There is disagreement among realtors as to the true value of holding an open house. In some areas, it’s simply an impracticality, especially if a home is isolated in a remote, rural location. Some people distrust them as mere excuses for agents to grow their client lists. For others, an open house can be a good gauge of how much buyer interest you can expect from your house. The truth is that open houses are still an effective means of marketing your home by generating sales leads and expanding prospective buyer networks through word of mouth. If you’ve decided to stage your home for an open house, there are certain things you need to do to show off its best features and encourage prospective buyers to follow up on what they see.
Before scheduling an open house, go through your home with a realtor. Ask her what steps you need to take and seek advice on pricing. Consider holding an agent/broker open house to get the ball rolling. You’ll get lots of good advice about fixing up your house and how best to stage it for maximum appeal.
Buyers like a space with plenty of flow, a place they can easily envision making their own. Spend some time decluttering your interior. Clean out loose items and move out any furniture that makes it difficult to move freely or which makes your home look smaller. If you’re planning on taking your refrigerator or some other major appliance when you leave, make sure not to show it at your open house. Otherwise, a buyer could require that it be a condition of sale.
Your little dog might be the cutest thing in the whole neighborhood, but potential buyers aren’t likely to feel that way. They’ll see a potential cause of damage to carpeting, baseboards and doors, and a source of accumulated hair. It’s likely to make most buyers think twice before considering purchasing your home. Make arrangements ahead of time to board your pet or to leave him with a friend or family member whenever you’re showing your house. Don’t forget to remove any photos of your dog playing at the dog park or under the Christmas tree in your living room. Remember, you want to remove any possible distractions when showing off your home.
The nose knows
Virtually every home has what people call that “lived-in” smell. That can mean many things. Unfortunately, it sometimes means a deep-rooted smell that makes people wince and curl up their noses. When planning an open house - especially if you have pets - it’s a good idea to have someone walk through and let you know if there are any aromas a buyer might find unpleasant. If there are, chances are you stopped noticing them a long time ago. Have your carpet cleaned professionally, and give the house a good airing out. If odors persist, try some natural remedies. Try laying out bowls of vinegar or coffee beans, which can help absorb bad smells.
Remember to cover over any imperfections in your walls or doors, and consider adding a coat of fresh paint (neutral colors work best) to your entryway or foyer. Make sure your storage space is well ordered and cleaned out. Buyers will look into every closet and corner, so don’t neglect this space.
Most realtors will tell you that curb appeal is absolutely essential if you’re serious about attracting buyers. A house with a patchy lawn, overgrown bushes and an exterior with chipped paint will almost certainly turn off passersby and cause them to head down the street looking for other “For Sale” signs. Try planting flowers and shrubs to add color to your landscaping. And always make sure your yard is well kept and the front of your house in good shape.
A vital tool
The open house remains a vital sales tool for realtors and home buyers, the real estate equivalent of kicking the tires on a new car. You can do yourself a big favor by listening to your realtor’s advice and staging your house carefully inside and out. Be honest with yourself, and try looking at your home objectively, through a buyer’s eyes.
Credit to Paul Denikin | paul@dadknowsDIY.com | Dadknowsdiy.com