Spring is in the air. Traditionally, this is when the real estate season kicks off in earnest. It’s also a great time to host an open house if you are planning on selling your home. Buyers are eager to get out and check out prospective homes in person. Open houses give them the opportunity to potentially see several homes in an afternoon.
There are a few extra steps you need to take to prepare for an open house above and beyond your normal readiness for prospective buyer visits. Taking these actions will help ensure you get the best impact from a real estate open house.
When to have it
The first step is to choose a day and time. Be aware of what is happening around the area and in similar price ranges. Buyers like to take in several homes in a day, so being aware of other open houses will help ensure you maximize visitors. You may also consider shifting the time of your open house so that it occurs an hour or two later than others. This way you are more likely to be toward the end of their day and more likely to stick in their mind after an exhausting day of house shopping.
Another important step to a successful open house is to advertise. The regular advertising you have currently will not be enough. You need to spread the word that you are having an open house on a particular day, and at a particular time. Of course you’ll want to put an open house add on with all of your yard signs, but that is only the start. Adding additional yard signs will help increase the attention for this special event.
You’ll also want to make sure you have online advertising. Most buyers start their research online, so make sure your open house is listed with local online outlets as well as real estate specific sources. Even sites like Craigslist and other free classified sites are an important tool in reaching prospective buyers.
Depending on the market you are trying to reach with this property, you may want to use other outlets as well. Radio, newspaper, bulletin boards, and mailers are all potential advertising outlets depending on who your target buyer is. If you don’t get in front of them in as many ways as possible, you will not have a successful showing.
Be sure and invite the neighbors as well. While they are probably not in the market for a home, they are an important asset in selling your home. They likely know people that are in a similar target market and can help spread the word to friends and relatives. They can also be important to the listing agent as they are potential future buyers and sellers. Getting to know them and the neighborhood can help with future transactions for the agent.
Set the stage
When preparing your house for show, make sure you pay even more attention to detail than you would for a normal showing. Buyers are likely viewing multiple houses and yours needs to stand out. Remove family photos as well as religious and political items. You want the potential buyer to be able to visualize the home as theirs and not be distracted by your personal preferences. Also if you spend some extra time cleaning windows, hosing down decks, and pulling weeds, it is likely to pay off in the end.
Establish the rules
Since you are likely to have many strangers in your home during this time, it’s important to have ground rules established. This is important for both safety, and for maintaining your home’s condition. Make sure that every guest signs in and that they provide an i.d. for verification. Request that the restrooms not be used. Require that each guest/couple have an escort to show them through the home. Of course you’ll also want to make sure any valuables and medications are safely stowed out of site during the open house time.
Even in the age of online photo albums and video tours, there is still nothing like seeing a space first hand. Open houses are still an important tool for real estate agents, home sellers, and buyers. Make sure and get the most out of yours and benefit from a quicker sale to the right buyer.
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