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An open and shut case?
Wednesday, September 8, 2010 • Posted September 7, 2010 10:00 PM

There’s a bit of debate about holding an open house when you’re attempting to sell your home. Some agents and sellers think it works, some don’t. The debate is understandable—there are good arguments on both sides of the table.

If you and your Texas Realtor decide to hold an open house, there are some best practices that he’ll go over with you, but there are some things you should know going in to the event.

Get out of Dodge

It may seem counter-intuitive, but you should not be around when holding an open house. After all, who knows more about the intricacies of your house than you? The problem is visitors will not feel comfortable if the homeowner is hovering. They may hasten to leave and will definitely talk about the house less—and neither of these are ideal.

Also, you want buyers and other agents talking with your agent—not you. In fact, you should leave the house any time a potential buyer or a buyer representative is there.

Trust me. Leave. Let your Texas Realtor handle the open house.

Adios, Fido and Fifi

Your pets are like family, and much like you, they should be nowhere near an open house. Sorry.

We’re just looking, thanks

Not everyone who shows up is a serious buyer. Some of the people may be other sellers—in other words, your competition. Others may be curious neighbors. Many will be other Realtors.

Shiny shiny

Your house should be clean, staged, and de-cluttered as soon as you put it on the market, but if you hold an open house, you’re going to have to really clean—perhaps even hire a professional service. It may not be clean after the open house because of all the foot traffic, but it’s got to start out that way.

Lock it up

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and there are security concerns. Just as your house should always be clean when it’s on the market, your valuables should always be securely out of sight. This goes double for an open house.

Lock up or take away prescription drugs, jewelry, piggy banks, loose change, cash, small or easily concealable electronics, and other valuables. If you have sensitive paperwork (especially financial papers), lock it in a file cabinet.

This is a great place

Spend some time putting together things you like about your neighborhood—things that might not fit on a listing flier or aren’t evident on a map. Is there a great restaurant or other local business nearby? What about proximity to parks, shopping, public transportation or other area amenities? Give the information to your Texas Realtor and let him sell the neighborhood, too.

Appeal to their senses

You may consider some techniques to appeal to visitors’ senses, like mild candles, flowers, and calming music. It’s also a good idea to open all shades, drapes, and blinds—people want a bright, airy house.

Making the case

Some sellers and real estate professionals think that open houses are a waste of time, but they have certainly worked in the past or they would have long been abandoned as a viable method for selling a home. And really, why would you ignore any method that might possibly work?

For me, the biggest argument in favor of holding an open house is that it’s another opportunity to increase the visibility of your home—so what if it’s just Realtors and neighbors who attend? Realtors have clients and know other industry professionals with clients. Your neighbors have friends and family who may want to move to the area.

Also, if your home differs greatly from other homes in the area—like major renovations or unique selling points—an open house is a fantastic way to start a buzz.

Another advantage may be to get some fresh eyes on the property. Getting feedback from as many people as possible is a good thing. Your Texas Realtor should take note of the comments and pass them on to you.

When you and your Texas Realtor are going over the marketing of your home, discuss the pros and cons of holding an open house. If you decide to go for it, take care of the little details.

For more tips and information, please visit TexasReal Estate.com., the online source for consumer friendly information about real estate in the Lone Star State.

For your real estate needs, please contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000.

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