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Open House How To

October 11th, 2012 - 10:59 AM

Even though more and more buyers are going online to shop for their ideal home, a ton of value remains with the “old fashioned” open house. There’s just something about actually walking through a home that gets people excited and brings about offers. So, how do you have a successful open house? This Open House How To, outlines the preparation, promotion and execution of a successful open house – whether you’re using a realtor or selling your home on your own.

Open House Preparation
You’ll definitely want to organize and clean before your open house. Buyers will open cabinets and closets, so make sure to organize and clean every nook and cranny – baseboards, tops of cabinets, ceiling fans, light fixtures etc. If you have pets, make sure to remove all pet hair and clean rugs/carpets to remove pet odors.

Once it’s clean, how about a little update? A few new pillows on the couch or a new light fixture in the bathroom can work wonders. Add touch-up paint to any areas that are scuffed or in need of sprucing up. If you have rooms with extremely bold colors, consider painting with a neutral color. Then, de-personalize by putting away some of your family photos and trinkets. Ideally, the buyer will be able to imagine their own belongings and family in the home.

Rooms with less furniture feel larger. So if your home is packed tight or if furniture seems too large for a particular room, consider moving things around or temporary storage. It’s important to show a buyer how they could utilize your home: Have a family room? Stage a fun area – maybe a game of scrabble on the game table. Set your dining room with placemats, etc.

Have you ever seen an episode of Designed to Sell on HGTV? If you haven’t, take a look. You’ll see some great ideas for updating your home make it more likely to sell for more!

One thing to keep in mind: Since you won’t know most of the people walking through your home, it’s a good idea to store things like valuables and prescription medications. Though most people attending open houses have good intentions, you don’t want your home to be a thief’s playground. Lock up items that could easily be carried away.

Once you’re finished cleaning, de-cluttering and updating, do a final walk through. If you’re selling your own home, walk through with a critical eye, or ask a friend to walk through and give suggestions. If you have a realtor, ask them to do a walk-through to point out any recommendations.

Promote your Open House
In order to get people to your open house (and that’s your goal, right?) you’ll need to promote. Start with yard signs – you can get them from your local hardware or big box store. Write the what, when and where on the signs, neatly and boldly, and place them around your area. It’s also a good idea to put an ad in the local newspaper and online classifieds. Then don’t forget to take advantage of social media; tell your friends to tell their friends! You never know who will see your post or tweet!

On the day of your open house, clearly mark the route to your home. Place balloons on signs at each intersection, and mark signs with arrows pointing the way to your house. Make sure potential buyers can find it!  

Open House Execution
If you have a realtor, let them host the open house; most owners are not present while it’s going on. If you’re selling the home yourself, allow guests to tour the house alone. However, don’t ignore them. Welcome them in, give them the highlights and then after they tour, ask if they have questions. Make sure to have paperwork available that shows home repairs (or other details about the home), and don’t forget to also have the paperwork ready for making an offer. You just never know!

Make sure you’ve done the following on Open House Day:

  • Type up a sign-in sheet to collect names and numbers of guests (you can contact them at a later date to ask if they have questions about the home).
  • Secure all valuables and prescription medications.
  • Open blinds and turn on the lights.
  • Play soft music.
  • Put pets outside or in a crate.
  • Prepare fliers with information about the house and photos and give to each visiting family.
  • Set out refreshments, like cookies and punch.
  • Place a trash can in an area where potential buyers can easily see it, so trash doesn’t pile up from refreshments.

We hope this Open House How To guide helps you have a successful open house!

Once your house sells and you need to move cross country, remember U-Pack! It’s the self-move option more and more families are using to save money moving! Have questions? We’ll be happy to help – just leave a comment below.