Setting up an open house is an excellent way to attract homebuyers who may have been unsure up to that point. The sight of an inviting sign can get many reluctant buyers to change their minds. The principle at work is no different than the one that retail store designers use to bring buyers in the door. Open houses, in addition, can also bring in people who are ready to buy but have looked elsewhere for whatever reason, and those who know friends who are looking.
As useful a sales tool as open houses can be, they only tend to work on prospective buyers when applied correctly. If you’re committed to doing everything right, here are tips from Entwistle Green, the premiere real estate firm, to work on.
Generate interest around the event
When a community has been properly prepared for an open house event, there is considerable interest generated. While it is technically possible for a seller to generate some interest with a smattering of DIY PR, most sellers find that it’s a job for a professional. Listing with a real estate agent that you trust is the first step to making a success of your open house event. Not only do well-connected agents attract eyeballs with a well-chosen price point and some PR, they put word out to thousands of potential buyers on their database to stir up interest, as well.
You need to make sure to attract the right kind of buyer
In some cases, too much interest is the problem that a seller faces. While it might seem like a good thing, excessive interest usually only means that one’s promotional efforts have ended up targeting the wrong kind of audience — ones with little intention of buying. Experienced real estate agents work to prevent such unwanted attention by running the names of interested parties on a database to check for genuineness. It’s an important step. Sellers hardly want their time wasted by people with no ability to buy. Such vetting can also ensure that open house visitors with criminal intent (they do exist) are kept away.
Presentation is everything
Presenting a home in the best possible light does make a difference. There is a lot more to showing a home well than to clean it up a bit (even if that’s important, as well). It takes preparation in the form of at least a few upgrades and renovating touches. You may need to invest in repairs all around, new curtains and new paint. You need to make sure that people coming into view your open house do not come across squeaky doors, windows that stick, siding that’s rotted or appliances that don’t work.
Right before the open house event, a thorough cleaning of everything from the hardwood floors to the kitchen, the bathrooms, the cupboards, the driveway, the garage and the landscaping will make sure that your home looks its best. You can even decide to spring for a couple of new appliances and a little quick landscaping with new flowering plants to spruce everything up.
Don’t leave memories behind
As seller, it’s important that you do everything possible to help potential buyers imagine themselves in the house. In many cases, this requires moving every sign of your home’s association with you. From the cars in the garage to the pictures on the wall, or signs and posters to do with politics or religion, it should go. It should be your aim to present to potential buyers a blank canvas that they can paint any way they want.
Make sure there are no secret areas
Many sellers resent the idea of having to allow visitors the run of their house. They tend to set aside a room as private, and out of bounds. In general, any real estate agent will discourage such practices. Buyers need to feel welcome in the home that they consider. Being kept out of places is hardly a way to make someone feel at home.
It is even a good idea to leave, yourself
Buyers tend to prefer dealing with third-party agents over homeowners. Not only does being around the seller make it hard for potential buyers to imagine their own family in the home, it makes it hard for them to ask pointed questions or offer constructive criticism.
Experienced real estate agents usually ask that homeowners not be present on the day. Sellers who trust their agents usually do take them on their word.
Louise Fletcher worked as a real estate agent for many years, and has been in the real estate industry all her working life. She is very experienced on a number of property topics and enjoys sharing that knowledge around the web.