You want potential buyers to be able to imagine living in your house, which includes making them feel comfortable.
Holding an open house can be a great way to draw a lot of potential buyers, but just because you’re ready to sell does not mean your home is ready for the scrutiny of buyers. Here are some open-house ideas to ensure it’s a success.
Depersonalize your home
You want potential buyers to be able to imagine living in your house. That can be accomplished more easily if you remove personal items such as family photos and children’s crayon drawings from the fridge (but hang on to them for the new place!). You also want to remove anything that could be potentially controversial, such as religious items or political knickknacks.
Hide Fido and his swag
Temporarily remove pets during the open house if you can, otherwise, you run the risk of a potential buyer being allergic or fearful of animals. Even if your iguana is confined to a tank, it may scare parents with their kids who are unfamiliar with the animal. And the same rule applies for pet accessories: Hide that gnawed-up bone out of sight and put away the food bowls so no one accidentally trips on them.
Bring in professional cleaners
If you do own pets (or just feel there’s a lingering odor in your home), have your carpets and ductwork professionally cleaned. Most homeowners don’t realize their home has an odor, since they’re acclimated to it.
Spread the news
Ensure that your house is on multiple listing services and major real estate portals. You can also post info on neighborhood email lists and social media. The old-fashioned methods, such as putting up yard signs and direction signs at neighborhood intersections, can help too.
Throw those curtains open
Let as much natural light into your home as possible by opening all the curtains and blinds. Make sure your windows are clean, so they let in maximum light. Also turn on lamps and lights in all rooms, regardless of whether it’s sunny. You want to present your home as bright and cheerful.
Potential buyers shouldn’t leave empty-handed. Make sure they’ve got info including a brochure or flier with photos of the house and comparable home sales data (if you’re working with a real estate agent, they should cover this for you). Perhaps consider getting a local lender to provide payment info and loan options. Keep in mind that this might be one of many homes they’ll be touring, so that’s a ton of stuff to sort through.
Sweeten the event
Serving cookies and drinks can help break the ice with potential buyers, giving them a chance to stop and chat with the agent or seller. Or if it’s cold outside, most people will appreciate a hot chocolate — not to mention you’ll make a great first impression.
Make your exit
If the real estate agent is organizing your open house, you may not even need to be present. If you’re doing it yourself, you want to maintain a professional aura while being unobtrusive. Let visitors imagine living in the house while being comfortable enough to discuss what they like or don’t like.