10 Steps to a Successful Open House
10 Steps to a Successful Open House
Ben and Trish have reached a decision to sell their home, but agreed to give themselves six months to sell their house on their own, without the assistance of a real estate agent. If their home didn’t sell within six months, they would then enlist the help of a realtor. Their next-door neighbor John sold his house in two months without an agent. When Ben and Trish asked him what his secret was, John told them he believed it was because he had hosted a successful open house.
This made Ben and Trish realize they needed to host an open house too.
What is an Open House?
Basically, it’s an event that you host where you invite the public (or select individuals if you want to go that way) to come to your home in hopes of stirring interest and attracting potential buyers. A good real estate agent will suggest that you host an open house, but you don’t need an agent to have one. It’s something you can do on your own, if you know how.
Here are 10 steps to a successful open house:
1. Make a party of it. If you’re excited, everyone else will be. Don’t stress over it too much, and remember to have fun. It’s a good way to show off the best features of your home.
2. Advertise. If you don’t put up signs, alert the media (newspaper, radio, social media, real estate listing websites), no one will know about it, and no one will come. This is probably your first and best chance for potential buyers to see your home. If you don’t take it seriously, no one else will. Set aside a portion of your budget for advertising that will have a long reach.
3. Clean your house from top to bottom. Everyone likes a clean home, and you’ll want to make a good impression on those wanting to buy. If you’re too busy to clean because of work or family obligations, or if it just seems too overwhelming to you, hire someone to clean for you. This means even the attic or basement, if you have them. Remember, potential buyers will look everywhere.
4. Clean the outside of your home. People coming to your open house will see the outside of your house, yard, driveway, landscaping, etc., before they ever see the inside. This is called curb appeal. Make sure your home has a fresh coat of paint, repairs taken care of, lawn manicured, everything looking picture perfect.
5. Serve food and drinks. This helps lighten the mood, puts people in a mingling kind of spirit, and gets people chatting—hopefully about your house.
6. Enlist the help of a friend to host the open house for you. If you’re elsewhere, it will put attendees at ease and they will feel more comfortable asking questions about the home. You can have flyers ready to hand out, but make sure your guest host is briefed on the particulars of your property, should any questions arise.
7. If you decide to host your own open house, be prepared to answer questions. This may sound like a no-brainer, but people who are interested in your home will most likely have numerous questions. About price, square footage, cost of utilities, schools, shopping, employment opportunities, cultural offerings in the neighborhood, places of worship, parks and recreation, etc.
8. Limit traffic. If you don’t want to invite the world, or have a boat-load of people attending, then do a private open house, where you make a list of the guests you want to invite. Let them know they can bring two or three others with them. This way, the guest count is manageable, and you won’t run out of snacks. If you do find an inordinate number of guests interested in coming, good for you. But perhaps you should break the open house up into two or three nights, to accommodate everyone.
9. Give people a sneak peek on the web. Set up a page just for your open house, post a few tantalizing photos, and give info about the event. This will also give you an early idea of how many guests you may have.
10. Stage your home. This is more than just cleaning. It’s making sure your home shows a personality. That personality may be “homey”, “artsy”, “sophisticated”, “lived in”, “comfortable”, “simple”, “family”, “history”, “classic”, “tasteful”, “rustic”, etc. Personality is often achieved with a few pieces of furniture, artwork, rugs, accents, color combination, décor, etc. Let your home speak for itself.
As you can see, having an open house isn’t that hard to do. It can actually be fun. But more importantly, it could be the key to selling your home.
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