Open House Tips for Sellers – Why An Open House?
Even in these days of uber-tech availability, not everything can or should be done online. Prospective buyers are going to want to kick the tires – so to speak – on your home, something which can’t be done over the internet. You almost certainly did the same yourself when you bought your home, so expect to host interested buyers from now until the house goes under contract.
This is not to say that an open house is the only thing that will sell your property. In fact, according to many agents, it’s unlikely to ultimately do the trick. However, it’s a necessary part of the process, so approaching it with gusto and a bit of creativity is the way to go.
Check out the competition. Scout out homes that are similar to yours and see how they’re staged, as well as what condition they’re in. This is also a good way to pick up a few tricks-of-the-trade to use with your own open house.
How to Host an Open House
You can’t just fling the doors open on a sunny Sunday and expect people to magically materialize with cash offers in hand. It’s going to take a little bit of work to bring people to your open house, so start as soon as possible.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to prepare a one-sheet describing your property. Remember to include:
- Asking price
- Exterior and interior photos
- Real estate taxes
- Brief property description
- Your contact information
- Local amenities
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Any upgrades
Next, you need to prepare the house itself. You’ve probably heard repeatedly about cleaning, decluttering, and staging – but remember, now this is applicable to you and your situation. Here are a few things to remember:
- Dirt and clutter are huge turn-offs to buyers. If you need to hire someone to help you take care of this, don’t hesitate. (See Clean Up Your Act: Get Your Home Ready to Sell and The Home Seller’s Guide to Decluttering Your House.)
- Maximize your space by smart décor and placement of furniture. Minimalism and neutral tones help vastly in this regard. (You might want to read To Every Room A Purpose: Staging The Smart Way.)
- Does your home need repairs? What are you waiting for? Fix it!
- If your home is dated, bring it into the 21st century. Here’s a hint: take down the wallpaper.
Once your house is ready, it’s time to spread the word about the big event. While you may not have an extensive real estate network to tap into, that shouldn’t prevent you from getting the news out to the right people. A few ways to do this:
- Social media is your friend. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – harness them all. You might want to leave it off LinkedIn, though. (Check out Accelerating Your Home Sale with Social Media.)
- Advertise on the local Multiple Listing Service.
- Post a video tour on YouTube. (See Make Your FSBO Listing Stand Out with Real Estate Videos.)
- Post flyers on local bulletin boards.
- Place a professional-quality sign in your yard.
Pretty soon the big day will arrive – and you’ll feel better prepared.
On Open-House Day …
If you had an agent, you’d probably want to make yourself scarce. Since you’re selling your home yourself, though, buyers will expect to work with you. However, there are a few things from traditional open houses that you’ll want to keep in mind for your purposes as well:
- Pets should be gone for the time that buyers are touring the home. Children, too. Your home should feel relaxed and peaceful. (Nothing against your kids or pets!) You may want to read Pet Owner’s Guide to Selling Your Home.
- Offer simple refreshments, such as cookies and sparkling water (fresh-baked cookies also give your home a comforting, pleasant smell).
- Consider playing classical music in the background. Who says Bolero can’t sell a home?
- Invite guests to take their time touring the home, and make sure everyone has a property description sheet.
- Hide (or remove from the home) personal items such as valuables or medications.
- After the open house is over, follow up through preferred contact information collected through a sign-in sheet. If they want to be contacted through email, don’t call.
Your open house is the perfect opportunity to practice a hands-off approach to how you see your home. You’re selling it, so don’t cling to it. Soon – if you’re lucky – it will belong to someone else.