Open houses in real estate sales are not a thing of the past. Many successful transactions occur because a home has been opened up for show in a more casual manner than scheduling an appointment with a real estate agent for a personal tour. How do you prepare for a flawless open house? By following these suggestions:
Make a good impression: Freshen up the landscaping and exterior paint. If your budget allows, consider purchasing a new garage door, mailbox, exterior doors, and even decorative house numbers. Sweep off the driveway and walkways and relocate cars out of the driveway or from in front of the house.
Clean, clean, clean: If necessary, hire a professional, but it is imperative that you get your home in pristine condition prior to the open house date. "Pristine" includes washing the windows and having carpets cleaned.
Remove personal items: The goal is to have potential homebuyers walking through the house picturing their belongings, their photos on the wall, their sculpted art in the corner...and that's difficult to do with your family portraits, kids' crayon sketches, and sports awards in those spaces. De-personalize as many areas of the home as possible while keeping the home livable for you and your family.
Remove pets, if possible: Dogs, cats or any other pets should neither be seen nor heard (nor smelled) during the open house. If it is impossible to remove pets from the home, we suggest relocating or confining them to a less-trafficked area. And be sure to notify your agent where the pets are located.
Spread the word: When you work with an EB Real Estate agent, your home will be listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as well as many other real estate portals for the general public to view. We also share your home listing and advertise scheduled open houses on up to 8 social media sites (including Facebook, Instagram, LInkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and Yelp!), as well as on the EB Real Estate website. We encourage our sellers to share those social media posts on their personal pages, through emails, or private messages to friends, family and neighbors. We always want to do what we can to bring in as much foot traffic as possible, and partnering with the home seller increases the number of people made aware of the open house event.
Put up signs: In addition to sticking a sign in the front lawn, ask your agent to also place signs at nearby major intersections to help direct potential buyers to the house. If people can't find the house, they certainly won't attend the open house event.
Let there be light: Open curtains and blinds to allow natural light to flood every possible room. The goal is to make the home as warm, bright and inviting as it can be.
Protect your belongings: Either remove or secure any valuables. Unfortunately your agent will not be able to be beside every prospective buyer at once, so while depersonalizing the home, be smart about what gets left out in plain sight.
Stay in the background: If you are at the property during the open house, respect the professionalism of the real estate agent you've signed on to work with by remaining as unobtrusive as possible. Your absence allows visitors to freely imagine themselves living in the house and discuss any flaws found without fear of offending you.
Listen to feedback: One valuable takeaway from an open house is receiving feedback on the price point and features of the home. If the neighbors think it's overpriced - it probably is. Discuss all collected information with your real estate agent immediately and make any necessary adjustments.
Source: Money.usnews.com; Karin Barga, REALTOR®