Have you ever walked in to an open house and wondered what that smell was? Or wondered why you keep tripping over children’s toys? Many sellers believe that open houses are an effective way to market their home. And they can be – if done properly. But it’s more than just picking up the clutter and airing out the odors. If you’ve never held or been to an open house, this column is for you. As a seller, you’ll learn what to do and what not to do. And buyers will gain insight into what to expect at an open house.
Types of open houses
There are two types of open houses – one is for real estate professionals and the other is for the general public. The purpose of an open house for agents is to introduce the new listing to other area Realtors. This can be a very effective marketing tool. Most serious buyers work closely with an agent to find the right home. So the more agents who know about the listing, the bigger your chance of finding a qualified buyer.
The majority of open houses are for the general public. While the exposure can be great, you never know who will be dropping by. When a home is open to the public, anyone can stop in for a look. And not everyone is a serious buyer. Some visitors are directed to your open house by signs and may not have much information on the home before they walk in. So while they may be serious about buying, they may not be qualified to purchase what you’re selling.
Getting your house ready
Your Texas Realtor can help you decide if an open house is right for you and can walk you through the process. It’s important to stage your home before holding an open house. You want everyone who walks through that door to see your home in its best light. So open the shades and stage it to sell.
Create some curb appeal –The more appealing a property looks from the outside, the greater chance a potential buyer will choose to drop in.
Clean the house - First, put away anything that will distract buyers from the property, such as personal photos and other knick knacks. Second, scrub the house from top to bottom. Nothing is less appealing than a dirty home.
Freshen it up – A little paint goes a long way to brightening up a room. If you do paint, choose neutral colors. They are much more appealing to buyers.
Eliminate the odors – Pets and cigarettes are the big ones. To alleviate the smells, deodorize upholstery and carpets. Baking soda works wonders for reducing odors. You might also consider burning scented candles. Vanilla is a nice, light fragrance, but don’t go overboard. Too many candles and you’ll drive buyers away. And if you have pets, leave them outside during the open house.
Perform minor repairs – If you can fix it easily, do it. Check for squeaky doors, leaky faucets, faulty lights, etc. If you have repairs that require more work, talk to your Texas Realtor. Your Realtor can help you determine if the repair is worth the cost.
Whether you choose to hold the open house or your agent does, safety is a concern. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your possessions and your property. First, make sure neither you nor your agent work the open house alone. The old adage holds true: there is safety in numbers. Hide any item that has personal information on it, such as mail. Also, be sure to take off site or put in a safe anything that might be considered valuable, as well as prescription medications. To further protect yourself, ask all prospects to sign a register and leave their identification with you as they tour the house. And finally, keep your cell phone handy.
Get the word out
To have a successful open house, buyers need to know about it. There are several vehicles for getting the word out, including taking out a classified ad in your local paper, passing out fliers at nearby businesses and posting signs around the neighborhood. You might also consider a pre-open house for neighbors, family and friends. From a grassroots perspective, this can really work to generate a buzz.
An open house can be an excellent marketing tool for some properties. Your Texas Realtor can help you determine whether an open house should be part of the mix in getting maximum exposure for your home. For more tips on selling your home, I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.
For your Real Estate needs, please contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000.