
Tip #8: Use Online Realtor Sites To Get The Word Out (Use Craigslist Too!)
Don’t forget to use technology to help you get the word out. Lots of apps and sites like Zillow and Redfin have portals to help you advertise your open house. Don’t overestimate the power of Craigslist either!
Write a descriptive ad to get the buyers to come by. Sound friendly, welcoming, and advertise the cookies if you made some! Seriously.
Post photos that show off the best parts of your home. Especially the front and back yards, kitchen areas, and bathrooms.
Tip #9: Pets
If you have pets, try to keep them confined to a particular area, so they don’t interfere or cause any disruptions. Some people like cats and some people are allergic to them. If a prospective buyer feels allergic and miserable in your home during the open house, they’ll leave.
Dogs are cute, but some people are terrified of them if they are big and bark a lot. If you have a dog that likes to bark a lot, maybe you can get them out of the house for the day. Especially since people might want to see every square inch of the house including the backyard.
Tip #10: Don’t Be Afraid To Get A New Real Estate Agent
If your real estate agent is not doing the open house properly make sure you address the issue right away with them. Open Houses should be pretty straightforward and not too hard to screw up if you follow the basic tips in this article.
Depending on the agreement you have with the realtor it might be hard to part ways. Make sure you clearly state with them that if they fail to show up to the open house or send a realtor who is not qualified to fill their place. It could breach the agreement you have with them.
Not every realtor may agree to those terms, but the good ones should.
During the open house, you’re giving potential buyers a first-hand peek inside your home. You want to present it well to bring in the highest offer possible.
The quicker your home sales after it’s listing, the higher the price you can expect to get. Make sure the open house goes well, and your realtor does a good job showcasing your home; otherwise it might cost you later.