It was thought that the Internet and virtual tours would make open houses obsolete. However, 50% of homebuyers still use open houses for gathering information according to a 2017 report by the National Association of REALTORS®. While having strangers parade through your home may seem odd, an open house can be a effective strategy  for generating word of mouth, referrals, and attracting buyers who might have never taken the time to schedule a private viewing. A little planning goes a long way, so here are two important questions to ask yourself before your agent holds an open house:

Are you comfortable with your agent’s approach?

  1. Does he or she have good open house manners?  Will they be greeting people at the door or sitting in another room glued to their smartphone? Nobody will admit to the latter, however by now you should have a gauge on your agent’s disposition. Do you consider them friendly, approachable, and reliable? It’s best if you, as the homeowner, are not there during the open house, so you want someone who best represents you. The presence of a homeowner can put pressure on potential buyers and make them clam up, so if you’re planning to stop by, be quick and discreet. If you’re still looking for the right agent, check out other open houses in your area and observe the agents at work. If you like their approach you should consider offering them your business.
  2. Is your agent resourceful?  There are many apps, websites, and social media channels that your agent should be taking advantage of to advertise your open house. Generally speaking, online advertising is budget-friendly and appeals to younger demographics, while print advertising appeals more to older demographics. Your agent should be savvy with technology and understand your market well enough to know the best approach to attract the widest pool of potential buyers to your home.
  3. Is your open house easy to locate?  Nobody wants to get lost on their way to your open house. Remember the last time you drove around the same neighborhood squinting at house numbers and cursing your GPS? Not fun. Several well-placed, eye-catching road signs can help guide prospects and passersby to your home.

Is there anything in your home that might scare off buyers?

  1. Pets.  While your dog or snake is undeniably adorable, consider that home buyers may have allergies, fears, or a dislike of pets. Your best option is to leave your pet with someone you trust during the open house. Even the friendliest pet when you’re at home may become territorial and threatening when you’re out and strangers are present. A barking, intimidating dog says, “Beware” not “Welcome”.  Considering removing pets from  your home during showings, too.
  2. Curb Appeal.  Cleaning and maintaining your window sills, lawn, front door, and roof can enhance the outward appearance of your home and draw viewers in. The condition of your roof has a lot of influence on buyers, and dirt, grime, and especially moss can detract from your home’s perceived value. Be sure to also thoroughly clean the interior.
  3. Unpleasant Odors.  You don’t want buyers holding their breath as they walk around. Certain foods, cigarette smoke, and pets are notorious for creating lingering odors that can send home buyers running. As the date of your open house approaches, avoid cooking pungent foods such as garlic or fish. Clean any upholstered furniture, drapery or carpets and allow fresh air into the home whenever possible. Remember – you may be “nose-blind” – invite a friend over and ask for their opinion in case there are odors to which you have become accustomed.

A successful open house boils down to having confidence in the abilities of your agent and the condition of your home. If you haven’t already, check out our post on how to stage your home so that you can leverage its assets for maximum effect.

 

 

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