These days, with many homebuyers searching for their new homes online, many people wonder about the effectiveness of an open house. While some consider open houses to be an outdated practice, it can actually be a rather effective tactic, if done correctly. Here are 8 ways to make sure your open house is a success.
1. Stage Your Home
Staging your home is a critical step that allows anyone walking into your home to imagine themselves living there. When you stage your home, it should be a neutral environment. While it may be difficult to do, declutter your home and depersonalize it, removing personal items (such as family photos). Remove anything that might be considered controversial. Take the time to clean up. Steam clean carpets (which freshens them and removes odors). Pick up area rugs to show off wood flooring. Clean counters, sinks, and cabinets. Leave on the lights. You may want to consider a fresh coat of paint as well.
2. Take Advantage of the Internet
Since homebuyers are on the web anyway, utilize the internet to advertise your open house! There are some real estate sites (like Zillow) on which you can post your open house for free. Real estate agents have the advantage of being able to advertise your open house on other popular real estate sites as well. When you post, make sure you have plenty of high-quality pictures to go along with the information.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Signs
Even though many people rely on GPS to get where they need to go, never underestimate the power of “Open House” signs. And don’t be afraid to place several, helping potential buyers to easily find your house (especially if you are located off of a main road). Your open house signs may even attract potential buyers who may just be driving by and haven’t seen your house online. You never know who will see your home as their dream home.
4. Invite the Neighbors
Oftentimes, people get irritated by nosy neighbors. Your open house is exactly the time you want them to be checking out your home. Invite your neighbors to your open house. They may know of someone looking to move to the area (family, friend, or otherwise), and may be willing to recommend your home to them. Think of them almost as your scouts. Nosy neighbors will be the first to tell their friends about the amazing kitchen counters or bathroom remodel that you had done months ago. Consider sending your neighbor's personal invitations or fliers. Or, if you prefer, send an email or personalized electronic invitation.
5. Lock Up Valuables
Before allowing potential buyers into your home, make sure you secure your valuables (and any medication). Even though you might like to think that everyone entering your home is there as a potential buyer, thefts can happen. Pharmaceutical theft is one of the biggest. Make sure your medicine cabinets are clear. Dispose of any medications you no longer need and lock up the ones that are in use (or take them with you). Also, be sure to lock up anything else that may tempt someone, such as jewelry, cash, credit cards, or one of a kind knickknacks.
7. Take Off
With a real estate agent helping you sell your home, there is no reason for you to be present during your open house. In fact, it may be more beneficial if you take off. Pack up the kids, and the pets (if you have any) and go for a drive, visit with friends/family, or head to the park. This will lessen the stress on potential buyers, and help them to feel as though they can speak freely and candidly with the agent. If you can, take your pets items with you (dishes, litter box, etc.). If not, make sure they are spotless.
8. Leave Informational Packets
Make sure you leave informational sheets for potential homebuyers to take home with them. If they are looking at multiple houses, having information easily accessible about your home will help them to more easily recall it. Consider such things as property details, community information, and information regarding the school district.
9. Provide Some Treats
Providing freshly baked treats has two advantages. One, it creates an inviting, enticing aroma, and two, your potential buyers have a delicious snack to enjoy while they tour your home. With a special treat, potential buyers are sure to remember your property.